Posted on: February 4, 2012 6:32 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 10:25 pm

Parcells has HOF chops, his exclusion a mystery

I'm not going to be one of those whining, smirking people who complains about the Hall of Fame voting process. I know some of those men in the room. Many are skilled, brilliant and extremely smart about the game. A handful are arrogant jerks with hardcore agendas but the vast majority know what they are doing.

So I'm not going to complain as much as simply be stunned over the omission of Bill Parcells. I'm not a Parcells fan. He treated many people in my business terribly and wasn't exactly a great human being. But to me, in history, there are few better coaches.

The two greatest motivators in NFL history, the coaches who got players to do things and go places in their careers they thought they never could, were Don Shula and Parcells. The best pure motivators ever. Period. That is a coach's primary job. Nothing happens before that -- not the Xs and Os, nothing -- before getting a player mentally ready. Shula was the best at that (what he did in Miami with the then expansion Dolphins is borderline miraculous) and Parcells was second.

He turned around the Giants, the Patriots and Jets when those latter two organizations were absolutely awful.

My guess as to what hurt Parcells. First -- and no one will admit this but it's true -- the way he treated some writers played a factor. Writers have long memories and we can be just as petty anyone else. There likely were a few writers in the room who were either treated poorly by Parcells -- or know people who were -- and this was a form of payback.

I've also heard some writers over the years (including some in that room) say that Bill Belichick made Parcells and Parcells never made it back to a Super Bowl without Belichick.

But most importantly it is accurate that when Parcells left organizations he left them atomized. His departures were sometimes very ugly and it likely also did not help Parcells that he left the Dolphins in semi-ruins.

But overall his record -- he took the Giants, Jets, Patriots and Cowboys to the playoffs while winning two of three Super Bowl appearances -- was more than enough to overcome his faults.

No, not a complaint here. Just sort of stunned.
Posted on: January 31, 2012 11:24 am

Brady punks Ochocinco

INDIANAPOLIS-- Media day at the Super Bowl is normally a joke. Reporters scratching themselves while standing amid circus clowns and smirking players. Usually there is little news or insight. But this one, my 12th or 15th or 17th -- I forget -- actually had an interesting moment.

Some yokel from OCNN -- I believe that's the Ochocinco News Network -- had a question for Brady. Brady could clearly see that the reporter was from Chad Ochocinco's online network. No question. The "reporter" asked Brady if he would please throw a pass to Ochocinco.

Brady didn't hesitate with his response.

"Tell him to get open," Brady said, "and I'll throw it to him."

Oh. Wow.


That was, well, very blunt. In some ways, very cold-blooded of Brady.

I could easily be wrong but I don't think I've ever heard Brady be so blunt about Ochocinco.

I actually thought that moment was the most interesting and actually provided a lot of insight -- if not the definitive answer -- as to why Ochocinco has been a failure as a Patriot. It's not about his relationship with Brady. Ochocinco isn't hurt. It may not be about his lack of learning the offense. It's more simple than that.

He can't get open.

That's it. That is all.

Category: NFL
Posted on: January 31, 2012 9:54 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:43 am

Super Bowl Shoutout: Can Gronk be effective?

OPENING HIT: Part of me wonders if Bill Belichick is pulling a fast one. That somehow Rob Gronkowski isn't as hurt as the Patriots are saying but that's far-fetched even for the tricky mind of Belichick. Which means Gronkowski is really badly injured.

This isn't a question of whether Gronk will play. He'll likely find a way to be on the field. The real question is effectiveness, and based on everything I hear the chances of Gronkowski being a factor are almost non-existent. You don't recover from high ankle trauma this quickly and the fact he still hasn't practiced is the biggest indicator of the seriousness of the injury.

My guess is Belichick will try and use Gronkowski as a decoy. Put him in the game, run a few routes maybe, use him as a blocker if possible. But the idea that Gronk will be Gronk with that kind of injury is a bit far-fetched.

