The Tuesday Mailbag
HONORING A STEELERS LEGEND. Surprised and disappointed to find no mention of the passing of the great L.C. Greenwood in your MMQB column. A premier member of arguably the greatest front four on the greatest defense of the greatest team of any era surely deserves more from what I consider the best football column anywhere. You managed to mention your rotisserie league and whiffed on the passing of an NFL great. I hope you clear that up Tuesday.
Very good point—I blew that. When I was at NBC on Sunday, Tony Dungy, who was very fond of L.C., talked about him in glowing terms as a person and an impact player who probably never got the attention he deserved because of all the stars on that defense. I’ll always think of the gold shoes when I think of Greenwood. I think people are rightfully so fond of that Steelers team because they were so good for so long, and they did things the right way.
COACH OF THE YEAR QUIBBLE. I love your work, but how in the world can you select Bill Belichick as your coach of the year candidate through the first quarter of the season? The Patriots are ALWAYS good because they have Tom Brady. The Chiefs were 2-14 last year and had the first overall pick in the draft. Then Andy Reid comes in and now they’re UNDEFEATED (sorry about the all caps, but I’m excited). I don’t care how much talent Reid inherited or how Belichick has performed. In my mind it is no contest. Andy Reid is without question, hands down, the coach of the year through the first four games of the season.
—Ted Chartier, Kansas City
If you don’t give Belichick credit in a year like this—when the Patriots are 4-0 for the first time in six years, when they’ve played the first month without their top five receivers from 2012, when they just beat a desperate Atlanta team on the road—when exactly would you give him credit? There are quite a few coaches who deserve applause after four games, and I could make a case for all of them. How can you possibly say anything bad about the job Andy Reid has done? It’s fantastic. I just think the Patriots have done an extraordinary job of going 4-0 with the guys they’ve had to play with. I actually was thinking about giving it to Rex Ryan until the Jets lost so decisively Sunday.
IT’S NOT THE HALL OF VERY GOOD. How can you mention Tony Dungy and the fact that he could be the first black coach in the Hall of Fame yet continue to ignore Tom Flores, the first Hispanic coach and two-time Super Bowl winner? It’s amazing the lack of respect Flores gets from the sports media.
—Taft Petersen, Chico, Calif.
I respect Flores as a coach and as a person, but I’ve never supported his candidacy for the Hall of Fame. I don’t believe that because a coach wins two Super Bowls or if a quarterback wins two Super Bowls, he should automatically be considered a Hall of Famer. Flores’ body of work is not that of a Hall of Famer, in my opinion. He took over a good Oakland team and did a good job coaching it, and won two Super Bowls. He went on to coach Seattle for three years to a record of 14-34. Six of his 12 seasons as coach, he was over .500. That’s a nice career. That’s not a Hall of Fame career.
HEADY QUERY. Peter, I wrote you last year about prominent players still being allowed to wear old model helmets. Brady switched for one game and was back to his old helmet. Brees still wears an old model helmet. As do Adrian Peterson and many others. What kind of message does it send about the NFL’s concern for concussion safety? They make these guys wear meaningless thigh and knee pads now, but marquee players are still wearing outdated equipment on their heads? It just doesn’t make sense. Talk to me Peter!
This is a good question. It’s something, actually, that The MMQB is looking into right now. I’ll tell you what I’ve been told about this. The shell of most of the helmets that you see has not changed materially over the past few years. It’s what is inside the helmet that has changed. So then the questions has to be: How are these older helmets reconditioned? Are they reconditioned to the point that they are equal to the helmets with the most modern technology? Those are some of the questions that we are asking right now. I’ll let you know when our story on this appears, and I look forward to your feedback.
A GOOD QUESTION FROM ART. What do you think Mike McCoy’s role has been in the great performance thus far of Phillip Rivers? His “resurrection” has been nothing short of amazing.
—Arthur S. Leider, San Diego
Great question. In talking to McCoy this summer, the one thing he emphasized to me about Rivers is that he always wanted him to have more than one good alternative when he dropped back to pass. He never wanted Rivers to feel like he had to force the ball to someone because no one else was open. And watching Rivers play this year, he doesn’t seem to be forcing the ball the way that he has in the past.
TACKLE TIEBREAKER. If there is a logjam at WR for HOF consideration, then why don’t you start looking beyond receptions and touchdowns. Is there really a difference between 1,000 receptions or 1,100 receptions? It’s apples to apples. Don’t forget the intangibles Hines Ward brought to the field—when he’s up for consideration.
—Scott Dean, Clyde Park, Mont.
You couldn’t be more correct. I believe that a player like Hines Ward, who was one of the best blocking receivers of all time (and, full disclosure, is now one of my NBC colleagues), should certainly get credit for that as well as his 1,000 receptions. You can be sure that if I’m still on the Hall of Fame Committee when his name comes up, I certainly will be voicing my opinion.