Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Nov 2005

MMQB: Johnson is the Anti-T.O.

Peter King loves Chad Johnson and says he's great for the NFL. Turns out that Chad coordinated the marriage proposal with the head of the cheerleaders before the game. That's the kind of insight you don't get anywhere else.

On the Fine Fifteen, doesn't Peter have New England way too high? Would anyone pick the Patriots to beat the Seahawks right now?

Regarding Peter's opinion that Larry Johnson got too many carries, I don't disagree with him, but I have a much bigger problem with Trent Green throwing a touchdown pass with three minutes left in a blowout than I do with Johnson getting the ball late in the game.

Finally, I don't want to turn this into a theological debate, but I really dislike quotes like "Sometimes God is playing in these games.'' Yes, Bill Parcells' team got some good breaks on the day he buried his brother. I just find it really offensive to presume that an all-knowing and all-powerful God is waiting around for just the right moment to put Donovan McNabb's pass into Roy Williams' hands to help Parcells get over his grief. To me, a statement like that should be offensive to the religious and the non-religious alike.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 21 Nov 2005

59 comments, Last at 23 Nov 2005, 7:11am by Joon


by Joon (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 3:07pm

not only are the patriots way too high, but the eagles don't really belong in the top half of the league. especially not without mcnabb. i think king is stuck in 2004.

by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 3:08pm

"I will never degrade an opponent,'' he said.
So sending Pepto Bismol to Cleveland's secondary wasn't an attempt to degrade them? Keeping a list of corners that you beat isn't degrading?
Also, didn't King just write a fictitious story about Chad Johnson being the next TO last week? Now this week he's the anti-TO.

by Browns Dude (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 3:17pm

“I will never degrade an opponent,'’ he said.
"So sending Pepto Bismol to Cleveland’s secondary wasn’t an attempt to degrade them? Keeping a list of corners that you beat isn’t degrading?
Also, didn’t King just write a fictitious story about Chad Johnson being the next TO last week? Now this week he’s the anti-TO."

-he did send the Pepto before the game, and I believe there was some underreported tie in to a project he was working on with the makers of Pepto.

-He meant the "next TO" in terms of holding out and the problems that entails, not in terms of being a total psycho.

by ajn (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 3:23pm

"Baltimore RB Jamal Lewis -- 13 carries, 28 yards, one key fumble. I don't get it. What in the world has happened to Jamal Lewis?"

ok, i've been trying not to jump on the any-fan-could-do-a-better-job-than-peter-king bandwagon, but when he writes things like this i really lose patience with him. he really doesn't get it? jamal lewis was in jail last offseason, runs behind a terrible offensive line, and had seven-hundred touches the last two seasons. i can understand being taken aback by how bad lewis has been, but i hope king can at least put this in perspective.

also, if pk gets so frustrated waiting in lines eleven deep at starbucks, why doesn't he just not go to starbucks?

by Ferg (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 3:26pm

Bad college football. LSU-Ole Miss....Or Miami-Georgia Tech.

OK, LSU-Ole Miss was boring. But a 17-point underdog pulling the upset on the road is pretty good in my book. (But then, I am a Virginia Tech alum.)

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 3:40pm

Yeah any type of religious reference even remotely associated with sports is usually sacreligious and almost always offensive. That any being with the supposed traits of the Judeo-Chiristian god would care the slightest bit about a football game is ridiculous considering all the other things it turns a blind eye to.

Not to mention the fact that there are usually rougly as many people praying for both sides? How does god decide? Headcount, good deeds, whose fans have slain more of the infdel, jock strap size?

Just something that annoys me being so close to ignorant Reggie White land...

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 3:47pm

Re #4: Oh? Are you so certain that Baltimore's line is terrible?

Let's put it this way. Jamal Lewis is the second-worst RB in the entire league according to DVOA. If Chester Taylor met the minimum carry requirement, he would be the #1 RB in the entire league.

You CAN'T blame this on Baltimore's O-line. Obviously, they're blocking well enough for Chester Taylor to average 5 yards per carry and post a better DVOA than any other starting RB in the entire NFL, including Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James, and LaDanian Tomlinson. This is 100% a Jamal Lewis problem. He's been BRUTALLY bad, and Baltimore coaching has been absolutely idiotic to not recognize it. And Lewis is a free agent, so why are you giving him the ball so much? Let Taylor carry the load, give you a chance to decide if you want to ante up to keep him around next year.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 3:49pm

Regarding Peter’s opinion that Larry Johnson got too many carries, I don’t disagree with him, but I have a much bigger problem with Trent Green throwing a touchdown pass with three minutes left in a blowout than I do with Johnson getting the ball late in the game.

