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January 14, 2008

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Carrie

If you by chance are talking to a woman from Wisconsin, I guarantee she will also have an opinion on the Patriots. Mine is that they'd better not win the Super Bowl in the same year they get caught cheating.

And the Chargers, who knows? The Patriots have looked beatable towards the end of the season, and hey, no one in their right minds saw the Packers doing this well back in August, no matter what they say. Though it would certainly be fun to be the team that kills the Pats dead. A girl can dream, can't she?

Carlos

Um. "#1 is John Elway, and probably always will be." The foreign reader will _certainly_ make his American acquaintance's eyes go wide with that.

Elway has been a candidate for the top spot, but the case was much stronger closer to his active career. It's certainly not the dominant opinion, and never has been. Even at the peak of his reputation, Dan Marino, Steve Young, and even the young Brett Favre were considered his rough equals, and I think most people would have put Joe Montana ahead.

The only major positive stat that Elway still holds is fourth-quarter comebacks. (He has the record for sacks, and likely always will.) Elway was known for it, in large part because it took him a quarter or two to get warmed up. He has 47. (the runner up, Favre, has 40.) He's still the oldest QB to throw a touchdown in the Superbowl, and that won't change this year.

Martin Wisse

Patriots cheating? Phaugh.

Their only offence was using some of that newfangled video technology to capture the ubersekrit signals the other team's coach was using and they got caught immediately. Nobody but disgruntled fans of lesser teams or Greg Easterbrook is seriously thinking that's what their succes is based upon, do they?

Oh, and it may be 21/2 years to the next worldcup, but the Euro 2008 proper football championships are coming up as well. Don't mention it to any English friend though, as their team of overpaid, underworked millionaire crybabies failed to qualify (unlike the Dutch team of underworked, overpaid crybaby millionaires)...

Noel Maurer

A NE-GB match-up will make my head explode, Carlos. You know why.

Christ, this was a weekend. I'm not sure that I've ever watched /all four games/ before. And enjoyed them.

Carrie

Martin,
They did it before, against Green Bay as a matter of fact, and they were warned not to do it again. Is it the reason they are undefeated now? Probably not, but that's not really the point.

Me, I'd love an excuse to dig out my SB XXXI jersey again. I didn't catch the Giants/Cowboys game, but from what I understand they are a better team than the one GB pantsed early in the season. Hopefully not too different.

Carlos

Poaching signals in football is much closer to installing a mirror behind a poker player than it is to reading signals in baseball. The playbooks are huge, and few teams have much improvisational depth.

To use a geek metaphor, it's like having a tough opponent in Civilization -- the computer's AI might suck, but it knows where every last piece of yours is.

But Easterbrook is a moron if he thinks it has much to do with the Patriots' success. Actually, I could probably truncate that to "Easterbrook is a moron" without loss of accuracy.

(And the Patsies were caught cheating against the _Jets_. Why even bother? unless they have a broken institutional culture.)

Doug (not Muir)

Montana, Staubach, Bradshaw, Namath ... top spot is a long and debatable list.

Also, yes on the Easterbrook truncation.

Carlos

It gets harder to compare the further back you go. The sabermetricians have the same problem in baseball.

Jimmy Breslin, in his biography of Damon Runyon, has a line about Notre Dame's famous Four Horsemen of 1924, or, as he puts it, "hyperbole about college midgets". I wouldn't go that far, but they're my size. I have the edge on shoulders.

And while there's still room in the NFL for that body type -- Desmond Howard comes to mind -- they'd be in the weight room from high school on. Strength, endurance, speed. Trainers will mess with a player's weight and muscle mass until they find the optimum for their role that season.

Then there are wholesale changes in offensive styles. We're well into the West Coast era, even though few teams use the classic form. But how do you compare Johnny Unitas to that?

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