Unless Gronkowski is even tougher than we think which seems impossible.


Category: NFL
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:05 am
Edited on: January 16, 2012 9:29 am

The Daily Shoutout: Ugly fans

OPENING HIT: One of the reasons why I've always liked fans of the Green Bay Packers is that I've always felt they're the best combination of smart, passion and non-jackass. Let me explain. Packers fans have the passion of the most rabid fan bases without the nastiness. Few fans are more informed about their team. It's a way of life for Packers fans. These aren't Gator fans or Ohio State fans who are insecure and nasty. These a true football fans who know how to have a passionate debate without getting ugly. It's the best component of their fandom.

On Sunday night, after a brutal loss, a handful of Packers fans -- malicious idiots -- engaged in some of the nastier acts by fans, any fans, I've ever seen. All on Twitter. This isn't an indictment of the entire Packers fan base. This is an indictment of a few knuckleheads and the age we live in. We live in a period where there are plenty of anonymous gangsters who have turned message boards into sewers and a nice medium like Twitter into, at times, garbage.

Some of these idiots went after Packers players on Twitter after the loss -- and the families of Packers players. They completely crossed a line. Jermichael Finley was attacked by fans for dropping a pass but some of the fans didn't stop there. They attacked his wife, Courtney, on Twitter. Leading to her posting this: "If ure bored tonight & want to see how disgusting people treat other people.. Feel free to go thru my mentions 2 see how heartless ppl r."

I won't repeat some of the stuff posted but it was truly nasty.

One fan actually went as far as to blame Joe Philbin for the loss. Philbin of course tragically lost his son.

Again, these animals don't represent the Packers faithful. But this was still bad. It was a sad moment, actually.

I've always believed the NFL should act against Twitter goons. Find out who they are and if they have season tickets, yank them. If they don't, ban them from buying anything NFL related. Use the best available technology to pursue and ban these jackasses.

This is how great the Packer fan base is: Packers fans began to blast the idiots who were posting the ugly things. It warmed my heart and gave me hope that the Internet hasn't turned completely into a cesspool.
Category: NFL
Tags: Giants, NFL, Packers
Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:26 am
Edited on: January 5, 2012 11:39 am

An NFL first: four Super Bowl MVP QBs in playoffs

If we already didn't know this was the year of the quarterback -- or the past decade of the quarterback -- this incredible fact seals it.

For the first time in league history the playoffs will feature four Super Bowl quarterbacking MVPs: Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers. This according to NFL PR guru, Dan Masonson.

That is a great deal of quarterbacking firepower and they're all in one playoff.

I'm thinking this record won't last long just like other offensive records that were obliterated this season. The NFL has geared the sport towards the quarterbacks and because of that it could be some time before a running back or defensive player, for example, earns MVP honors. Would it be a stunner if Ben Roethlisberger got to a Super Bowl this year, won the MVP, and then all five of these players make the postseason next year? No. See what I mean.

Quarterbacks have always ruled the sport but their dominance now is unprecedented and this latest interesting statistic only proves that.

Hell, who knows, with the way quarterbacks are dominating, maybe Andy Dalton will join the MVP Four next year.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 29, 2011 9:47 am

The Daily Shoutout: Giants-Cowboys circa 1994

OPENING HIT: I remember a Giants player, linebacker Michael Brooks, telling me that the night before the Giants played Dallas in the biggest game of the year -- it was 1994 -- how it was impossible to sleep leading up to the game. Another Giants linebacker, Corey Miller, said after the loss it felt like a piece of him died.

This was almost 20 years ago. The Giants-Cowboys battle was for the division crown just like this weekend's game will be. I was a Giants beat writer and that contest remains one of the best games I've ever covered. It was a game that put Emmitt Smith on a Hall of Fame glide path as he destroyed the Giants for 168 yards on 32 carries. He also caught 10 passes for 61 yards and played the second half and overtime with a mild separation of his right shoulder. That game allowed Smith to get his third straight rushing title, gaining 1,486 yards for the season, 57 more than the rookie Jerome Bettis of the Los Angeles Rams.

