If Condoleezza Rice ever decides to make good on her aspirations to be NFL commissioner, she might want to serve her term wearing a helmet.
After mentioning Rice's attraction to the commissioner's job, the mailbag was hit with a backlash rarely seen in the month of March. Readers were aghast that she was even mentioned in the wake of Paul Tagliabue's retirement announcement. And while it was noted that Rice wasn't considered a real candidate for Tagliabue's seat, that didn't stop fans from lobbing hand grenades into the mailbag.
While better judgment says I'm using a sledgehammer on a can of worms, I can't ignore the readers. So this week's mailbag fury has been boiled down to two submissions which basically sum up all the rest: Fans would rather see Jerry Rice succeed George W. Bush in the White House before Condi followed Tagliabue in the NFL.
But the week's emails weren't all about political bashing. There were plenty of other insults to go around, too – whether it was the draft, Terrell Owens or the collective IQ of the state of Tennessee.
Of course, one good volley deserves another. As usual, be sure to include your full name, city and state, so we know who you are. Any thoughts I have will be in italics.
To the mail …
NEW COMMISSIONER ("The Chosen One?," March 20, 2006)
What a poorly written and thought-out article. Throwing Condi in your article made it nothing more than a joke. You should be paying them, and paying me to read it.
Aliso Viejo, Calif.
Looks to me like you didn't read it at all. Or maybe you just couldn't comprehend the sentence, "She likely won't be a candidate because of her lack of experience or familiarity with league affairs …"
Condoleezza Rice for NFL commissioner? What possibly could anyone be smoking? I can just see the headlines, "NFL invades (your country of choice)! Steroids of Mass Destruction cited as reason." Charles, you got to be kidding. That person is a war criminal.
Cue the conservative response.
Charles, would it kill you to do a little research on Roger Goodell? How many NFL departments did he axe in recent years? How many NFL staffers were laid off during his cutting spree a few years ago? This is a guy who laid off NFL workers with as much glee as the Philadelphia Eagles had releasing Terrell Owens. Could you at least look around and ask some people what they might think of Goodell? Odds are he is not going to get the job.
New York, N.Y.
Goodell never laid off anyone with "glee." And it's the owners who vote in the next commissioner – not league staffers.
NFL DRAFT ("Free agency fallout," March 15, 2006)
Why is everyone hell-bent on the New Orleans Saints taking Mario Williams? Being a life-long fan, I know they haven't had a good linebacking corps in at least 10 years. With Charles Grant and Will Smith playing so well, I would rather have them trade down a few slots and take A.J. Hawk.
More likely than not, the Saints will trade out of the pick and take someone like Ohio State's Hawk. That seems to be the most logical move. Then again, have the Saints always made the logical move in the draft?
Why wouldn't the Saints grab the very best offensive lineman in the draft, when their current line can't protect anybody? New Orleans' No. 1 weakness is its offensive line.
Are you drinking on the job again? You actually think Jay Cutler is going to last past the fourth pick? Do you actually think the New York Jets (who I hate and would love to see screw up this pick by taking Vince Young) are going to take Young?
For all the fans who seem to froth at the mouth after every mock draft, take a deeeeeeeeeep breath. Now repeat after me: "THE DRAFT IS MORE THAN A MONTH AWAY." The picks are fluid. Until all of the personal workouts have taken place, draft boards in war rooms continue to fluctuate. And yes, that includes all of the quarterbacks.
You have successfully proven just how little NFL knowledge you have and exactly why you are completely unqualified to publish a mock draft. Your mock draft still has Philadelphia selecting Santonio Moss, and this is now the third time I am writing you to explain just how far off base you are.
And this is the third time I am sitting here wondering who the hell Santonio Moss is.
I am really gonna laugh my ass off when the Houston Texans make a fool of you and trade down with the first pick. We ain't gonna take your favorite Reggie Bush.
I'm guessing Ron's computer must have exploded before he could read the sentence listed after Bush's name. The one that said, "A trade is still possible …"
VINCE YOUNG ("No harm done," March 22, 2006)
I don't think Vince Young is going to climb into the top 10 of the draft. No team wants to waste a top-10 pick on a two- to three-year project (which Young is). Besides, the "athlete quarterback" is overblown anyway. For every Michael Vick (who, while good for the highlight reels, stays mired in mediocrity as far as passing goes) there is a Kordell Stewart, or worse, an Eric Crouch waiting to happen.
Little Rock, Ark.
Considering the amount of time it takes them to blossom, almost every quarterback taken in the draft is a two- to three-year project.
I will tell you why the Tennessee Titans will draft Vince Young. Young is not ready to start, which is fine for the Titans. They want Steve McNair to start, which is why they will not draft Matt Leinart, who is ready to start. Also, Vince Young has a very low IQ, just like the state of Tennessee.
Cue the entire state of Tennessee.
