Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Why black coaches are important

I have talked before about how having two black head coaches in the Super Bowl is not important from a football perspective. But from a societal perspective, it is important for one simple reason: intelligence.

One of the flaws in recent "black culture" (for lack of a better phrase) is a de-emphasis on intelligence. Too often, blacks who are successful in intellectual fields tend to be ignored as "oreos" (black on the outside, white on the inside). Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas are fine examples, although their conservative views are used to excuse any racial slurs used against them by liberals, thereby neutering them as potential role models.

Unfortunately, where are the liberal black role models? Barack Obama might eventually become one, but he is not there yet. That leaves us with people like Cynthia McKinney, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson, who only serve to reinforce a "blacks as victims" mentality. If you are doomed to be a victim all your life, what good will intelligence do you?

There are also too many stories of young blacks having educational success, only to be accused of being "sell-outs". This is how the "blacks as victims" mentality plays out within the black community.

This leaves limited acceptable success paths for black youths: entertainment (which is irrelevant), athletics (but God help the white person who says blacks are somehow superior athletes, even though the black community accepts this), or ultra-liberal politics (where they will be ignored by the mainstream, thereby reinforcing the "blacks as victims" since no one takes them seriously). Mind you, many blacks choose other career paths, and have success in them. But they get ignored when they try to promote other means to success, since they must have been "sell-outs" to have accomplished what they have.

But this is where Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith can make an important contribution.

While NFL head coaches normally come from a football background, harking back to athletics as an acceptable success path, these men have to be intelligent to have success, as defined in the NFL by winning the Super Bowl.

Sunday night, one of these two men will be unofficially crowned as the most intelligent man in professional football. Not the fastest, not the strongest, not the most entertaining, and we won't even know what his politics are, nor will we care. But he will be smart, and THAT is the most important role model for black youths.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Raiders take a Knapp

From the Associated Press via
"The Raiders hired former Atlanta offensive coordinator Greg Knapp to fill the same job in Oakland, giving first-year coach Lane Kiffin an experienced coordinator to ease his transition from college to the NFL.

Knapp spent the previous three seasons with the Falcons before being let go when coach Jim Mora was fired after the season and replaced by Bobby Petrino. Knapp ran a West Coast offense in Atlanta that struggled at times to work with quarterback Michael Vick.

Raider fans, the problem with Atlanta's offense was NOT Greg Knapp. He tried to do some innovative things there to take advantage of Mike Vick's skills. Unfortunately, he couldn't install a brain in his star quarterback.

In Knapp's previous stint as an offensive coordinator with the 49ers (2001-2003), he cannot be blamed for the salary cap issues that team was suffering through at the time.

So how good is Knapp? The truth is no one knows because both of his previous stints have come with asterisks. On the positive side, he has shown he can be innovative. For the time being, he gets the benefit of the doubt from me.

Monday, January 29, 2007

"Are Prisons Driving Prisoners Mad?"

Sometimes, journalists use a specific example to generalize far beyond where most reasonable people would go. A good example of this is an article by Jeffrey Kluger over at, "Are Prisons Driving Prisoners Mad?".

The article starts out by describing general conditions at a supermax prison:
"There's no such thing as a good day for a prisoner at the highest level of security within the Ohio State Penitentiary, a 504-bed supermax prison in Youngstown, Ohio. Every inmate lives alone in a 7-ft. by 14-ft. cell that resembles nothing so much as a large, concrete closet, equipped with a sink, a toilet, a desk and a molded stool and sleep platform covered by a thin mattress. The solid metal door is outfitted with strips around the sides and bottom, muffling conversation with inmates in adjacent cells. Three times a day, a tray of food is delivered and is eaten alone. The prisoner may spend 23 hours a day in lockdown, emerging to exercise once a day. The lights in the cell never go off, although they may be dimmed a bit at night."

At least the article is realistic enough to recognize what kind of prisoners are at supermax prisons:
"If there's not much to like about the conditions in Youngstown, there's not much to like about the people confined there either. These are the men corrections folks like to call "the worst of the worst," the kind of felons who dealt drugs or led gangs or killed on the outside and continued to do so in prison. For them, maximum security would not be enough--only supermax would do. And say what you will about the draconian environment, it keeps them under control."

But then the article goes off the deep end:
"But that level of control may be counterproductive. It's possible that the very steps we're taking to keep society safe and such prisoners in check are achieving just the opposite. The U.S. holds about 2 million people under lock and key, and 20,000 of them are confined in the 31 supermaxes operated by the states and the Federal Government. That may represent only 1% of the inmate population, but it's a volatile 1%. Push any punishment too far and mental breakdown--or at least a claim of mental breakdown--is sure to follow."

We are talking about the most violent 1% of the entire prison population in the United States. They have gotten placed in the supermax prisons for a good reason: They are a threat to the safety of other prisoners, or the general prison population is a threat to their safety (as in the case of some "celebrity" prisoners, such as Jeffrey Dahmer who was killed in prison).

In the second case, I would agree the prison system needs a better means of dealing with celebrity prisoners than just putting them in supermax prisons, unless they prove to be a danger to other prisoners.

But in the case of prisoners who are a threat to the safety of other prisoners, how else are we supposed to deal with them? Moving them into the general prison population is unfairly dangerous to prisoners who ARE following the rules. If the supermax prisoners become more mentally unstable due to the solitary confinement of the supermax prisons, they have only themselves to blame. The only viable alternative to a supermax prison for these people is the death penalty. So pick your poison.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Dumbest Global Warming Story (so far)

It will be hard to top the following "scientific" study for stupidity:
"The global increase in surface temperature (known as global warming) was found to impact on mortality through ill health, particularly among the elderly and in summer. This study sets out to explore the impact of global warming on suicide mortality, using data from Italy."

And the results?
"For males, increasing anomalies in monthly average temperatures associated to a higher monthly suicide mean from May to August and, to a lower extent, in November and December. In January, on the other hand, increasing anomalies in monthly average temperatures appeared to be coupled to a lower number of suicides. For females, the links between temperature and suicides are less consistent than for males, and sometimes have a reverse sign, too."

So men are in trouble with global warming? Temperatures will start rising, and I'll be mysteriously drawn to throw myself out the window. A hot day comes along, and I'll just want to shoot myself. I start sweating, and I'll want to dig through the medicine cabinet for something to overdose.

By the way, an interesting limitation of the study:
"The use of monthly data, instead of daily data (unavailable), is another major limitation of this study."