I agree with you 100%. Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a Larry Johnson owner who was facing a Trent Green owner. ;)

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 3:57pm

I always thought Marvin Harrison was the Anti-TO. Anyways, I think King putting Seattle below the Patriots is an over-reaction to Seattle's nail-biter against San Francisco. I understand the idea that an elite team shouldn't struggle against a bottom-feeder, but apprantly King forgot about the NE/Mia game last year. I bet he still had New England at/near the top of his fine 15 after that game.

by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:07pm

I used to be a Peter King fan, dating back to an old flame in high school who got me hooked. So the other day I turned on the computer monitor, which was showing a page from SI.com, and here was a Peter King column. And the first thing I see is some angry-looking paragraph, and the first words I read are: "You skanky little ho!'' I mean, do we need that? Talk about this week's sign that the apocalypse is upon us.'' First internet porn, now this.

by Nate (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:13pm

Re: Jamal Lewis - As others have mentioned, Chester Taylor looks good behind the same line.
Re: Larry Johnson's carries - The Chiefs really don't have a back-up RB.

by yprime (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:17pm

Re: #4 “Baltimore RB Jamal Lewis — 13 carries, 28 yards, one key fumble. I don’t get it. What in the world has happened to Jamal Lewis?�

I thought his job as a NFL reporter/writer/columnist is to tell us what happened to Jamal Lewis. With all his connections, I would have thought somebody would share their insight with him, if he doesn't have any idea himself.

This is a reason that causes me to stop reading other NFL related sites except for FO.

by Art (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:26pm

MDS: To me, a statement like that should be offensive to the religious and the non-religious alike

I agree exactly.

Find me theoretical proof that God exists or doesn't exist. Until that is found, people shouldn't saturate their writing with that stuff.

by Dave Rogers (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:29pm

#6 for the Pats is about right to me.

For the last X years, the Pats were always #2,3,4 or 5, week-in, week-out.. and they'd win the superbowl, mystifying the 'experts' when they would neuter the 'unstoppable' Colts or crush the 'unbeatable' Steelers.

I don't think these numbers repesent too much really.

But consider this.

The Patriots will be in the playoffs and they will be healthier.

They will be there and hosting Cincy, or Jacksonville, or Pittsburgh or San Diego in the WC round. Will you be betting on one of those teams to win in Foxboro in January?

So they're now in the top 8, and likely headed to Indy, and Peyton will have to earn it, which he likely will.

But I will watch that game.

6 is about right.

by SJM (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:31pm

Terrell Owens has two homes, in Atlanta and Moorestown, N.J., on the market, at a combined listing price of more than $9 million....
The New Jersey home has two dishwashers. Which led HBO's Jason Cohen to wonder: "Maybe he's trying to keep kosher."

Amazing. Just totally amazing.

3. I think this is what I liked about week 11:

a. Amani Toomer's 500th career catch. Classy, deserving, team player.

b. Tiki Barber's 500th career catch. Classy, deserving, team player.

But no mention of Marvin Harrison's 900th career catch? He's not a classy, deserving team player?

by Craig B (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:33pm

Re #2,3
He and Pepto were promoting Breast Cancer Awareness month at that time, so he had the Pepto on hand. Plus, he had spent time with the players receiving them over the previous offseason. He meant no harm by it. I doubt he expected their teammates to be offended.

by Optical (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:37pm

"To me, a statement like that should be offensive to the religious and the non-religious alike"

Regardless of whether or not your convictions are religious or secular, it is not hard to imagine that God (assuming he exists), being infinitely powerful, would not be taxed by purposing trivial things like a football game. Just because God might have better things to do, doesn't mean he isn't fully capable of of doing all things with his infinite resources

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:41pm

Chester Taylor looked no better than Jamal did yesterday; those suspect DVOA numbers (due to small sample) are about to change. He also had some unidentified personal problems which caused him to miss a whole week of practice, and the Jax game.

Jamal Lewis had the same surgery on his foot that Curt Schilling had on his ankle -- any Red Sox fans out here want to describe how maddening Schilling's perfprmance was last season? We must have somebody from Boston that frequents this site.

