NFL Combine – Wide Receivers

As the NFL heads towards its annual Combine next week, the invitation list helps narrow the field on the top prospects in the country, both seniors and underclassmen. Over the next week we’ll preview and review each position.

The group of 46 wide receivers that will be at the NFL Combine is one of the most diverse positions that can be found in this year’s class of draft eligible players. There are stars like Alabama’s Julio Jones (above left) and A.J. Green of Georgia (above right) and unknowns like Kealoha Pilares and Ricardo Lockette. They range in height from 6-5 to 5-6½. They are from big-time programs like Auburn, Georgia, and Alabama, and Division III schools like Mt. Union and the NAIA like Walsh University.

The group has 11 underclassmen including Jones, Green and Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Baldwin – all three are considered first-round prospects. It appears there is something for everyone among this group, no matter where a team might be looking to draft a receiver. …Read More!

NFL Combine – Linebackers

As the NFL heads towards its annual Combine later this month, the invitation list helps narrow the field on the top prospects in the country, both seniors and underclassmen. Over the next week we’ll preview and review each position.

The linebacker group that will head to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis is a talented bunch. There are a host of players who are tweeners, who are listed by some teams as defensive ends and some teams as outside linebackers. In this list we have put the players at the positions that the Combine lists them on the official roster. If you are looking for a player who has been an outside backer and he’s not here, he’s probably in with the defensive ends.

The top outside linebacker is Texas A&M’s Von Miller (above left). One of the top inside guys is Greg Jones of Michigan State (above right), who was very productive over his four seasons with the Spartans.

As a position of need for the Chiefs, we’ll have more on all the linebackers coming at the NFL Combine. They’ll be one of the last position groups to work for the league personnel at Lucas Oil Stadium. …Read More!

Cleaning Up The Hall … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

It was a weekend where I unplugged a bit after a constant barrage of football since July.

I fired up the site Sunday night and see that my post on the Hall of Fame has drawn plenty of reaction. Even my mother warned me that I got people all stirred up. That’s never my intent, but if so, that’s OK. I’ll address some of that at the end of this post

First, I want to bring you what I promised in that Hall of Fame post and that was my ideas on how the process can be improved. Understand right off the top that selecting entries to any type of Hall of Fame is a process fraught with peril and is never an easy thing. In every sport, a place in the Hall with the greatest of that game is the ultimate accomplishment.

The different major sports in this country all do it in different ways. The Baseball Hall of Fame voting is done by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who have been part of the organization or 10 years or more. This latest class had 581 ballots cast by mail. Each voter could vote for as many as 10 or as few as none. To make the Hall, the player had to be named on 75 percent of the individual ballots.

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame voting is something of a mystery, done by screening committees that are not publicly named. The Hockey Hall of Fame has an 18-person committee made up of Hall of Fame members, hockey personnel and media. They are appointed to three-year terms.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has 44 voting members. There’s one for each city where there is an NFL team (New York has two). That’s 32. There is a representative of the Pro Football Writers Association each year. That’s 33. And the final 11 are at-large selections. All voters are selected by the Hall from the ranks of the media who have covered the game for a number of years. There are representatives from newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the internet.

Here are my thoughts on three areas of the Hall that would improve what I think already is the best way to select a Hall of Fame among the four major sports: …Read More!

NFL Combine – Running Backs/Fullbacks

As the NFL heads towards its annual Combine later this month, the invitation list helps narrow the field on the top prospects in the country, both seniors and underclassmen. Over the next week we’ll preview and review each position.

The running back class that will be available to the NFL in the April Draft is not stacked with a host of top flight runners. Only two or three are considered “for sure” first-round prospects, led by Oklahoma’s DeMarco Murray (above left).

The group of backs that will be at the NFL Combine includes a host of small backs – those weighing less than 200 pounds. That group is topped by Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter (above right), who is 5-7¼, 199 pounds.

Of the 40 halfbacks and fullbacks, only one comes from outside major college schools. That’s Taiwan Jones out of Division 1-AA champion Eastern Washington. …Read More!

Chiefs Special Teams Finish Poor

Over the years, NFL special teams coaches have come to wait each February the release of Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings.

The pro football writer for the Dallas Morning News, Gosselin’s overall ratings on the kicking game have become the standard by which teams judge their special or not so special teams. The rankings are based on 22 statistical categories from the 2010 season. Teams gather points based on where they finished among the 32 teams. For instance, Atlanta was the best kickoff return team in the league with a 26.5-yard average. Thus they get one point in the rankings. The lowest total qualifies as the best kicking game in the league.