Let me get this straight: These suicides may have gone up during the coldest days of the month, but we are going to attribute increased suicides to global warming?

Another curious thing which was not mentioned in the extract I read: During the period of the study (1974-2003), Italy's economy was going downhill. You don't suppose that could have caused an increase in suicides among men, do you? Nah, it's gotta be the global warming...

(hat tip to DrudgeReport for the link)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mike Vick's Waterbottle-gate

With the whole Mike "Ron Mexico" Vick "Waterbottle-gate" coming to a close, the irony of an erased tape is not lost.

And in case you missed the story, this Saturday Night Live skit should help explain what Vick did wrong.

(hat tip to Youtube)

The State of the NFL: Black Coaches

With two black head coaches in the Super Bowl, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at black coaches in the NFL. While there are still quite a few coaching vacancies around the NFL (1 head coach, 5 offensive coordinators, and 2 defensive coordinators), we can still get a feel for the situation.

Currently, there are more black head coaches (6) than offensive coordinators (1) and defensive coordinators (4) combined. Considering it was only 16 years ago that the NFL had only one black head coach (Art Shell), this is significant progress.

Are six black head coaches (out of 32 teams) enough? While that is comparable to the black population in society, it is not comparable to the percentage of black players in the NFL. However, that comparison assumes players become coaches, which is often not true. Players generally make more money than coaches. After they retire, they normally pursue higher paying careers, such as broadcasting. When you see former players in the coaching ranks, it is usually (but not always) players of lesser quality, who made less money. For them, coaching is not quite as significant a drop in salary.

Keep in mind that players nowadays NEVER go from playing to head coaching (Norm van Brocklin was the last player I can recall who did this back in 1961). This means any coach has to "pay his dues" in order to become a head coach. Why would any player who has made seven or eight figures want to make five or six figures in order to become a coach? It takes a true love of the game for a player to do this. Unfortunately, for every Mike Singletary (former all-pro linebacker with the Bears, currently defensive coordinator with the 49ers) and Herman Edwards (former all-pro cornerback with the Eagles, currently head coach with the Chiefs), there are ten Shannon Sharpes or Tom Jacksons who go into fields such as broadcasting to make more money.

But that leads to the question of why aren't there more "lesser quality" black players who take up coaching after they retire? Since there tend to be more black players in general in football, it might be a good idea to look at the path they take to the NFL.

They start in high school. Assuming they have success there, then they move up to the college ranks. Assuming they have success there, they move up to the NFL. This is where the "lesser quality" players bust, or have mediocre careers. Considering they have success and glory and fame on two levels, then are another face in the crowd at the NFL level, is it any wonder they get disillusioned with the sport by the time they retire?

Another common thing you see in NFL coaches are guys who played football in college, but never made it on the pro level. Hue Jackson, the only black offensive coordinator in the NFL, was a college quarterback who never played pro football. He went into coaching on the college level immediately after college. Ron Turner, the offensive coordinator of the Bears, was a wide receiver in college who never played in the pros. Mike Martz of the Lions was a tight end in college who became a high school football coach after he graduated. Mike Tomlin, the new black head coach of the Steelers, was a wide receiver in college who never played pro football. Lovie Smith? No pro football experience as a player. One other thing to note is these guys played college football at small schools, not the USC, Ohio State, Florida-type "programs".

For black NFL players, coaching is not the best post-career option for them. They can use their name recognition to make money in other fields.

On the other hand, why aren't more black coaches coming up from the college ranks? That is a question for a college football expert.


Robert George asked, "Another question that might be asked is why (at least as it seems to me) do there seem to be more black defensive coordinators than offensive ones." There are, by a 4-1 margin (although there are five offensive coordinator openings now, so that might change).

The reason? This is just speculation on my part, but I suspect it is because defensive players in general are not the "glory hounds" that offensive players are (Deion Sanders being a VERY notable exception). Also, in general, defensive players get paid less than offensive players. Therefore, black players playing defense would be more agreeable to pursuing a coaching career after they retire.

Bill Barker suggested, "Just a guess: Fewer black quarterbacks." Actually, quarterbacks are NOT more represented among the coaching ranks than any other offensive position. (If anything, I have seen more former wide receivers in the offensive coaching ranks, but I would not say they are the majority.) The more successful quarterbacks avoid coaching like the plague, regardless of the color of their skin.

While fewer black quarterbacks and fewer black offensive coordinators might be symptoms of the same problem, one does not necessarily lead to the other.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Football! Football! Football!

There is so much going on in the NFL, I hardly know where to begin. Let's start with the end: the Super Bowl.

SUPER BOWL XLI: Contrary to what the Media is hyping about being important in this game, the first two black head coaches in a Super Bowl, the truth is there is a more significant factor being overlooked from a football perspective: both of these coaches come from a defensive background.

Tony Dungy was a defensive player who eventually became a defensive assistant coach. Lovie Smith was a linebacker coach with Tampa Bay (under Dungy) before he became a head coach.

This is significant because if you look at the recent history of Super Bowl winners, most of the head coaches have come from defensive backgrounds: Bill Cowher and Bill Belichick, winners of 4 of the last 5 Super Bowls, both came from defensive backgrounds. Jon Gruden was the only offensive coach to win in that period, and he inherited a great defense from previous head coach (TA-DA!) Tony Dungy. Gruden also had a great defensive coordinator in Monte Kiffin.

Once again proving the old cliche: Defense wins championships.

Who will win this Super Bowl? I have to lean towards the Bears. While the Colts have played better defense during the playoffs, the Bears have been playing great defense all year. Add in the superior special teams of the Bears, and the Colts have their work cut out for them.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Certainly one of the great games in NFL history, although it didn't look that way in the beginning.

The interception by Tom Brady at the end was strange, as it looked like he was throwing directly to Marlin Jackson of the Colts. Sadly, it was common for a lot of interceptions I have seen this year (most of Peyton Manning's interceptions during the playoffs were like this). This comes from teams relying on timing patterns too much, instead of the quarterback actually looking for the open receiver. This gives a huge advantage to a zone defense when the receiver doesn't run the pattern which the quarterback is expecting.

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Aside from the one catch-and-run by Reggie Bush, it was a snoozer.

The Saints achilles heel was turnovers, pretty much what it has been all year. Not counting the safety they gave up, the Saints turned it over 4 times. The Bears did not have a single turnover. Add in the fact the Bears dominated time of possession, and the Saints are history.

