The mail has been piling up. Here's only a small sample of the questions that have made me think the most.
Keep all the good questions coming, and I'll answer another batch soon.
If you were a rookie coming into the pro game and wanted to play for one current head coach and his staff, who would you pick and why? – Jeff Goldstein
Probably Bill Parcells. He's one of the best coaches as far as grooming young players in the X's and O's and also in the game of life. He teaches more than just football. A lot of his coaches are players who have played for him, and that says a lot.
And if you play for Parcells, you know you're going to win.
Cris, I truly believe you to be the best wide receiver ever to play the game. I was wondering if you had an opinion about the wide receivers today, namely: the most talented, most underrated, most under-used, best hands, best go-to guy, and the toughest receivers in the game? – Josh
Thanks for the kind words and a great question. I had a hard time, especially with the most under-used and best go-to guy.
When do you think black coaches will be given a decent shot at winning a championship instead of trying to bring teams out of the gutter? I'm sure there will be good teams needing good coaches next year; isn't it about time? – Harry Washington
Some very successful black coaches indeed have had chances to win a championship. Dennis Green had more than a fair shot – home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, a 10-point lead with seven minutes to go in the NFC title game. Failure to win that game wasn't a black-white thing; it was just a lack of execution.
Tony Dungy built a winner in Tampa Bay that nearly made the Super Bowl in 1999. If Ricky Proehl doesn't make that catch, the Buccaneers could have been champs earlier than 2002.
Dungy, in particular, shows that African Americans should accept whatever jobs they can get. Jobs that seem hopeless often aren't with the right man in charge. The Buccaneers had suffered 14 straight losing seasons before Dungy arrived, and he turned them into consistent winners.
Black coaches can't be too picky. A great percentage of owners never will hire a black coach. And with free agency, it's possible to turn a bad situation into a winning one fairly quickly.
I have read comments from NFL players stating that we as fans should not boo because all they are trying to do is feed their families. How hard is it to feed a family on $2 million per year? "Oh sorry, honey; no filet mignon tonight, only rib eye steak." How do you feel about these comments? Thanks for taking time out to answer. – Aaron Beatty
Fans have a right to boo. If I take my family to the movies and shell out the money for the tickets and the popcorn and everything else, and the movie stinks, I should be able to express my displeasure in a civil way. Football is entertainment; it's no different.
Athletes should understand that. Ticket prices are outrageous; it's hard for a lot of people to go to these games, and they have high expectations. Players shouldn't take booing personally. I thought it was my job to entertain people so that when they did come, they would have something to cheer about.
It's pretty immature for a player to mention how he's trying to feed his family and thus shouldn't be booed. That's not the way to address fans.
C'mon, all you did this week was pick all the favorites. How tough is that? – L.W. Hall
I don't look at the line before I pick the games. If I pick all the teams that happen to be favored, it's only because those are the teams I truly believe will win.
These days, a few upsets happen every week. If an analyst tries to pick upsets for the sake of picking upsets and picks the wrong ones, then he's missed twice as many picks.
If I think an upset will happen, I'll pick it. Of course, it's often not clear which team has to win for a game to be considered an upset.
Why does everyone still think Miami has the best talent in the league? So many of their players are overrated, Jason Taylor especially. Being on a D-Line means both tackles and sacks are needed, not one or the other. – Phil Morgan
Well, I had been on some very good teams with great players in Philadelphia and Minnesota, but last year's Dolphins had the most talent of any team that included me.
Jason Taylor ranks up there with the great defensive linemen – Chris Doleman, John Randle, Reggie White – who I've played with. Taylor isn't overrated by any stretch of the imagination.