And in 2010, that would have been New England, as the Patriots posted 269 points or five less than the Tennessee Titans (274) and eight less than the Cleveland Browns (277).

The Chiefs finished at No. 24 in the rankings with 407.5 points. Other than being one of 24 teams that did not miss a PAT kick during the season, the Chiefs did not finish first in any of the other 21 categories. …Read More!

NFL Combine – Safeties

As the NFL heads towards its annual Combine later this month, the invitation list helps narrow the field on the top prospects in the country, both seniors and underclassmen. Over the next 10 days we’ll preview and review each position.

This is not a big year for safeties in the NFL Draft. As the players get ready to head for Indianapolis and the NFL Combine, there will be 19 safeties among the players who will go through the four days of work for the league clubs.

As the 2010 college season ended, there was not a college safety considered a first-round prospect, and if so it would be at the bottom of the round. There appears to be no Eric Berry in this group; the Chiefs selected Berry with the fifth pick of last year’s NFL Draft. Among the top names in the safety group is Oklahoma’s Quinton Carter (above right). He’s joined by another Big 12 Conference safety David Sims of Iowa State.

The ACC has the biggest representation of safeties in the Combine with four, led by Clemson’s DeAndre McDaniel (above left). The Pac-10 has three, including California’s Chris Conte. …Read More!

Cassel Sees His Number Retired

With the Patriots, Matt Cassel wore No.16. With the Chiefs he wears No. 7. At Southern Cal, he wore … nobody remembers what he wore since he never played. Actually, he wore No. 10.

That’s the same number he wore at Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Cassel was back on campus Friday where his No. 10 jersey was retired by the school.

Here’s a short story on the event, plus a good video that all Chiefs and Cassel fans will enjoy. He remains a man you can root for.

Here’s the link.

Hall of Fame Dunce … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

I really hate to do this, but I feel there’s no choice in this matter. When you are dealing with an ignorant bully, there are only so many times you can let it slide.

I’m talking about Jason Whitlock, Kansas City’s long-time sports media bully extraordinaire. Listen, if I blogged something about that blob every time he was factually incorrect or didn’t know what he was talking about, then I would never stop. With the shrinking of his audience and no outlet for his special brand of yellow journalism in Kansas City, Whitlock tends to flail about willy nilly these days, trying to pick journalistic fights so he can save a dead career.

He’s not Chicken Little, he’s Chicken Big and he laid an egg this week by going after the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors. If you like, you can go off to the only outlet he has these days and read the whole thing. I’m not going to link and make it easy.

But I will re-cap some of his comments: he says the process of selecting inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is corrupt. He uses as evidence the failure of OT Willie Roaf to get a first ballot election. Whitlock says the committee knows nothing about football and does know about backroom dealing. Here are a few actual passages: …Read More!

NFL Combine – Quarterbacks

There will be 18 quarterbacks at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis starting on February 24. The biggest names in that group are unlikely to do much throwing or even working out during their scheduled practice day of Sunday, February 27.

The names at the top of the boards around the league are Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton of the national champion Auburn Tigers and former Missouri starter Blaine Gabbert.

The other best known names in the group are Washington’s Jake Locker, Ricky Stanzi out of Iowa and Alabama’s Greg McElroy. …Read More!


Busy days end up leaving me behind on answering some of your posts and questions. Trying to catch up, so here we go.

Responses to “Chiefs Without 2011 Contracts”

el cid says: What a list, makes you think. For a young team we have a lot of starters who can walk. Add the CBA and what do the Chiefs do? Cannot win for trying. Things that pop out to me: Carr, Hali, all DL free agents, how do you not re-sign them? If the veterans walk, no center left on roster (with experience) and no RT who played last year. Can a college FB start next year? If Thomas Jones is done, do you go into the season without Battle on roster? Does anyone want O’Connell at the second TE? This is a very hard time for Pioli/Haley/OCs to pick and chose. Would not like their job with this.