BILL PARCELLS RETIRES: Like we didn't see this one coming?

Seriously, I am glad he did. I hope he gets back into broadcasting. I think Parcells brings more to football by his analysis than he does by coaching.

As for the Cowboys? Adam Schefter of NFL Network is reporting a rumor that the Cowboys will go with Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips as their next head coach. But you might want to take that rumor with a grain of salt, since Schefter also reported back on January 20th that Parcells wasn't retiring.

RAIDERS GO KIFFIN: The Raiders are hiring the youngest head coach in NFL history, 31 year old Lane Kiffin, formerly the offensive coordinator at USC. Lane may be better known to pro fans as the son of Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

As a Raider fan, I am pleased. The Raiders have had much more success with young head coaches, from John Madden to Jon Gruden.

: Anytime a team hires a new head coach, there is always some risk involved. But the Steelers seem to get it right more often than not.

With the hiring of Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin as the Steelers next head coach, and even with Tomlin's solid credentials (the Vikings defense was one of the NFL's top defenses last season), I can't argue with Steelers owner Dan Rooney. Rooney stuck with Bill Cowher even when many so-called experts thought Cowher should be fired.

: In contrast to the Steelers success, there is the Cardinals. They seem to have the anti-Midas touch when it comes to head coaches. Even though former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was considered one of the top head coaching prospects this year, I have to take a more skeptical view of him since the Cardinals hired him.

The last successful Cardinals coach? Vince Tobin took them to the playoffs in 1998 with a 9-7 record, where they lost in the Divisional Round to the Vikings, 41-21. Prior to that, you have to go back to 1984, when they went 9-7 under Jim Hanifan (they missed the playoffs). That's either a lot of bad coaching, or a lot of bad teams. In my opinion, it is a combination of both.

If Whisenhunt can turn the Cardinals into a consistent winner, then Arizona fans should build a 40 foot statue of him. Personally, I think he will be coaching somewhere else in five years. If he is successful, then he is too smart to be in Arizona, and he will leave for more money at a better franchise. Most likely, he won't be able to turn the lemons of Arizona into lemonade, and he will be fired.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BENGAL ARRESTED: I can't make this stuff up. From
"Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph was arrested early Monday and charged with possession of marijuana, the ninth Cincinnati player arrested in the last nine months.

The arrest came three weeks after coach Marvin Lewis promised to get tougher on player misconduct, hoping to stop a series of arrests that has embarrassed the team and drawn the attention of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Joseph was arrested on U.S. Route 42 in northern Kentucky. He lives nearby in Union, Kentucky. The Boone Country sheriff's office arrest report said Joseph was the passenger in a vehicle driven by a woman who had a suspended license, was driving slowly and weaving.

Sorry, but I ran out of Bengals jokes a few months ago.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A thought for today

"I know a lot of people without brains who do an awful lot of talking."- The Scarecrow, in "The Wizard of Oz"

They are known as "liberals".

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pick the NFL Playoff Winners - Final Results

In our first annual "Pick the NFL Playoff Winners" contest, with two points for each correct pick in the Divisional Playoffs, the results are shown below (Wild Card results + Divisional Playoff results = Total):

Bugg: 3 points + 6 points = 9 points
Robert A. George: 3 pts. + 2 pts. = 5 points
EdMcGon: 2 pts. + 2 points = 4 points
David Stefanini: 1 pt. + 2 pts. = 3 points

None of us will get the points for the AFC Champion this week, since none of us had Indy or New England. I can also safely say none of us will get the Super Bowl champion either, since we all had AFC teams winning it all.

Since I am dead in the water, and Robert and David cannot get enough points with their remaining picks, BUGG IS THE WINNER!

Congratulations Bugg!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

R.I.P. Art Buchwald

"Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got." - Art Buchwald

Political columnist Art Buchwald died Wednesday night at the age of 81.

Anyone who has ever read Buchwald will mourn his passing. Anyone who hasn't read Buchwald should read him. For a humorous political look at the second half of the 20th century, Buchwald is a must-read.

The most fitting tribute I saw to Buchwald was by writer Suzette Martinez Standring, who called him the "patron saint of political satire."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bad joke

What do you call a cat with no legs? A pussymat.

For all the protectionists out there... are some must-read links.

We will start with a link to a Center for Trade Policy Studies article by Daniel Griswold, titled ""Bad News" on the Trade Deficit Often Means Good News on the Economy". This article shows:
" all three measures of economic performance–GDP, manufacturing output, and the unemployment rate–the U.S. economy performs better in years when the current account deficit [the trade deficit] is rising as a share of GDP than in years when it is shrinking. And it performs especially well in years when the current account deficit is rising most rapidly."

(For a view of this information, see John Stossel's editorial "Losing Sleep Over the Trade Deficit?")

Want more? Here is economist Walter Williams, from his editorial "Trade Deficits: Good or Bad?":
"Professor Don Boudreaux, chairman of George Mason University's Economics Department, wrote "If Trade Surpluses Are So Great, the 1930s Should Have Been a Booming Decade" ( According to data he found at the National Bureau of Economic Research's "Macrohistory Database", it turns out that the U.S. ran a trade surplus in nine of the 10 years of the Great Depression, with 1936 being the lone exception.

During those 10 years, we had a significant trade surplus, with exports totaling $26.05 billion and imports totaling only $21.13 billion. So what do trade surpluses during a depression and trade deficits during an economic boom prove, considering we've had trade deficits for most of our history? Professor Boudreaux says they prove absolutely nothing. Economies are far too complex to draw simplistic causal connections between trade deficits and surpluses and economic welfare and growth.

Still think we need to shrink our trade deficit?

In a survey by Robert Whaples of members of the American Economic Association, 87.5% of the PhD respondents agreed "The U.S. should eliminate remaining tariffs and other barriers to trade."

Still need more?

Ok, here are some classic editorials by Walter Williams, titled "Foreign Trade Angst", and "Our Trade Deficit".

Finally, a perspective on the trade deficit from David Gardner, co-founder of "The Motley Fool" investment website. In "Our Friend, the Trade Deficit", Gardner gives "three basic truths" you need to know before having an opinion on the trade deficit. They are:
1. International trade balance accounting does not count services rendered...

2. In international trade accounting, foreign investment in a country is counted as a "debt."...

3. Finally, trade deficits generally demonstrate a healthy openness to, and appreciation of, the culture and assets of other nations... and demonstrate as well as a trade policy that favors the consumer.