Taking the surgery, the expected recovery period, the unusual (shall we say) rehab period, Taylor's apparent issues, his past workload and some deterioration on the O-line (you can't tell me Mulitalo is playing at his past level for example), and there are reasons why Baltimore's running game is a steaming pile of Krenzel this season. Most of them were even predicted by FO in preseason.

Now why can't King and others figure this out is beyond me.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 4:46pm

I doubt if King literally believes that God was involved in the Eagles/Cowboys game. I think it was just a poor attempt to put the game in 'perspective' and console the Parcells family.

I think he does make a fair distinction between a pair of 'look-at-me' receivers when he contrasts Owens anger to Johnson's fun.

by mshray (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 5:12pm

I think MDS's point is that an all-knowig & all-caring God by definition does not play favorites, not that God's incapable of or uninterested in following the events. I totally agree. A couple of years ago I heard Trot Nixon, after a playoff game, say something to the effect that God had helped him fight off a nasty pitch and then stroke the game-winner. He didn't even say God had helped his team, only that God had helped him. This type of hubris masquerading as Christianity infuriates me. By contrast, no matter what you might think of Kurt Warner wearing his Christianity on his sleeve, he only ever says that he gives all glory and honor to God. This is real humility, neither reveling in one's own succcess nor taking anything at the expense of one's opponent.

In this particluar case, however, I interpret Parcell's comment as something more akin to "the best laid plans of mice and men..." (i.e sometimes things happen that we can't control nor plan for). I'm also pretty sure Parcells doesn't reserve that comment for only when something good happens for his team. I think King is taking that out of context and implying that God is giving Parcells a break to compensate for the loss of his brother Don. This sounds more like Trot Nixon to me. But the way it's written it's impossible to be sure exactly what are King's own feelings, what feelings he's attributing to Parcells, and if those genuinely are Parcells' feelings.

by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 5:20pm

Can somebody give me a good explanation why so-called "running up the score" is considered bad sportsmanship. I watch a variety of sports and football is the only one where a contestant is supposed to stop trying when they have a sizeable lead.

Maybe Tiger Woods should do the sporting thing and dump a few shots in the water next time he's leading a golf tournament by 10 shots? There's no rule that says a team can't play defense just because they're way behind.

Final question: if running up the score is unsporting then why isn't it bad sportsmanship for a team who is trailing by 20 in the final minute to pass their way downfield for a cosmetic TD?

by KRB (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 5:29pm

"I watch a variety of sports and football is the only one where a contestant is supposed to stop trying when they have a sizeable lead. "

It used to be considered bad sportsmanship to swing for the fences in baseball when you are up by a bunch of runs in late innings. Not so much anymore since scoring has risen quite a bit, so a 5 or 6 run ninth inning isn't nearly as rare as it used to be. As for football, I dont have any problem with the pros running up the score, probably high school and college shouldn't get too carried away with it (although colleges sure do, far worse than the NFL)...

by PK (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 5:36pm

RE: 14 King ranks the teams according to who would win if they played right now on a neutral site. By your logic the Pats may end up deep in the playoffs, but that should not count towards King's ranking. #6 is way to high for the Pats right now.

by masocc (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 5:42pm

"Kurt Waner (13) embraces former teammate Isaac Bruce (80)."

Hmmm... Freudian slip, perhaps?

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 6:06pm

Re: 21

Running up the score is similarly considered poor sportsmanship is basketball. Typically, the way to avoid this situation is to pull the top players on your in favor of less talented substitutes. Everyone is expected to continue 'trying', but the effect is to dampen the margin of victory.

Throwing passes to run up the score in a blowout victory (or running a full court press in a similar basketball situation) are indications of an intent to humilate an opponent.

It isn't considered poor sportsmanship (for an obviously beaten team) to score a meaningless touchdown because there's obviously no intent to humiliate.

by Al (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 6:08pm

No comments yet on the thrilling font conversation between King and Bob Costas? Someone's mentioned this before, but if you formatted Kings columns as strings of thoughts separated by ellipses instead of it's current outline form, you'd have a perfect Larry King USA Today column.

by Troy (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 6:08pm

I agree with No. 21. In the NFL and major-college football, I don't think there can be such a thing as running up the score. Football teams are supposed to stop the opposition. If they can't, they deserve what they get. Good coaches and teams work on things and strive to improve when they are up big. They give time to reserves and work on plays that maybe aren't up to snuff.
Spare me your concern for the feelings of the losing side.

by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 6:09pm

One of the all time stupid comments:

j. Could someone on the Bengals rush the passer? Anyone?