Bob says: It’s hard to know how tough the list of 25 players without contracts is going to be for the Chiefs to deal with since we do not yet know how they will all be classified. I would rank them in this order:

  • Must sign (3): OLB Tamba Hali, CB Brandon Carr, DE Wallace Gilberry.
  • Should sign (3): OT Barry Richardson, LB Cory Greenwood, RB Jackie Battle.
  • Wait and see (4): WR Terrance Copper, NT Ron Edwards, DL Shaun Smith, DB Maurice Leggett.
  • Wait and wait (7): FB Tim Castille, FB Mike Cox, TE Leonard Pope, C Rudy Niswanger, S Reshard Langford, TE Brad Cottam, WR Kevin Curtis.
  • Goodbye/Retirement (8): QB Brodie Croyle, OT Ryan O’Callaghan, C Casey Wiegmann, LB Charlie Anderson, LB Corey Mays, LB Mike Vrabel, CB Travis Daniels, S Jon McGraw.

The lack of true center presents a challenge, but last year’s draft choice Jon Asamoah can snap, so don’t discount that possibility. …Read More!

Charles, Berry Win Chiefs Highest Honors

The Chiefs announced on Thursday the winners of the franchise’s two highest honors for players.

RB Jamaal Charles was a repeat winner of the Derrick Thomas Award as the team’s MVP for the 2010 season. SS Eric Berry was the winner of the Mack Lee Hill Trophy as the team’s most inspirational rookie player.

Both honors came by vote of their teammates and come as no surprise based on their performances during the 2010 season when the Chiefs went 10-7 and won the AFC West title.

It’s just another trophy for Charles who was named first-team All-Pro and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl. He ran for 1,467 yards on 230 carries and five touchdowns during the regular season.

Charles became the fourth player in team history to win the MVP award in back to back seasons. The others were RB Priest Holmes (2001-02), QB Trent Green (2003-04) and RB Larry Johnson (2005-06).

First-round draft choice Berry earned Pro Bowl honors as an injury replacement after his first season of play, where he started 16 games and finished with 126 total tackles and four interceptions, which lead the K.C. defense.

As winner of the MLH Trophy, Berry joined an impressive group of winners over the last 45 years. Pro Football Hall of Famers K Jan Stenerud and LB Derrick Thomas were honored, as were potential Hall of Famers G Will Shields and TE Tony Gonzalez.

The players will receive their awards at the annual 101 Banquet on Saturday, March 5th.

It’s Franchise Day in the NFL …Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

Will Tamba Hali become the Chiefs newest member of the franchise player fraternity on Thursday?

That’s the day that NFL teams have a two-week window to use the franchise player designation on one of the veteran players who is about to become a free agent.

But whether or not the franchise tag comes out and gets applied to Hali is a far bigger question than just the negotiations between the outside linebacker and the team. It’s part of the labor battle between the NFL owners and players that threatens the 2011 season.

In a nutshell: the NFL has told teams that starting February 10 they can designate a franchise or transition player(s). The NFL Players Association says the teams cannot give the designation of franchise or transition player because the agreement between the parties is about to run out on March 3rd.

The issue between the owners and union is about interpretation of language in the soon to expire collective bargaining agreement that allows for application of the franchise tag “in any season during the term of this Agreement.”

The CBA is in place until March 3 so technically the Tag can be used now. However, once the Agreement expires, all bets are off subject to negotiation of a new agreement.

The union said in a statement given to agents last week that “The 2011 season is not a ‘season during the term of this Agreement’ so the NFL has no valid basis for claiming the right to franchise players in 2011.”   …Read More!

Chiefs “Tougher” Schedule in 2011

Much has been made of the tougher schedule the Chiefs face next year and how difficult it might be to duplicate the 10-6 record. All true. But that doesn’t mean winning the AFC West and getting into the playoffs is unrealistic.

All four teams in the AFC West play against the Patriots, Jets, Dolphins and Bills. All four AFC West teams play the Eagles, Giants, Cowboys and Redskins  Packers, Bears, Vikings and Lions. It’s not unreasonable to believe the Chiefs could come out of those eight games with as good or better a record as any other team in the West. That leaves the weighted games and division games.

The Chiefs face the Steelers and Colts, playoff teams who had a 22-10 mark last year. The Chargers, who finished in second, face the Ravens (a 12-4 playoff team) and Jaguars (8-8). The Raiders, who swept their AFC West games last year, play the Texans (6-10) and Browns (5-11). The Broncos get the Titans (6-10) and Bengals (4-12).

It is no more reasonable to think the Broncos, coming off a 4-12 season, will be any more successful in their weighted games than the Chiefs. Ditto for the Raiders, who will be breaking in yet another head coach, against their weighted opponents.

That leaves the division games. The Chiefs were 2-4 in the AFC West, the only division winner in the NFL with a losing record in their division.

So what the numbers say is . . . Chiefs fans should be far more concerned about the team beefing up its record against division opponents than worry about how much more difficult the 2011 schedule was than the 2010 version.