Read the whole article.

Still not convinced? Then keep running around screaming "The sky is falling!", because I won't help you.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Why I am a Raider fan

I received the following anonymous question on one of my posts:
I'm curious, why are you a Raiders fan? They have very low class fans - try wearing a Broncos jersey at a Raiders Home game - and their owner is a crook. Plus, the Traiders left for LA in the early '80s and then came back. But I really hate their goon fans.

This deserves an explanation, especially considering the fact I have never even been to California.

The first team I ever loved was the Dolphins, during their peak of the early 70's. Mostly, I liked Larry Csonka. When he left the Dolphins for the World Football League, so did my enthusiasm for the Dolphins.

After that, I became a fair-weather fan, rooting for the Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, and the Vikings. In the 1976 Super Bowl, I rooted for the Vikings against the Raiders, because I liked Fran Tarkenton. The Vikings lost, and so did I.

Even though I lived near Philadelphia, the Eagles were awful, so there was no point in rooting for them. That is until Dick Vermeil arrived, and the Eagles started winning. When the Eagles lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl, my heart was broken along with a lot of Eagle fans. After Vermeil left, and the Eagles returned to their losing ways, I left the Eagles.

When I was going to George Washington University in D.C., I got a mega-dose of Redskin mania. It wouldn't have been so bad, but there is only so much Joe Theismann I can take. What made it worse was the Redskins were absolutely awesome in 1983, going 14-2 and completely dominating the NFL.

When the Redskins got to the Super Bowl against the Raiders, I finally learned after the two previous Raider Super Bowl victories. I learned the Raiders don't lose Super Bowls. So I put $20 on the Raiders, which was a big gamble for a college student.

I watched the game in a frat house in D.C. The fraternity had set up a big room with a big tv for all the Redskin fans. Next to it, in a much smaller room with a smaller tv, I sat with all the Raider fans. There were about 5-6 of us. By halftime, the party was in the Raider room, because the large Redskin room was silent. When Marcus Allen broke a 74-yard run (still one of the most incredible runs I have ever seen), we knew the game was over. The Raiders won convincingly, 38-9. But the Raiders also won my loyalty that day.

After that, I started following the Raiders loyally, even learning the team's history and philosophy. How many teams have slogans like "Commitment to Excellence" and "Just win baby"? For the Raiders, those were more than just marketing PR. For decades, the Raiders under Al Davis understood that the purpose of pro football was the product on the field.

I read all the books about the Raiders I could obtain. I absorbed books by John Madden, Kenny Stabler, John Matuszak, and Lyle Alzado. What these books showed me was a team that cared about football on Sunday, and all the rest was just outside static.

My loyalty to the Raiders is based on philosophy, a lesson they taught me. Even though the current team is just a shell of it's former teams, the lesson remains with me.

On the minimum wage

"A question for you: Do you think that it would be appropriate for the federal government to force you to pay more for a product at the store than that product is worth to you? What if the government came to you and told you that the company making the product you wish to buy just isn't making enough money. Their profit margin has been stagnant for four years, and so the government wants you to pay more for the product so that the company making the product could get more profit. Like the idea? Do you think the government should tell you what must pay more for an item from the department store or grocery shelf than it is worth? If not .. then how can you support the idea that the government should tell an employer that he has to pay a person more for his labor than it is worth?" - Neal Boortz

What Boortz neglects to add here is that is EXACTLY what government does when it increases the minimum wage. Who do you think pays the cost of a higher minimum wage? Evil greedy companies? Au contraire mon ami. It is the consumer who pays the cost, which companies just pass along with higher prices.

By the way, which companies usually pay minimum wage to their employees? That would be companies whose profit margins are the tightest. Companies which sell a lot to the poor and low wage earners. So it is completely meaningless to the poor. They end up making more, but they also pay more.

What about small businesses which can't afford to raise their prices (in order to stay competitive), but also can't afford to pay their employees more than the current minimum wage? They get squeezed out of business, while the Walmarts of the world roll right along.

On the bright side, unionized workers will make more (due to collective bargaining agreements which raise salaries every time the minimum wage goes up). Great news for the struggling U.S. auto manufacturing companies and airlines. Instead of the slow, strangling death they were facing due to too many union concessions, let's blow those industries out of the water!

One final point, which Neal Boortz made the other day:
"But here's what I don't understand. How's come whenever Democrats talk about raising the minimum wage, it's only a dollar or two? They want to raise it to $7.25 or about being cheap! If you can't raise a family on $5.15 an hour, then how are you going to do it on $7.25 an hour? Why not raise the minimum wage to something say, $25 an hour. Obviously the single mom running the drive-thru at the local taco stand deserves that.

Oh...we can't raise it that much? Because it would kill jobs? Then if that is the case, liberals themselves are proving the point of their opponents. And by the way, this idea that somebody is supposed to raise a family on the minimum wage is nonsense. The minimum wage is for high school kids...people just entering the workforce. If that's the best you can do after working several years, then there is only one way to describe a person in that situation: a loser.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Congressional Vacation

Over at the Drudge Report, Dick Morris has an editorial:
"House Democrats lost considerable credibility yesterday when their opening session was cancelled so that members could attend the Ohio State-Florida State football game.

This is not a joke.

It is, however, a blunt metaphor for how genuinely out of touch the members of Congress really are. How many other Americans do you suppose were given the same perk? A day off because of an evening football game? And how many school kids would like to have time off to watch their own favorite teams? What kind of message is the House leadership sending?

Is it that they don’t get how bad it looks, or that they don’t care?

Their record has been dismal. Last year, the House and Senate worked an average of about two days a week for their salary of $162,500. Nice work if you can find it.

My response is: Let them take as much time off as they want, because then they will do less damage. Thomas Paine said it best: "That government is best which governs least."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Islamic double standards

(Hat tip to

When I read the above cartoon today, I could not help but think of Islamic double standards.

As evidenced by muslim protests at various examples of free speech criticisms of Islam, such as the Danish cartoons or the Pope speeking out about the violent history of Islam, we see the muslims will use free speech when it works to their advantage, but will not allow the same when it is against them.

Much like the llama spitting on the pig, "cultural insensitivity" is only happening when the llama is the recipient, because the culture of the llama is the only one which has any value as far as he is concerned.

The question is will the muslims continue spitting on the rest of us, or will they learn respect for other cultures?