First, the Bengals got a better pass rush than the Colts. Second, the blitz was what got burned most often. Some big completions happened when blitzers came unblocked, but the ball was gone before they got there. What the heck are they supposed to do?

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 6:14pm

Re 28: The problem with the Bengals is they could only get pressure by blitzing, which is suicide against Manning.

by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 6:25pm

#28: actually King does have a point. The Bengals have 15 sacks on the season and 7 of those came against the Texans. The team has no pass rush at all.

by Bruce (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 6:43pm

Aaron, if you believe that God is meticulously involved with all the details of his children (the Bible says he knows the number of hairs on our head, and being omniscient, that's not a stretch), then it's not overly bizarre that he'd have an interest in football ... along with all the other mundane things he has impeccible interest in. God works in the big and the small alike. Religion, except in America of late, has always been a healthy part of public, not private, discourse in every culture. This should not be offensive to the religious or irreligious.... it's called faith. I'm glad you spoke your mind though, as is your right. It gave me the chance to speak mine as well.

by Dman (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 6:56pm

I see, so millions dying a horrible death of AIDS in africa, god turns a blind eye. But Bill parcell's brother died and so warrants his power? Bull.

by admin :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 7:02pm

OK, yet again we need to point out that Football Outsiders has a staff of over a dozen people, and only one of them is named "Aaron." Now look at who posted this.

by Phil (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 7:07pm

"Finally, I don’t want to turn this into a theological debate, but I really dislike quotes like “Sometimes God is playing in these games.""

Looks like nobody got the message.

by james (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 7:36pm

Anyone who complains about running up the score is missing the point of sports.

Losing hurts. If the other team wants to stop playing then they can throw in the towel. As a matter of fact I think this should be allowed. If you don't think you can win anymore you throw in the towel. Why would any coach ever ask his team to stop playing as hard?

My college coaches always chose to play the 2s and 3s when we were up a bunch in the second half agaist lesser competition but that was more a reward for those guys giving it their all day in and day out in practice than mercy.

I don't think anyone who's ever played on a winning football team takes the attitude that running up the score is bad. Leaving in your 1's when you don't have to risk them is stupid. That is the only problem I have with "running up the score".

by MC razón (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 7:36pm

I'm actually glad to see someone as completely and utterly white and mainstream as Peter King publicly support Chad Johnson and his quirks. There's still way too many people in America that want all blacks to "behave", and the media's portrayal of "those damn spoiled athletes" too often includes coded messages about "respect" and "showboating" which really mean "please be more white!"

by Peter King (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 7:45pm

Watch this one! I'm going to take someone who's startingly similar to Terrell Owens, and then declare loudly that he's the exact opposite. I can do this because I am sophisticated and highly intelligent.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 7:59pm

I don't buy the Owens/Johnson distinction. Owens is a much bigger headcase, but I think it's clear he has fun playing the game, at least when it's going well. I don't think he did that stupid valet thing because he was angry, or put the sharpie in his sock because he was so angry at the football that he couldn't wait to deface it. Off the field, including on the sidelines, he has quite the propensity to get angry and moronic, but I don't think you can draw conclusions from that about how he plays the game. This is just a case of King, like every commentator, trying to pile as much venom on Owens as possible.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 8:14pm

The Chiefs' lack of a backup RB seems to me to be all the more reason to get Johnson out of the game. Time to see if anybody in there is capable of carrying the rock.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 8:18pm

MC razon I actually don't think they are saying "be more white." . It is more like "please be more like LT".

Atheletes are blessed by quirks of our economy and peoples desire to have psuedo tribal warlike entertainment which make being at the very top of their field amazingly, insanely well rewarding. The only way anyone could justify the amount of money they make is through a Nozickian capitalist economy. So people don't feel like it is too much to ask given their prominence to act like moderately civilised and well-manner role models.

Sadly, thier prolonged adolecence, the circumstances of thier upbringing and treatment throughout life leave many of them with severe personalinty deficiencies.

For instance someone at my highschoool carried the first year quizbowl team to the state championship. He set every individual record in the "sport" and was literally the Wayne Gretzsky of our sate quizbowl. But, he came from a very troubled family life (sngle addict parent) and had middling grades so had to pay most of his own way through college etc. etc.