Mid-week Hodgepodge … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

What’s ahead for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Besides the 10 men held over from the 2011 finalist that did not get elected, there are going to be new additions to the list of eligible players.

How about the class of 2012 where three major coaching names will become eligible: Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Cowher and some guy named Bill Parcells. Also as part of that group will be former Chiefs guard Will Shields.

Here are some names for other classes down the road:

  • 2013 – becoming eligible will be DE Michael Strachan, QB Vinny Testaverde, OT Jonathan Ogden, DT Warren Sapp and K Morten Andersen.
  • 2014 – LB Derrick Brooks, S Rodney Harrison, and coaches Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden and Mike Holmgren.
  • 2015 – QB Kurt Warner, WR Marvin Harrison, OT Orlando Pace, LB Junior Seau, OT Walter Jones and WR Isaac Bruce. …Read More!

Arrowhead Turf Takes Hit

Last week the NFL Players Association released its 2010 NFL Players Playing Surfaces Opinion Survey. They polled 1,619 active NFL players from all 32 teams on their thoughts about the fields they play on.

The field at Arrowhead Stadium did not receive high marks. The players ranked it No. 13 among the 18 grass playing fields

That’s the same ranking it received in 2008 and in 2006 it ranked No. 14.

Opinion is different among Chiefs players, as 84.5 percent of the players ranked the Arrowhead field good to excellent.

The best grass playing field as far as the players are concerned is the field at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The worst grass field in the league was at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. …Read More!

The Green Bay Way … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

The Green Bay Packers had just won Super Bowl 45 and general manager Ted Thompson was cornered in the bowels of Cowboys Stadium. The media had him surrounded. That’s him above on the far right, touching the Lombardi Trophy.

As always in these situations, Thompson appeared very uncomfortable. The man who built the Packers team that was able to control the league championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers doesn’t enjoy the parry and thrust that goes with the media covering the team. To say that he prefers to stay in the shadows doesn’t begin to explain his trepidation in answering questions.

Thompson was up on the podium after the game, and was handed the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Fox-TV shoved a microphone in his face.   …Read More!

Chiefs Without 2011 Contracts

Over the Super Bowl weekend the NFL Players Associated released the names of all the NFL players who do not have contracts for the 2011 season.  That list included 25 members of the Chiefs. Their futures remain up in the air with the current unsettled labor situation.


  • Quarterback (1) – Brodie Croyle.
  • Running back (1) – Jackie Battle.
  • Fullback (2) – Tim Castille, Mike Cox.
  • Wide receiver (2) – Terrance Copper, Kevin Curtis.
  • Tight end (2) – Brad Cottam, Leonard Pope.
  • Offensive line (4) – C/G Rudy Niswanger, OT Ryan O’Callaghan, OT Barry Richardson, C Casey Wiegmann.


  • Defensive line (3) – Ron Edwards, Wallace Gilberry, Shaun Smith.
  • Linebackers (5) – Charlie Anderson, Cory Greenwood, Tamba Hali, Corey Mays, Mike Vrabel.
  • Cornerbacks (3) – Brandon Carr, Travis Daniels, Maurice Leggett.
  • Safety (2) – Reshard Langford, Jon McGraw.

Quoting From Super Bowl Post-Game

From Arlington, Texas

It was an exciting night and that always provides plenty to speak about, especially when the excitement comes within the confines of a Super Bowl.

Such is the case coming out of Cowboys Stadium Sunday night after the Green Bay Packers victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 45. Here are some of the best comments that we’ve been able to kull from millions of words.

PACKERS QB AARON RODGERS (left) on being named MVP: “It’s a special honor to be one of the leaders of this football team. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: no one person has ever won a game by themselves. This is a team effort and a great group of men and I’m just blessed to be one of the leaders on this team. Individually, it’s the top of the mountain in my sport my profession. It’s what you dream about as a kid and think about in high school, junior college, D-I: getting this opportunity and what would you do? I’m fortunate and blessed to play for a team that believes in us.”

STEELERS S RYAN CLARK on Pittsburgh defense: “We didn’t make many mental errors defensively. They just made some plays. You think about the third and 10 in the fourth quarter, another pass to Jennings down the middle. I think he did a good job of reading us and just going out and doing what he had to do. It wasn’t about mistakes, it wasn’t about rust. They played better than we did. I think both offenses moved the ball very effectively, especially Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers threw some passes tonight that I think other quarterbacks don’t make.”   …Read More!