Giants players after that game told me privately that they felt Smith exaggerated his injury but it didn't look that way to me. It looked like he was seriously hurt.

What that game did, what it might do this time around as well, is either start a playoff run or end a coaching tenure. My belief has long been that game propelled the two franchises into different directions. It launched the Cowboys' second Super Bowl win and cemented their dynasty and it was also the beginning of the end for Dan Reeves.

This game just might do the same. If Tom Coughlin wins the Giants could again be one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs, Giant killers, just like when Coughlin won his first Super Bowl. And it might be the beginning of the end for the Dallas coach.

Conversely if Tony Romo, playing with an injured hand, can win, he can do a lot to build his image as a clutch quarterback.

It's rare to get a game like this at the end of the season and we actually have two of them: Denver facing Kansas City might even be a more dramatic contest.

But if this Cowboys-Giants game is anything like the one in 1994, well, this is going to be fun.
Category: NFL
Tags: Cowboys, Giants, NFL
Posted on: December 14, 2011 7:32 am

The Daily Shoutout: What happened to NFC East?

OPENING HIT: This story brought back some memories. I remember when the NFC East scared opponents. The division stood for brutal, nasty football and few teams in the NFL could match its intensity. There were Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins and Bill Parcells' New York Giants. The Hogs, Lawrence Taylor, harshness, cold weather, dominance, numerous Super Bowls, Reggie White, Michael Irvin--it was glorious. If you grew up a fan of one of these teams you had bragging rights for years.

Now look at the division. As writer Mark Maske points out the 2007 Giants are the only NFC East team in the past 15 years to win a Super Bowl. That's pretty pathetic. How bad has the division become? The 5-8 Philadelphia Eagles could still win the division. That's just horrible.

Why has this happened? It's pretty simple: coaching turnover. The Cowboys and Redskins in particular have plowed through head coaches with only Andy Reid of the Eagles being one of the few stable coaching forces in the division. Many NFC East teams have also diverted from what they used to do best which is play strong defense.

The NFC East has gone from one of the elite to one of the worst.

And that makes me a little sad.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 12, 2011 9:53 am

Today's Daily Shoutout: Shut it, Eli critics

OPENING HIT: No, seriously, shut it if you still think Eli Manning can't win, or is a wimp, or makes funny facial expressions, or whatever it is people criticize Manning for these days. That come from behind win against Dallas was classic and the third best story this season behind the Packers and Tim Tebow is Manning. He's been on fire all year. In fact, I could easily argue that after Aaron Rodgers no one is playing the position better than Manning.

Sunday night was a perfect example of the difference between Tony Romo and Manning. Manning is a winner with a Super Bowl title under his belt and Romo is a stat machine. I'd rather have the winner.

Behind that boyish Manning face is a killer. I mean, stone, cold killer.

This statistic from Giants insider Patricia Traina says a great deal: Manning has 20 career game winning drives including six this season alone.

Now, I know Manning will still have his doubters and plenty of them. They raise out of the muck when he throws a few picks and go radio silent when he does well. But they never leave. They stick around like lint in a dryer.

Meanwhile Manning keeps making them look dumb.

THE ANTI-MANNING: Time to stop making excuses for Carson Palmer. He's terrible.

BEST WISHES: To Atlanta coach Mike Smith who experienced chest pains after the Falcons' victory on Sunday. Smith is one of the most sincere and decent men in all of football and I'm told he's home and doing fine.

RAHEEM MORRIS: People around the sport believe his chances of survival are less than 50 percent. It's amazing how things happen in this league. Remember last season when the NFL sang his praises as one of the best young coaches in football?

JEFF TRIPLETTE: Been saying it for years--worst game official in all of sports. He and his crew prove it again.
Category: NFL
Tags: Giants, Manning, NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com