2006 All-Ed Team

If John Madden can do it, why not me?

So what does it take to get on my team? Much like Madden, I like attitude and a good work ethic. But I also like success. Stats don't hurt either.

Without further ado, here is the first annual "All-Ed Team".

QUARTERBACK: Tom Brady, Patriots.
Most people would take Peyton Manning. While I have great respect for Manning, I want a winner at quarterback. I want a guy who can put the team on his own shoulders and carry them if necessary. While Manning is capable of doing that, I want the best man for the job.

I limited my search to guys who threw over 500 passes this season (sorry Phil Rivers) and guys whose teams made the playoffs (sorry Carson Palmer). These are the guys whose teams relied on them to win a lot, and they did. Then I came up with my own statistic: team wins per pass attempts. In other words, the biggest contribution was made to team wins every time these guys put the ball in the air.

The winner? Tom Brady, with .023 wins per pass attempt. Manning was second with .021.

Considering Brady came into this season without his favorite receiver (Deion Branch, who went to Seattle), it is amazing that his stats only dropped a little from last year, but still remained quite respectable. Brady achieved just as many wins as Manning while throwing to no-names like Reche Caldwell and Ben Watson.

RUNNING BACKS: LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers, and Frank Gore, 49ers
Tomlinson is a no-brainer. I won't beat the dead horse with why I picked him. There are plenty of articles out there if you don't know why.

Gore will require a bit of defending. For running backs with over 200 carries, Gore led them all in average yards per carry, with 5.4 yards. Considering he did this on a mediocre/bad team like the 49ers makes this accomplishment even more impressive. By comparison, LT only averaged 5.2 yards/carry on the awesome Chargers.

Anyone who watched Gore this year will tell you: this guy is special. He reminds me a lot of Marshall Faulk when Faulk was in his prime.

So why not Steven Jackson (Rams) or Larry Johnson (Chiefs)?

Jackson did not impress me as much as Gore did, mostly because the Rams had a much better passing game than the 49ers, so teams did not stack the line on Jackson like they did with Gore.

As for Johnson, the Chiefs over-utilized him, leading to his big numbers.

FULLBACKS: Lorenzo Neal, Chargers
I want the guy who helped Tomlinson put up those audacious numbers. Too many times this year during Charger games, I watched replays of great Tomlinson runs which included a great block by Neal.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Marvin Harrison, Colts, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals
I don't want guys like Terrell Owens on my team. I want guys like Marvin Harrison, who quietly put up the big numbers (95 catches for 1366 yards and 12 touchdowns) without glorifying themselves.

Speaking of not glorifying themselves, while Chad Johnson led the NFL in receiving yards (1369 yards), T.J. Houshmandzadeh led the Bengals in receptions (90) and receiving touchdowns (9), in spite of the fact that "Housh" missed the first two games of the season with an injury.

TIGHT END: Antonio Gates, Chargers
Aside from the fact Gates was the blocking tight end for the best running back in the NFL, just look at his receving numbers against the other tight ends:

Receptions: 71 versus 89 for Kellen Winslow of the Browns (Gates was 4th in this category)
Receiving Yards: 924 versus 900 for Tony Gonzalez of the Chiefs (Gates was 1st)
Receiving Touchdowns: 9 versus 8 for Alge Crumpler of the Falcons (Gates was 1st)

Gates is the best tight end in the game, period.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Washington Redskins
Why do you think Joe Gibbs wants to come back next year? Because he knows he has the first piece of a championship team in place with the best offensive line in the NFL.

There are certainly better individual blockers on other teams. But as a unit, there are none better overall than the Redskins.

The 2006 version of the "Hogs" were fifth in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass attempted, with .040. The Colts led the NFL with .026. However, the Colts were 18th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (110.1), while the Redskins were fourth with 138.5.

The Falcons led the NFL in rushing yards per game with 183.7, but they were also 31st in sacks allowed per attempt (.112).

Why not San Diego's offensive line? While the Chargers were second in rushing yards per game (161.1), they were also 11th in sacks allowed per attempt with .060.

KICKER: Robbie Gould, Bears
You have to love a kicker from the "Windy City" who leads all NFL kickers in scoring.

PUNTER: Brian Moorman, Bills
One of the better accuracy punters in the NFL.

KICK RETURNER: Justin Miller, Jets
If you want to know why the Jets made it to the playoffs, look no further than Justin Miller, who gave the Jets offense a short field to work on with his 28.3 yard kick return average. This was when he didn't take it all the way for a touchdown, which he did twice last season.

When you consider Miller did this while starting at cornerback for the Jets, that makes his dominant kick returning even more impressive.

PUNT RETURNER: Devin Hester, Bears
This was a close one between Hester and Pacman Jones of the Titans. They both had three touchdown returns. They both averaged over 12 yards per return.

The edge went to Hester with 11 returns of greater than 20 yards, versus 6 for Jones. Add in the fact that Jones is a showboat, and Hester wins running away.

OVERALL DEFENSE: Baltimore Ravens
I was going to name individual defensive players, and I will, but as I looked over the numbers, I could not get away from Baltimore. There were Ravens all over the defensive stats in every category.

Defensive sacks? Second in the NFL with 60, just one behind San Diego.

Run defense? Second in the NFL with 75.9 yards per game allowed, behind only Minnesota with 61.6. The Ravens also allowed only 3.3 yards per carry, second only to Minnesota with 2.8 yards per carry. However, the only reason Minnesota ranked so highly was because teams did not bother to run on them: Minnesota ranked 31st in passing yards allowed per game.

Pass defense? The Ravens were 6th with 188.2 yards allowed per game. The five teams ranked ahead of them had the following ranking in run defense (meaning teams did NOT have to pass on them as much): 25th (Oakland), 32nd (Indianapolis), 23rd (New Orleans), 11th (Carolina), and 8th (Miami). Realistically, the Ravens ranked 3rd in pass defense, with only 11 passing yards allowed total more than Carolina (3011 to 3000).

Interceptions? Baltimore was first with 28.

Add in the fact the Ravens play defense with an attitude, and it is hard for me to name an "All Ed" defense without them. Just add the following players to the Ravens defense, and you can stop anyone.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Aaron Kampman, Packers
There was not much good to say about the Packers this year, but Aaron Kampman was their best defensive end since Reggie White. With 15.5 sacks and 89 tackles, Kampman was a dominating defensive end.

