The People's Voice has a one-track mind

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! SportsSeptember 15, 2004

It is football season, and The People's Voice is, appropriately, all about football – from the NFL to NCAA to high school to the movies. God bless this game.

As always, my responses are in italics. A reminder, due to the immense amount of feedback I get, I don't respond to individual emails. I'm sorry. I do read them and appreciate every last one of them though.

Now, without further ado, on to The People's Voice. …

NOTRE DAME ("In search of a silver lining" September 10, 2004)

Just another I-cannot-believe-how-bad-you-put-your-foot-in-your-mouth email about the so-called demise of Notre Dame football. The reason they are NOTRE DAME is because they have had so many moments, games, seasons like this where it seemed like their best days were behind them and out of nowhere they turned things around.

I am sure you will write another article about another amazing game in the long history of Notre Dame football. Shame on you for doubting.

Alex Pazdan
Savannah, Ga.

No matter odds great or small – I never said they were going to lose. But you can't tell me they haven't been struggling the last 20 games.

Forget what anyone says to you about Notre Dame's win over Michigan, unless they wrote it before the game. They didn't know either.

Devyn Duffy
Columbus, Ohio

Thanks for not getting into the race thing with ND. Half the articles I read keep harping on how criticizing Willingham is racist. Hey, if a guy is incompetent, I say fire his butt. Doesn't matter if he is black or white.

Phil Castro

From my dealings with Willingham, I believe he would agree with you. Race was a factor in this story early on simply because there are so few African-American coaches and this is one of the premier jobs. After two-plus seasons, I don't think it an angle now.

I'm a fan of your writing, loved the pieces you did on Jake Delhomme last year and your blistering piece arguing that the Iranian team should be thrown out of the Olympics on their collective butts. Amen! So when you start getting letters pointing out that Michigan and Yale are, in fact, the two all-time winningest programs instead of Michigan and Notre Dame, just tell 'em you meant to say Division I-A.

David Sims
Antalya, Turkey

You are correct. I meant Division I-A. Although even that raised eyebrows…

C'mon Dan, you're giving far too much hype to the Michigan/Notre Dame rivalry. And to claim that they are the two winningest programs in college history – I think you need to check your stats. I'm sure that you will find Nebraska and Oklahoma ahead of them both.

While I do agree that it is a great rivalry, I think there are other rivalries out there that are far better, like Florida State/Miami, Texas/Oklahoma and Nebraska/Oklahoma.

Paul Hrnicek
Lincoln, Neb.

I never said it was the best rivalry (it isn't even in the top 10), but in terms of Division I-A total wins and all-time winning percentage, Notre Dame and Michigan rank 1-2. That's what I call the two winningest teams ever.

Dan, never bet against the Irish at home, silly wabbit. Bet you didn't know Lloyd is now 0-5 in road openers AND that the last three Irish wins against top-10 opponents all have come against Michigan. True it is that they will still probably struggle to go 7-4 but against any other team's schedule in the nation – Miami, FSU, SoCal, Tennessee – they would be 8-3 or 9-2.

Mike Peel
Raleigh, N.C.

I'm glad Tyrone Willingham and Notre Dame were able to prove they can still play and beat the big boys like Michigan. There are many high-profile teams through the years that have played BYU and have been humbled. Though BYU usually loses to the high-ranked opponents, they have shown through the years the ability to beat quality teams. NFL teams get a few games to work out the wrinkles. You should give Notre Dame a couple of games to fine-tune its offense.

Don't you think you were a bit early in the season to jump on the Notre-Dame-is-awful bandwagon? I hope you can offer the great coach at Notre Dame an apology.

Charl Louw
Cedar Hills, Utah

I am most interested to see where both Notre Dame and Michigan go from here. I am not sure either of them are on their way to big seasons. ND must build off this. Michigan has to find a running game.

COLTS-PATRIOTS ("Opening with a bang" September 9, 2004)

After reading your article and watching the game I have to agree: The Patriots are starting to get into our heads. There is something about Foxboro that makes Peyton Manning do stupid things. Still, I like our chances. We're due so January will be different.

