The 2010 regular season just ended in the NFL, but there is a lot to discuss. Here are 10 items of interest currently at the top of the agenda:
1. Brady for MVP, but ...
Let's give kudos to Michael Vick. He deserves everything coming his way in terms of awards and recognition, including the Most Valuable Player Award. As for Quarterback of the Year or Offensive Player of the Year, Tom Brady is the runaway winner. Brady runs an offense, which is really the job of a quarterback, better than any quarterback. But for MVP, Vick deserves to be in the discussion. He literally saved coach Andy Reid and the Eagles from ruin. The Eagles, remember, had originally handed the job to Kevin Kolb before he got hurt. Anyway, Vick played the best he's ever played in his life, particularly throwing the ball, taking a 4-3 team to 10-4 before a few hiccups. The bottom line is Brady is MVP and Vick deserves to be the runner-up.
2. A Chief rival?
Michael Vick? What about Matt Cassel? That's right, the ex-Patriot quarterback quietly ... and I mean quietly ... had a season that in some years would be a leading MVP candidate. He threw for 27 TDs and only seven interceptions, barely missing a 4-to-1 ratio. Cassel led the once-pathetic Chiefs to the next level with a group of wide receivers that include a guy you thought probably retired — Chris Chambers. Cassel picked it up two notches after last season's disappointment (16 TD passes, 16 interceptions). Cassel could make a run at the runner-up spot for Comeback Player of the Year (Vick is guaranteed to win).
3. NFL messed up on Favre
I still haven't quite understood Brett Favre's punishment for sending lewd photos of himself to a ex-Jets female sideline employee/model. The NFL said he was fined $50,000 for not cooperating. Are you kidding me? What message are you sending to future lunatics who act like animals? Commissioner Roger Goodell, the master of marketing, blew this one big-time. He let this linger because of Favre's streak and now the NFL looks foolish as the woman in question, Jenn Sterger, will sue Favre and the league. Goodell gets an "F" for discipline.
4. Dolphin demise
This is a franchise in ruin. The Dolphins performance Sunday was disgraceful, particularly the sideline antics of talkative linebacker Channing Crowder, who appeared to be in a state of confusion on the sidelines while his team was getting destroyed. He was either dancing, by himself, to the stadium music while coaches and players tried a few times to get him to stop. And then he got in several verbal sessions with fans who were ticked about his assertion that Vick was really the MVP. It was sad to watch.
5. Carolina bad off field too
If you want to understand what's wrong with the Carolina Panthers, which finished 2-14, you might want to look at their draft day deal with the Patriots in the 2010 NFL Draft.
The Patriots dealt their third-round pick, 89th overall, to the Panthers, which chose Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards, whom the Panthers wanted to make a wide receiver.
He didn't make a catch in only one appearance. Talk about a waste!
So Belichick and the Patriots moved up to the 33rd pick overall, the first pick of the second round, in return for Edwards.
6. Green-Ellis glue
This is the fourth time I've written this in this space, but I'm doing it again. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has run the ball about 2,000 times in high school, college and the NFL. And according to the record books he has never fumbled the ball. NEVER.
I've never heard of anything like this. He has carried the ball 329 times with the Patriots, 920 times in college with Indiana and Miss. State, and an estimated 650 times in high school in New Orleans.
Is there a player that better defines Bill Belichick — tough, productive and stud in ball security — than Green-Ellis?
7. Pats cornered market in '10
One quote from Sunday's game went totally under the radar. It came from Tony Sparano who was asked why the Patriots were so good.
"The thing I have been most impressed with when watching their tape, has been their corners. In other words, never mind Tom [Brady] and the offense, but I think, that's where they have made great improvement.
I think that's where those two guys go out there and compete at a pretty high level. And I've seen great growth out of them since the last time we played," said Sparano.
The striking part of that comment was the reference to Kyle Arrington, the undrafted free agent opposite Devin McCourty. The Patriots defense has allowed only 20 points combined in four of the last five games, not including the 27 points Green Bay scored. Maybe Arrington deserves his share of the credit.
8. Ryan's mouth a problem
I am going to make a prediction. The Jets lose on Saturday night, even though they are the better team, and Rex Ryan will be out of a job. He's talking about "him" losing to Peyton Manning twice in the playoffs. Does he not understand football? You know, the 53 guys and 12 or so assistant coaches. F
orget about his off the field problems and foot fetishes. He is in the middle stages of losing his football team.
9. Seahawks are worst ever
It's time to make a simple change to the playoff format. I believe the Seahawks belong in the playoffs.
They won their division, as bad as it is. But they have no right getting home field advantage.
Teams should be seeded by record and let the chips fall.
I believe you will see more teams trying to win every game, particularly the last week or two. And if the Seahawks or any 7-9 team were lucky enough to steal a Wild Card game, the No. 1 seed should get first dibs on them the next time out.
As a side note, the Seahawks-Rams tilt on Sunday night was an embarrassment. I believe the Buffalo Bills are better than both teams.
10. Holmgren disingenuous
Mike Holmgren deserves an Academy Award for his press conference announcing the firing of Eric Mangini, who I believe was starting to get this coaching thing down.
Holmgren will go through a nation-wide search for a head coach and no doubt pick himself. The way he will get around it is he will have owner Randy Lerner go on record as saying he wants Holmgren to take the job.
Holmgren is a decent coach. But his work in Seattle was nothing to get overly excited about. His Super Bowl berth in 2005 — the Seahawks were 13-3 — had more to do with a weak schedule and weak conference than anything.
I don't care that he will coach them. He's pretty good. Just tell the truth.