Anyway I am rambling, but the point is modern professional athletes are some of the most fortunate people IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, and they act like children 80% of the time.

by Falco (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 8:35pm

On the running up the score, these are all professionals who get paid well. Also, unlike college, net points, margin of victories, and common opponents net points are potential tiebreaker steps that could determine whether a team makes the playoffs or not. Here are the links to the NFL tiebreaker rules and the current conference standings with tiebreakers.



KC is chasing, among others, Cincy, Pitt, and Jacksonville, all who have also played Houston this year. Though it seems unlikely to get to that step, the net points and conference points scored are tiebreaker factors. As a fan, I would be upset if the reason my team did not make the playoffs was because they took a knee on the goal line against a team like the Texans.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 8:40pm

Here's an article about the true Anti-Owens. By the way, this guy also writes a column on Page2 every Monday that's the best non-FO football article of the week. Dunno if we want to link it or not, but it's consistently brilliant.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 9:06pm

re: running up the score- if a team has a big lead late in the game, why throw the ball and risk an incompletion? a stopped clock leads to more plays, which leads to more injuries. a team is much more likely to injure a player b/c of playing extra downs than entering into an obscure tiebraking situation at the end of the year. last week the jets ran out the game vs. carolina, and this week they were throwing the ball in the final 2 minutes, and now its kliff klingsberry (sp?) time.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 9:40pm

Sportsmanship: Conduct and attitude considered as befitting participants in sports, especially fair play, courtesy, striving spirit, and grace in losing.

They call it "running up the score" when a team keeps trying to score points even though it is obvious that the opponent has no chance to recover from their deficit. If there is any chance at all, I don't think they call it "running up the score".

If the other team has no chance, just what are you proving by trying to score again? The points can tiebreak argument is lame: please point at one time that has ever happened?

Courtesy to your opponent is important, and like it or not, these "sportsmen" are examples for youth.

But "courtesy" and "nice" seem to be dying virtues anyway. Just read through the vitriol in this thread. I now return to never reading the Extra Points threads on other journalists' articles; there's almost nothing thoughtful said, just a lot of bitching. Bleh.

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 11:39pm

along the lines of #9...

...wasn't Hines Ward the anti-T.O. at some point? and Deion Branch? and Dez White? (okay, so maybe not that last one)

by mshray63 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 12:07am

Re 26: Al, I loved the Bob Costas thing, but we gotta be careful giving any notice or we're gonna be stuck reading a 'Font Nerdness' item every week.

The 'thoughts separated by ellipses' thing belongs to the late great Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle. Don't know if Larry King has publicly stated that his in an homage, but Bruce Jenkins of today's San Francisco Chronicle does & his column is called The Three Dot Lounge.

Re 31: Bruce, first of all Michael D. Smith wrote that, not Aaron. Second of all (& by all means correct me if I'm wrong MDS) the point isn't that God doesn't know/understand/care who wins football games, it's whether or not God's likely to intervene & determine the outcome in the way Peter King suggests, and whether or not Peter King is actually the prophet who will reveal God's will to us. I believe in miracles & prophets, but I don't think the Cowboys' win was a miracle & I doubt that either King or Parcells are prophets. Please don't get me wrong; my dad's a minister & my uncle is a retired theology professor. I'm not a ignorant unbeliever.

Re 36 & 40, I think you're both mostly right. I strongly doubt PK is as enlightened as Becephalus, but I also agree that there is a lot of 'coding' going on in the criticisms of some athletes. Anyone recall how completely shocked the media was a year & a half ago to find that by far the most patriotic guy on the bronze-medal winning Dream Team was AI?

by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 12:48am

#44 it almost happened back in 1999. The Packers and Panthers both had to win their final games to have a chance of making the playoffs, and, if Dallas lost, the team with the larger points differential would have gone through. They both did great jobs running up the score, with Panthers beating the Saints 45-13 and Packers beating the Cardinals 49-24. As it turned out, Dallas won to claim the final playoff spot, but points differential was relevant.

Bottom line is this is professional. Teams should have everything covered, no matter how unlikely. And the Vince Lombardi trophy doesn't get handed to the nicest, most courteous team.

by ChrisS (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 12:49am

Trgodor, thanks for the recommendation the Sports Pickle is hilarious.

by Steve Sandvik (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 12:59am

Actually, the points based tiebreaker was in play going into the last week of the season a few years ago. The end results of the week 17 games meant it didn't come down to that, but there were several teams scoreboard watching not just to see who won, but how many points they were scoring and allowing. So the tiebreaker may be lame, but paying attention to it is just good sense.

by Tom C. Huskey (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 1:18am

#40 "Anyway I am rambling, but the point is modern professional athletes are some of the most fortunate people IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, and they act like children 80% of the time."