LINEBACKERS: Zach Thomas, Dolphins, and DeMeco Ryans, Texans
Sorry, no love here for Shawne "Mr. Steroid" Merriman. Let him prove he can get 17 sacks without the juice, and we'll talk. Until then, let's give some love to the guys who do it without much help from their teammates.

Zach Thomas has always been a monster in the middle, and this year was no exception. He led the NFL with 165 total tackles (103 solo tackles) while defensing 10 passes.

On the other hand, DeMeco Ryans was a solo tackle monster, leading the NFL with 125. Just imagine how good Houston would be if they had another player making tackles?

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Champ Bailey, Broncos, and Asante Samuel, Patriots
When teams realized they could not exclusively throw to Darrent Williams (God rest his soul) side of the Denver defense, they learned a painful lesson: Champ Bailey is still a shutdown corner. With 10 picks, Bailey showed why he is the best corner in the NFL.

When you watch the Patriots play, the name you will inevitably hear on pass defense is Asante Samuel. The Patriots seem to find ways to get Samuel into position to make plays, and he does. Whether it is interceptions (10), tackles (64), or passes defensed (14), Samuel is all over the pass defense for the Patriots.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Pick the NFL Playoff Winners: Wild Card Results

In our first annual "Pick the NFL Playoff Winners" contest, with one point for each correct pick, the Wild Card Weekend results are:

Robert A. George - 3 points
Bugg - 3 points

EdMcGon - 2 pts.
David Stefanini - 1 pt.

Except for his "homer" Giants pick, Robert George was outstanding. That miss may come back to haunt him next week since he had the Giants going to the NFC Championship.

Bugg is facing an even bigger dilemna in spite of his early success. The only pick he missed was the Jets, which he had going all the way. Instead, the Jets go "all the way" home after the Pats had them as a playoff appetizer.

With only two picks right, I am still in good shape with my projected NFC Champion Eagles still alive.

David Stefanini also picked the Eagles correctly, but that was it for him. His one saving grace is that he has San Diego and Chicago in the Super Bowl, both of which are still alive.


In our pool, the Divisional Playoff games are worth 2 points each. Here are how the games look now:

New England at San Diego: Bugg has to be rooting for New England, just to spite the rest of us, since the three of us took San Diego.

Indianapolis at Baltimore: If Indy wins, Bugg will be sitting pretty. He is the only one who took Indy.

Seattle at Chicago: Robert George will be "spite-rooting" for Seattle in this one. His G-men didn't make it and everyone else took "Da Bears".

Philadelphia at New Orleans: This one is split down the middle. David Stefanini and I picked Philly, while Bugg and Robert George have New Orleans.

Good luck to all!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Wild Card plays and other NFL thoughts

Colts 23, Chiefs 8: This was a game neither team deserved to win.

For the Chiefs, Trent Green was ice cold, which meant the Colts defense could concentrate on stopping Larry Johnson without paying for it. I don't know who was calling the offensive plays for the Chiefs, but I suspect they were possessed by the ghost of some 1960's head coach. Run, run, pass, punt.

On the other hand, the Chiefs defense looked like they were possessed by the 1970's Steelers defense. They made life miserable for Peyton Manning, who threw three interceptions. The Chiefs also kept the Colts out of the end zone until the third quarter.

Nothing the Colts did impressed me, although Dallas Clark looked good. Joseph Addai looked good in the second half, although the Chiefs defense was worn down by that point, due to the ineptitude of the Chiefs offense.

Don't look for the Colts to last past the next round, against the Ravens.

Seahawks 21, Cowboys 20: Poor Tony Romo. He does everything he can to win this game for the Boys, then botches the hold on a chip shot field goal which would have won the game.

This was a game between two teams which won't last long in the playoffs, and it showed. After watching the great defensive performances in the Chiefs-Colts game, this game was a defensive mediocrity. The worst part was the offenses didn't seem good enough to take advantage of it. A good offense against either of these teams would have put 40 points on the scoreboard easily.

Unfortunately, the Seahawks don't have to worry about facing a good offense next week with the Bears. However, I cannot see the Hawks putting up 21 on the Bears defense.

Patriots 37, Jets 16: I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed watching the Pats out-coach and out-play the Jets. All I have heard is how I have been underrating the Jets this year. That cricket chirping sound you hear is all the Jets fans now.

The Jets didn't belong in the playoffs, and the Pats proved it.

The Pats-Chargers game next week should be a good one. I want to see if Belichick can figure out a way to stop the Chargers. It may be a classic if he can.

Eagles 23, Giants 20: I must admit the Giants fans aren't nearly as obnoxious as the Jets fans. I suspect it is because they know the Giants have problems. However, the Giants put up a much better effort than the Jets did.

For awhile there, I thought the Eagles would just beat the Giants in a snoozer. When the Eagles were up 20-10 in the third quarter, I expected the Giants to just cave in. But the Giants showed some heart and tied it up in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the G-men, they didn't get a botched field goal attempt at the end to save them.

The Eagles will have to put up a much better effort against the Saints next week. Even though I predicted the Eagles will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, I was not pleased by what I saw from them against the Giants.

: My initial thought on the Falcons hiring Louisville's Bobby Petrino as their next head coach is "bad move". College coaches generally don't do well on the pro level (see Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban). For every Jimmy Johnson who does succeed, there are plenty of Butch Davis and Dennis Erickson failures.

But it really doesn't matter who the Falcons hire as head coach, since they are determined to continue with the failed Mike Vick experiment.

Friday, January 05, 2007

NFL Coaching Carousel Part II: Stop the ride!

Previous coach firings/resignations: Jim Mora (Falcons), Dennis Green (Cardinals), and Nick Saban (Dolphins)
New coach firngs: Art Shell (Raiders)
To be gone today: Bill Cowher (Steelers)
Status pending the playoffs: Tom Coughlin (Giants), Bill Parcells (Cowboys), and Tony Dungy (Colts)

Yesterday, I could not keep up with the rumors for the Dolphins head coaching job, with everyone from Bill Cowher to Bill Parcells named as potential next coaches. For the time being, I am leaving the rumor mill alone since most of the rumors have to be false (there are a lot more rumored names than jobs available).

As for actual news stories, there are only two: Art Shell's firing and Bill Cowher's resignation.