Now that the Jets have traded for Patrick Ramsey, do you think they will still draft Young and use him as a trading chip, or look to solidify other glaring holes on their team?
Don't assume that because the Jets traded for Ramsey, it means they won't strongly consider taking a quarterback in the first round. Chad Pennington is still suspect with his injury problems, and they only gave up a sixth-round draft pick for Ramsey. The Jets have lost virtually nothing if they decide – after the personal workouts – that one of the quarterback prospects is a better gamble than Ramsey and Pennington.
Please stop working for Yahoo! Sports. In all seriousness, just stop. Your comment regarding coaches getting fired because of attendance is way off. It's all about performance. Fans go to watch winners, not a coach. To say that attendance is the greatest factor in firing a head coach is just plain wrong.
Let me expand on that comment, and maybe it will be a little more clear. When coaches go through losing seasons, they often receive the benefit of the doubt from ownership – until it starts to impact attendance. When fans become disenchanted with losing seasons, and they stop buying tickets, owners quickly lose their patience to wait for a coach to turn a team around. Look at the numbers. Most coaches who go through multiple losing seasons end up being fired when fan attendance has dropped to new lows during their tenure. In most NFL cities (I stress the word "most"), the tolerance of ownership is an extension of the gate receipts.
For those whining about the price of attending a game, I say "stay home!" Even if it costs $600 for a family of four to go to a game, the demand is such that you can still turn a profit reselling those tickets. There are only so many seats in a stadium and only eight regular-season home games a year. Supply and demand dictate the value of an NFL ticket just as much, if not more so, than a player's salary or the owner's greed.
Your readers, and sports fans in general, are complete morons. Grown men crying that other people are getting rich off fans and that they can't afford to attend games. What a bunch of crybabies and losers. Said one fan: "My salary isn't going to increase because ticket prices went up." Get a life, I say. Or better yet, go out and get an education. You reap what you sow. Hard work and education will always get you ahead in this country. That's why America is great.
San Diego, Calif.
Cue the Star-Spangled Banner.
Do you really think if the salary cap was less in the NFL, it would mean cheaper prices for everything else? The general public is clueless about the NFL and sports. It's all about corporate dollars now. Corporate boxes, corporate suites, etc. That's why in every sport they scream for new stadiums. I lived in Kansas City for years, and there isn't anything wrong with Kauffman Stadium except there aren't enough corporate boxes.
Eagle Pass, Texas
About higher ticket prices – who the hell cares? Of the some 60,000 seats at a football game, perhaps 10,000 at best are reasonably enticing. And even those are no match for a 60-inch TV screen, beer and pizza at hand, and a sound system that the watcher can actually hear. They can charge $15, $50 or $300 and it means little. Unless your first name is I, your middle name is B and your last name is M and you get to experience the game from the sanctity of a well-stocked luxury box, it really doesn't matter how much they raise the prices.
What happens when you boycott professional sports? Well, I boycotted Major League Baseball after their work stoppage and the NHL after theirs. Tickets didn't get cheaper, but I started running, lost 10 pounds and read a lot of good books. Try it yourself and see what happens to you. The NFL is the only pro sport I watch and I'm thinking about bailing on them, too.
Before we heap tons of praise on the NFL and continue to slam Major League Baseball, please remember this: For the cost of one ticket to an average NFL game (just entry with no food, drink, etc.), I can take myself and five of my closest friends to a major league ball game and buy each a hot dog and a beer. You tell me which game is more fan-friendly.
Am I in the minority of Miami fans that think the Dolphins will regret trading for Daunte Culpepper? No matter how well his rehabilitation goes, he will never be the same quarterback that he was before the knee injury.
2. No word on Marcus Vick. What team if any will take the wild child?
3. Do you think Terrell Owens has learned his lesson? I frankly think he has not.
4. Which team are you taking to go all the way next season? I want New England, but I think this is the year of the Kansas City Chiefs.
5. Finally, do you miss the Chicago Bears fans harassing you?
1. McGinest was let go because the Patriots have never valued sentimentality over salary-cap responsibility. For fans and players, it's an approach that cuts both ways.
2. Marcus Vick has interviewed with the Bears, Green Bay Packers and Eagles. But I have yet to hear of any team that is seriously thinking of drafting him.
3. Terrell Owens has had the same issues in both San Francisco and Philadelphia. Will things be different in Dallas? I'll believe it when I see it.
4. Ask me this question again in May.
5. I live in Chicago. Bears fans never stop harassing me.
I can't believe Jerry Jones accepted T.O. after he disrespected the Cowboys the way he did. I think Jones should make T.O. kiss that star on the 50-yard-line every game, then you would see how bad he wants to be a Cowboy.
Thanks Jerry Jones. I hated Tom Landry's CRYBOYS of the 1970s and I hated the COWGIRLS of the 1980s. Now that you have taken T.O. into the fold, I have a reason to hate Dallas for the new millennium.
Kansas City, Mo.