Memorial Day MMQB round-up

What I’m trying to say in that title is that this is a round-up of interesting stories touched on by Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King in today’s Monday Morning Quarterback column.

This is not supposed to become a regular feature and it isn’t intended to be an unfunny version of Drew Magary’s weekly MMQB take down.

It’s simply this: Starving for stories on what might be the slowest NFL news day of the entire year (why didn’t I take today off and work last Monday?) I wandered over to a park near theScore’s HQ (it’s a freakin’ beautiful day in Toronto) and read a printout of today’s MMQB (I’m not eco-friendly). The piece was pretty much the only source for fresh ideas from an industry insider on a U.S. national holiday (why not one more digression in brackets?) and so I treated it like some sort of football writer’s holy grail.

Here are some of the highlights of today’s column, along with the official GLS reaction (who cares what Tomlinson thinks):

NFL Network last night had its fifth show of 10 featuring 10 players per week in the top 100, unveiling Nos. 51 through 60 on the list. And doing the math after it was over, this much is evident: The 413 players who voted in this exercise love them some offense. Because doing the math from the original NFL release on the top 100, the final 50 on the show will include 31 offensive and 19 defensive players (no kickers or punters). The final 50 will include nine receivers, seven quarterbacks, seven running backs, five offensive linemen (likely Nick Mangold, Jahri Evans, Logan Mankins, Jake Long and another tackle) and three tight ends (likely Jason Witten, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez).

I’m astounded that a combined 16 receivers and running backs will make the top 50. Looking back at our lists of the top 10 backs and receivers in the game, I’d argue that only the following players deserve to be ranked that high:

1. Chris Johnson
2. Adrian Peterson
3. Andre Johnson
4. Maurice Jones-Drew
5. Larry Fitzgerald
6. Jamaal Charles
7. Arian Foster
8. Calvin Johnson
9. Reggie Wayne
10. Greg Jennings
11. Roddy White
12. DeSean Jackson

LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Dwayne Bowe and Mike Wallace would be next on my list. But Jennings and Rice have already been listed, meaning the players who voted somehow found room for five players not listed above. That, to me, is insane. I have no idea who the seventh running back will be. LeSean McCoy? Peyton Hillis? Honestly, it wouldn’t suprise me if it were LaDainian Tomlinson.

This list is only interesting because the players are clearly remarkably biased and took personal relationships into account.

What hockey can teach us: 3. The traditions. Terrific. NFL teams absolutely, positively should line up and shake hands after playoff games. I waited around to see it, and to see the emotion on each side, and the genuine congratulations between winner and loser … it’s what sports should be. It honors the game. And Boston winning the conference championship cup and not touching it — the superstition is if you touch that chalice, you won’t be really hungry to work for the Stanley Cup. Silly, of course, but everyone around me was waiting to see if any Bruin touched the thing, and when they didn’t, the real fans were thrilled. When it was over, and I took the T home (the Boston subway), you got the feel of a crowd that was hungry, but not rudely so. “We want the Cup! We want the Cup!” was the chant. Just a tremendous event, and I’m glad I was able to be there as a fan.

I would do anything to see James Harrison line up to shake the hands of an opponent who just beat his team in a playoff game. Anything. Or Ray Lewis. Imagine? And how many guys would refuse to shake? Why is it that hockey players usually suck it up and partake in this painful ritual and yet I have no confidence that football or basketball players would do the same?

Quote of the Week III

“This is one of the most critical times in the league’s history and so you’re happy to be covering that up close. On the other hand, I never thought I’d miss covering OTAs so much.”

–New York Times NFL reporter Judy Battista, in an interview with TheBigLead.com

You’ve got a lot of company, Judy.

I have never covered OTAs, so I don’t care about that aspect, but I do agree with Battista’s first point. I’m not supposed to say this, but a small part of me has quite enjoyed this work stoppage. I have been doing my best to step back and view the whole ordeal as an outsider, which I think has helped me to understand how historically important it is. The terms that are agreed upon during this process will set the tone for how successful and dominant the National Football League continues to be for decades to come. If you love football, this is a very important time. And although I don’t want to lose games, I’m living on the edge and trying to embrace this historical situation while it lasts.

Or maybe it’s such masochism and that’s just my drawn out excuse.

The other day, chatting with former Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson on SiriusXM NFL Radio, I was surprised (stunned, almost) to hear Anderson talk about this part of his legacy. ‘My yards-per-attempt were the same as Dan Marino’s,’ he said.
‘I don’t think anyone would think that.’

So I went to the trusty ProFootballReference.com, to the leader section, and checked yard-per-attempt. There, tied at 7.3 yards per attempt, were Anderson and Marino.

More than that, if you take it out to another decimal place:
Marino 7.34
Anderson 7.34

‘The misnomer in our offense was it was a dink-and-dunk offense,’ Anderson said. ‘Not so. You had to be able to throw it deep.’

Interested, I went on.

Completion percentage:
Marino .594
Anderson .593

Anderson is not a Hall of Famer; Marino obviously is. But people can come up with statistics to prove anything, and unfortunately, Marino — and most other HOF quarterbacks — crush Anderson in the longevity category. You can only make up for a lack of Super Bowl victories and a mediocre career win-loss record by shattering some records, which Anderson never did. I don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer.

I think Greg Bedard made a very strong point in his Boston Globe piece Sunday about the efficacy of the commissioner helping a coach play-act to build a good relationship with a player. That’s what Jets coach Rex Ryan claims Goodell helped him do with Santonio Holmes before the season last year.

In his new book, Ryan wrote about getting Roger Goodell to come to the Jets’ facility in New Jersey. Ryan said he told Goodell he wanted him to “rip my a– in front of Santonio … Then I asked if he would turn and give both barrels to Holmes … He chewed us out, and I think it actually brought Holmes and me closer.” As Bedard asks, what business is it of Goodell’s to help a coach get closer to a player? Goodell told Bedard he was simply trying to help Holmes stay on the straight and narrow, and maybe that’s his view of what happened. But it’s certainly not how Ryan portrayed it.

I’m actually more embarrassed for Ryan now than I was when he was simply known as a foot fetishing swinger. This is just snaky, and as King points out, Holmes and Goodell are both going to be pissed to see it in print. It’s like when you’re watching a reality show and one chick starts talking badly about another chick in those private interviews, all while playing nice when in her company. Um, you’re being taped. The other chick is eventually going to see what you’re saying. Ya know what I mean? Okay, never mind. It’s supposed to be a holiday and, as a result, I’m rambling…

I think it’s interesting to note that Marvin Lewis will break a franchise record this season (if there is one) by coaching a ninth year in Cincinnati. Paul Brown and Sam Wyche coached eight.

Lewis in his eight years: 60 wins, 67 losses, 2 playoff appearances, no playoff victories.
Brown in his eight years: 55 wins, 56 losses, 3 playoff appearances, no playoff victories.
Wyche in his eight years: 61 wins, 66 losses, 2 playoff appearances, 2 playoff victories.

Conclusion: Cincinnati football fans could use a break.

I think if I was about to lay out $120 million, or whatever the five-year price tag for Peyton Manning will be for the Colts when the contract gets done, I’d be a little nervous about the last couple of years of that deal after seeing him undergo two neck procedures in 16 months.

That makes one of us, Peter.