The only problem I have with the firing of Art Shell is: Who will the Raiders hire? The top coaching candidates won't even sniff at the Raiders for a lot of reasons, but the primary one is Al Davis is too old to handle his job responsibilities (interfering owners need to have the energy to actually interfere). This problem extends to an inability to attract top free agents (who wants to sign with a team as messed up as the Raiders are?).

If I was Al Davis, and I know he won't do this, I would promote defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to head coach. The Raiders defense was one of the few bright spots for the team last year. Unfortunately, Al Davis has never hired a defensive coach as his head coach, so it is a moot point.

NOTE TO AL DAVIS: Al, if you get in a pinch for a head coach, I am available. And I work cheap. Any 6-figure salary will do.

I will go out on a limb and predict that Cowher will NOT be the next head coach for either the Raiders or the Cardinals. You heard it here first.

Seriously, his name has already been mentioned with the Dolphins job, but I just don't see that happening. Cowher has his home in the Carolinas, and Miami is not much closer than Pittsburgh. Atlanta would make more sense, but his name has not come up for that job.

My guess is that Cowher sits out next season and waits for John Fox of Carolina to get the boot. But Cowher might have a long wait for that to happen.

Other future possibilities could be Washington or Jacksonville.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Wisdom of Myrhaf

I have been negligent about reading blogs during the holidays. So I have been playing a little catch up with my favorites.

As I was reading Myrhaf's blog, I came across this gem of wisdom:
"America cannot fight a war if its predominant intellectuals do not think it deserves to win. Without moral confidence, no nation can wage a war."

Read the rest of his post here.

A nine year old forever

Drudge Report had a link to the fascinating story of a girl who is severely mentally retarded. What makes this nine year old girl fascinating is the fact doctors are performing medical procedures on her in order to basically keep her nine years old for the rest of her life.

From the Guardian article:
"Ashley's parents call her their Pillow Angel, a moniker that is a reference to the love and joy they feel for their nine-year-old daughter and the severe disabilities she has suffered from birth. She cannot sit up, walk or talk, is fed by tube, and, as her parents put it, "stays right where we place her - usually on a pillow".

Ashley won't know this, as she is brain-damaged and has the awareness, her doctors say, of a baby, but she has become the subject of a passionate argument in disability circles and beyond. Her name is becoming synonymous with the debate about the acceptable limits of medical intervention in the care of disabled people.

The cause of the controversy is the "Ashley Treatment" - a course of surgery and hormone supplements devised for her at her parents' request and with the blessing of doctors - that will for ever keep her small. It involves surgical operations, including a hysterectomy, and hormone prescriptions that will, in effect, freeze-frame her body at its current size.

Although she has a normal life expectancy, she will, physically, always be nine years old. Her growth has been suspended at 4ft 5in (1.3 metres), rather than the 5ft 6in she would probably otherwise have become. Her weight will stick at around 75lb (34kg) rather than 125lb.

...The parents insist that the treatment, carried out in 2004, was conceived for Ashley's benefit and not their own ease or convenience. With a lighter body and no breasts, Ashley will have fewer bed sores and lie more comfortably. And a smaller Ashley can be cared for and carried. "As a result we will continue to delight in holding her in our arms and Ashley will be moved and taken on trips more frequently instead of lying in her bed staring at TV or the ceiling all day long," they write.

But as news about the treatment became known, Ashley's parents were surprised by the virulence of some of the response. Comments on chatboards have included: "Ouch - this smacks of eugenics"; "I find this offensive, truly a milestone in our convenience society"; "This smells, I can't agree with this".

Outrage has also been expressed by organisations representing disabled people across the US, with many asking why a course of treatment that would not be countenanced for an able-bodied person should be allowed in this case. "People have been horrified by the discrepancy," said Mary Johnson, editor of Ragged Edge, an online magazine for disability activists.

(A complete description of the situation and the "Ashley Treatment" was posted by the parents here)

How can anyone have an issue with what is going on here? Am I the only one who can see these parents have this child's best interests at heart? I find it heartwarming that the medical community can perform these procedures to make a better life for a human being who will never know it.

As usual, there are busybodies out there who want to take this case and use it as a broad brush across society as a whole. Then they step back and say the individual case cannot be good because we don't like how it looks somewhere else. People spend so much time thinking in terms of forests that they forget the individual trees.

If we give in to the busybodies of the world, we will be nothing more than Ashley, a nine year old forever waiting for someone to take care of us. Rather, we should seek to emulate Ashley's parents, taking care of those who need us in the best ways possible, while still living our lives freely.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

NFL Coaching Status Report

With the two NFL coaches fired this week (so far), now is a good time to take a look at where other NFL coaches stand:

RAVENS: What a difference a season makes! Brian Billick was on the hot seat coming into this year. Not any more.

CHARGERS: You might think Marty Schottenheimer saved his job with a 14-2 season. Unfortunately for Marty, it is a poorly kept secret that General Manager A.J. Smith despises Schottenheimer. My guess is owner Alex Spanos would fire Smith before Schottenheimer at this point.

PATRIOTS: Currently, Bill Belichick has the most job security of any NFL head coach. Three Super Bowl wins with average talent will do that for you.

BEARS: Lovie Smith needs a new contract. The Bears WILL pay through the nose for waiting this long to get it done.

SAINTS: Thanks to an impressive franchise turnaround, Sean Payton is quite secure going into next year.

TITANS: Before this year, Jeff Fisher was on the hot seat. A lot of teams were salivating at the prospect of Fisher being fired after this rebuilding year for the Titans. Fisher turned this team around MUCH quicker than anyone expected, although everyone expected him to do it.

EAGLES: The phrases "Andy Reid" and "hot seat" never seem to meet in one sentence.

COWBOYS: Will Parcells retire? My guess is Parcells comes back, but Terrell Owens will be on another team.

BRONCOS: Mike Shanahan seems to have unlimited job security in Denver, but the good will could run out if the Broncos tank next year.

COLTS: I will repeat my bold prediction which I have made for awhile now: Tony Dungy will be fired when the Colts get bounced from the playoffs this year. ESPECIALLY if they lose this weekend.

BENGALS: Marvin Lewis is safe, but the Bengals missing the playoffs has to be worrisome to management.

CHIEFS: Herman Edwards isn't on the hot seat yet, but I will be surprised if he lasts past next season.

JAGUARS: Jack Del Rio did the housecleaning of his coaching staff which management required in order for him to keep his job.

GIANTS: Unless the Giants make a nice run in the playoffs, Coughlin will be gone. I am betting he is a dead coach walking.