I once heard it said that most riddles contain their own answer. Your final sentence is a perfect example :)

by Falco (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 1:44am

Although Kaveman said he was not coming back to civilization, I am assuming he asked a legitimate question to which he wanted an answer.

Ryan Mc (#47)is correct as to 1999, as going into the last week there was the real possibility of it happening. I believe Steve Sandvik (#49) may be referring to 2003, when it was a possibility going into final week pending results with Dallas, Seattle, and Green Bay, though Minnesota lost to Arizona on the last play, putting GB in as division winners, and Seattle and Dallas both made it, with Seattle getting higher seed on strength of schedule.

In the last 10 years, there have also actually been two instances where net points mattered in seeding.

In 1998, Miami (10-6) finished ahead of Buffalo (10-6) on better net division points,as a result, Miami hosted Buffalo in wildcard round, and won.

In 1997, Pittsburgh (11-5) won the AFC CENTRAL and got #2 seed, over Jacksonville (11-5) on better net division points tiebreaker. As a result, Jacksonville went to Denver as #5 seed and got smoked. Pittsburgh hosted AFC Championship game against Denver because Denver won at KC (Elvis Grbac's return).

I apologize for pointing out a lame reason why an NFL team may actually be trying to score, other than just to embarass an opponent.

It is a possibility this year because of the schedules. KC does not play PIT or JAX head to head. SD does not play CIN or JAX head to head. It is very possible those teams could end up even on the common opponents tiebreaker. The strength of victory/schedule should resolve any ties, but certainly not out of the question it then goes to net points.

I wish I was as enlightened as a Kaveman and behaved in a more civilized tone. I apologize for the crass tone of my first post.

by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 8:31am

Trogdor, that Sports Pickle piece was great.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 9:44am

Re: 36

What does it mean to 'please be more white'?

That is, what behaviors are white (or black for that matter)?

by GOD (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 10:01am

Well, I just can't help it. I watch every week, and I just have to jump in there sometimes. Except when the Jets play (they're on their own...)

by Michael David Smith :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 11:58am

That's a great question, mawbrew. Chad Johnson celebrates every touchdown; Barry Sanders always just handed the ball to the official and jogged off the field. Is one of them somehow more black than the other?

by hmmm (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 12:51pm

Well, if one of them had gold teeth ...

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 1:41pm

#51: Falco, that little diatribe wasn't aimed at your post. I apologize for that outburst anyway; it was triggered more by the PK (and every non-FO writer) sniping that goes on rather than the points issue.

It always bothers me when this website and community, for both of which I have a lot of admiration, sounds small and petty. On the one hand there are these Extra Points threads for MMQB, TMQ, Pasquarelli, et al, which are full of nitpicks; people exercising their "wit" at the writers' expense. Then on the other hand, there's the FO on Fox threads, which have some intelligent comments and suggestions and lots of praise. The contrast is... unappealing. Unsurprising, perhaps, but I always seem to expect something more.

To get back on topic, clearly it isn't as unlikely as I had thought, for point differential to matter in the end. In which case nobody can blame a team for running up the score. But, from a correctness standpoint, I think that factor in seeding determinations should be removed. I wonder if anyone (TMQ?) has ever written about this...

by Sara (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2005 - 2:01pm

#47 - you took the words right out of my mouth! I was at the Panthers game that day, and every time they flashed the GB score up on the screen, there was this collective groan. Every single person in the stadium knew the Panthers needed to keep scoring. I think it was Wesley Walls who said later that it was the first time he' d ever played against someone who wasn't even in the same stadium.

Incidentally, New Orleans gave their backup QB his first NFL start that day...a guy named Jake Delhomme.

by Joon (not verified) :: Wed, 11/23/2005 - 7:11am

i think my favorite part of that whole day (which was highly enjoyable on sunday ticket with two adjacent TVs) was watching ditka inexplicably go for 2, then onside kick (both unsuccessfully) in the final minute. when the packers found out, and realized they might have to score again, they threw deep even though favre had taken a knee on the previous down. high comedy.

just a minor quibble with #58, i think it was delhomme's 2nd start.