J.P. Norris
Carmel, Ind.

It is not the Indianapolis mistakes that beat them but the Patriots' great plays. Give Willie McGinest credit for that sack. New England forces those mistakes.

Henry North
Milton, Mass.

YEAR OF THE BULL ("Football Dreams" September 7, 2004)

"Rocky" as the seminal boxing movie? "Requiem for a Heavyweight"? "Raging Bull"? "Rocky" was great pablum, but it was hardly the first meaningful or even popular boxing flick.

Mark Novak
Westerville, Ohio

Boxing has a number of great films, the two you mention included. But don't underestimate the original "Rocky." It did win an Academy Award. The rest of the series earned Sly Stallone a lot of fancy cars but ruined the memory of a terrific original flick.

One of the greatest sports films of all time; an inspirational, moving, powerful movie about football: "Remember the Titans." How is this movie not as good as "Rocky"? Have you really forgotten the Titans?

Xing Li
Boise, Idaho

I remember them and so did a bunch of other readers who share your devotion to the movie. It just didn't do it for me. Good, but not great, too undisciplined and all over the place. But hey, that's just me.

How can you dismiss "Remember the Titans"? This movie convinced everyone that blonde, lefty QBs (see: Chris Simms) can be winners! "Hoop Dreams" was the best ever and if this football effort is 1/2 of "Hoop Dreams," it'll be great! Enjoy your work; keep it coming!

Don Sullivan

I figured that by now Texans would have stopped hammering Chris Simms. I thought wrong.

In regards to your article that there are no real football movies, what about "Brian's Song"? It really was one of the first true sports movies that made even the toughest men tear up.

Ron Myeers
Richland, Wash.

Don't forget "North Dallas Forty" – the best football movie made.

Pat Mulvihill
Los Angeles

Thanks for the recent column about the upcoming football documentary "Year of the Bull" – few things are more exciting or more addicting than high school football.

However, I think you were remiss to omit two very fine and very recent documentaries focusing on seasons with a high school football team: "Go Tigers!" and "The Last Game." Anyone who loves football at any level would certainly enjoy these documentaries as well.

Sam Gruenberg
Grand Forks, N.D.

QUENTIN GRIFFIN ("The Broncos' new workhorse" September 13, 2004)

Great article. I had to look him up on the Denver roster to find out who he was. My impression, too: another Barry Sanders. Evidently has Sanders' personality, too.

Phil Bouffard
Mentor, Ohio

No surprise about "Q" and his results nor about his being overlooked and underestimated. The Longhorns overlooked him for three years, like to the tune of six touchdowns in one game. We in Oklahoma loved Quentin when he was at OU and we will continue to follow and admire him throughout his career in the NFL. Go Q and lots of luck.

Lloyd Kirk Lowery
Muskogee, Okla.

I'm not your best football analyst at all, but I am pretty observant. So why is it that Kansas City could not pick up on something everyone else in the world could see? Whenever the Denver running back was going to be handed the ball he put in his mouthpiece. Whenever he wasn't going to get the ball he didn't. Catching this pattern could have cut his yards in half.

L. Thompson
Kansas City, Mo.

Did anyone else notice this?

Quentin Griffin – I knew he would be the next Bronco starter after seeing him hand it to Indy at the end of the regular season last year. Not sure what his stats are, but as an Indy fan I learned his name real fast.

Jeremy Menning
Providence, R.I.

Griffin had 136 yards on 28 carries in that game. A sign of things to come.

Starting with Terrell Davis, Denver has been able to turn one fifth-round pick after another into very good tailbacks. What is it about their drafting or system that allows them to have this pipeline of outstanding running backs?

Jeff Johnson
Los Alamos, N.M.

What a wasted article Dan, it's all system, system, system! At the end of this year if he asks for money just trade him away and plug in the next sixth-round pick. –

Steven Schmidt
Washington, D.C.

Denver has a great running philosophy, but I think this kid is a little better than that.