PANTHERS: John Fox is secure, but the seat might get a bit toasty next year.

JETS: Eric Mangini has done a marvelous job in his first season. He has a little wiggle room next season, unless the team takes a nosedive.

FALCONS: Jim Mora was already fired. The rumor mill has the Falcons interested in Oklahoma's Bob Stoopes.

SEAHAWKS: Mike Holmgren is safe.

RAMS: Scott Linehan has some chemistry issues with this team. If he doesn't get them sorted out, next season could be his last.

STEELERS: Bill Cowher is all but gone. Rumor has it the Rooneys have put pressure on Cowher for an immediate decision regarding his future, because other teams (i.e. Arizona and Atlanta) have started sniffing around the Steeler assistant coaches. I predict Cowher retires and comes back in 2008 somewhere else. I also predict offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt gets the head coaching job in Pittsburgh.

REDSKINS: Joe Gibbs will be back for next season, which will also be his last season.

BILLS: Dick Jauron did a good job this year with a nothing team. But the Bills will have to show some improvement next year or Jauron's gone.

DOLPHINS: is reporting that Nick Saban has already accepted the head coaching position at Alabama. It is still too early to tell who might be a head coaching prospect here, because another rumor has owner Wayne Huizenga selling the team.

UPDATE: It is official: According to, Saban is going to Alabama.

BROWNS: Romeo Crennell is on a VERY hot seat now, which is unfair in my opinion. The Browns had little talent and a brutal schedule.

BUCCANEERS: There were a lot of rumors swirling around Jon Gruden, but it seems like he is staying put. But if the Bucs have another year like this one, Gruden will be gone.

VIKINGS: Brad Childress started out well, but cooled off. Next season will determine his future with the Vikings.

49ERS: Mike Nolan exceeded expectations with a 7-9 season.

PACKERS: Mike McCarthy did ok for a rebuilding year. Safe for another year.

CARDINALS: With Dennis Green gone, the rumor mill has the Cards interested in offensive line coach Russ Grimm of the Steelers.

TEXANS: The Texans were rebuilding, although the team did show some progress under Gary Kubiak.

LIONS: Matt Millen has staked his future on Rod Marinelli. Unfortunately for Marinelli, that goes both ways.

RAIDERS: Art Shell is safe for another year, but only because the head coach hiring process was a painful one for the Raiders last year.

UPDATE 2: The Falcons are meeting with Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Let the coaching carousel begin!

With the NFL season just ended, two coaches have already met the chopping block: Jim Mora of the Falcons and Dennis Green of the Cardinals.

Jim Mora was the living embodiment of blown opportunities. Even when he tried something innovative like using Michael Vick in the option offense, he seemed to go away from it around mid-season (about the time the Falcons started looking like crap). Rumor has it that Arthur Blank was going to give the boot to Greg Knapp, the offensive coordinator, but that Mora wouldn't part with Knapp. Add in Mora's inheritance of foot-in-mouth from his father, and Mora was doomed.

Frankly, I never understood why Blank hired Mora. When Mora was defensive coordinator for San Francisco, his defenses were ok, but nothing special.

As for Dennis Green, he was the victim of a bad franchise. No one can save the Cardinals until they get new ownership. Green deserves another shot, although I don't think he can win the Super Bowl. But with the right ownership, I think Green could make most teams winners.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Pick the NFL Playoff Winners

Time for the BIG "Pick the NFL Playoff Winners" competition! Ok, so it is not really that big, since there's no money to be won. But isn't it all worthwhile when you get your name mentioned on three blogs? (Politics and Pigskins, American Legends, and Ragged Thots)

The object of the game is simple: pick the winners throughout the rest of the playoffs. The trick is to do it NOW. Similar to an "NCAA Final Four Tourney" pool, you pick the brackets all the way through to the championship game. You get one point for each Wild Card Weekend winner predicted correctly, two points for each Divisional Playoff winner, three points for each Conference Championship winner, and four points for the Super Bowl winner.

I will keep score and give weekly updates. Just post your picks in the comments.

Each conference's playoffs are seeded the following way (final records shown in parentheses):

#1 seed - San Diego (14-2)
2 - Baltimore (13-3)
3 - Indianapolis (12-4)
4 - New England (12-4)
5 - N.Y. Jets (10-6)
6 - Kansas City (9-7)

#1 seed - Chicago (13-3)
2 - New Orleans (10-6)
3 - Philadelphia (10-6)
4 - Seattle (9-7)
5 - Dallas (9-7)
6 - N.Y. Giants (8-8)

Remember, the top seed always plays the lowest seed every weekend, with the exception of the first weekend (Wild Card Weekend) when the top two seeds in each conference don't play.

I shall demonstrate how to do this with my own picks (in red).

#6 Kansas City at #3 Indianapolis: This game is perfect for the Chiefs. Their grind-it-out running attack against the Colts porous run defense. I would be surprised if Herm Edwards can screw up this game plan.
#5 N.Y. Jets at #4 New England: I said it before and I will say it again. The Jets are one and done.
#5 Dallas at #4 Seattle: Dallas should bounce back from their big choke against the Lions (a million Raider fans have sent Matt Millen a Christmas card).
#6 N.Y. Giants at #3 Philadelphia: The Eagles complete the "New York, New York" bounce from the playoffs.

#6 Kansas City at #1 San Diego: This is a no-brainer. Don't think for a second that Marty Schottenheimer won't enjoy beating his old team in the playoffs.
#4 New England at #2 Baltimore: If McNair stays healthy, the Ravens go far.
#5 Dallas at #1 Chicago: I give the edge to Chicago on special teams in this game. Other than that, this is a toss-up.
#3 Philadelphia at #2 New Orleans: As much as I would like to see the Saints do well in the playoffs, they look too young to pull it off. Philly has the veteran leadership needed to play well enough to win.

#2 Baltimore at #1 San Diego: This game is the true Super Bowl. Either of these teams is a worthy Super Bowl champion (yes, I said champion). I am gambling McNair stays healthy and leads the Ravens to the promised land, while the Chargers fall prey to the "Marty-ball" curse.
#3 Philadelphia at #1 Chicago: I expect only two playoff games for the Bears before we see the real Rex "Which team am I on?" Grossman. I might be over-rating that by one playoff game.

Philadelphia vs. Baltimore: "The Battle of I-95". I predict the Eagles score the first touchdown, before the Ravens say, "Nevermore." Ravens win 31-7.