Hall of Fame Vote In the Rearview

From Dallas, Texas

It was seven hours in a hotel meeting room where the temperature was too hot and the proceedings were continually interrupted by the hotel fire alarm.

This meeting of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors had its fits and starts and there was enough disagreement and debate that it helped push the thermostat up a few degrees higher than its already hot setting.

The job that was presented to the group of 42 men and two women was simple to describe, not so easy in follow through – discuss the qualities of 17 different football players and decide who were the best and deserved entrance to the hall. As many as seven nominees could be inducted, and at least four had to be elected.

And for seven hours-plus that’s what went down. I’ve been part of the board of selectors since the voting session for the Class of 1996 and the duty does not get any easier each year. Let me assure you that every person chosen to vote understands the importance of their duties.

When I first joined the group, there were several veteran voters who would arrive Saturday morning barely awake and dealing with a raging hangover from the Friday night party. That’s not the case anymore. The group arrives with their wits about them and their research done.

This year’s meeting went long for three reasons – Ed Sabol, Deion Sanders and in the modern game, what constitutes a Hall of Fame receiver. …Read More!

The Vince Returns To Green Bay

From Arlington, Texas

They don’t call it Titletown for nothing.

For the first time in 15 years, the Vince Lombardi Trophy that goes to the winner of the NFL Championship is going back to the Wisconsin Motherland. The Green Bay Packers won their fourth Super Bowl championship on Sunday, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Cowboys Stadium.

Super Bowl 45 featured a classic matchup of old school teams that were part of the very roots of the National Football League. It figured to be a memorable meeting and it was. Game MVP Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes, including two to WR Greg Jennings.

In a season where they dealt with major injuries on a weekly basis, the Packers had to deal with more on Sunday as they lost two of their veteran leaders – CB Charles Woodson and WR Donald Driver – to injuries that kept them out of the second half.

Pittsburgh did not go away. Led by QB Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers came back from 21 points down and made a game of it. It was an outcome in doubt until the end, when a fourth down pass by Roethlisberger was knocked down with 49 seconds to play.

It was truly a battle of the quarterbacks. Rodgers was voted the game’s MVP for his performance, going 24 of 39 for 304 yards, three TDs and no INTs. That’s a 111.5 passer rating. Seeking his third Super Bowl, Roethlisberger was 25 of 40 for 263 yards, two TDs, but two INTs. One of those picks was returned for a TD by S Nick Collins.

Riley County product WR Jordy Nelson (above) was a big part of the Packers offense, leading the team with nine catches for 140 yards and the first TD of the game, a 29-yard score.

A Super Game-Day Cup O’Super Bowl

From Dallas, Texas

It has been one of the best pre-Super Bowl weeks that I can remember in sometime. Forget the unusual weather in Dallas, and the city’s inept handling of the roads and removal of ice. From the time this championship matchup was set a fortnight ago, Super Bowl 45 has been about football.

The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers bring together one of the most storied title games of the last 50 years. This is what pro football is about, both its past and its present. The teams that take the field under the direction of the Packers’ Mike McCarthy and the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin are the most recent inductees to a special fraternity of green and gold and black and gold legends.

From Nitschke to Matthews, Bradshaw to Roethlisberger, this is a continuation of a legacy that built the game, creating the potential for one of the most fascinating of Super Bowls.

So much has been written and said of what should happen today, it’s time to put a close to the previews. The players and coaches will put it on the line later Sunday at the Cowboys Stadium. It’s time for the folks of to put it on the line. …Read More!

Deion, Sharpe, Faulk, Sabol in; Roaf Out

From Dallas Texas

It took more than seven hours for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors to finish their business on Saturday afternoon at the Dallas Sheraton Hotel.

When the work was done, the Hall of Fame had seven new members: Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Ed Sabol, Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe and senior inductees Chris Hanburger and Les Richter.

On the outside looking in this year was former Chiefs OT Willie Roaf. In his first year of eligibility, he survived the first round of voting to be part of the final 10 under consideration.

(We’ll have more tomorrow on what went down in the meeting room with the Hall of Fame committee, and the surprises and shocks of the process.)

The board of selectors (of which your humble scribe is a member) debated long and hard at several points in the morning and afternoon session. The lengthy discussions involved the three wide receivers who were eligible, Sabol and Sanders.

In the end, none of the three pass catchers – Tim Brown, Chris Carter or Andre Reed – were inducted. Sabol, the man who created NFL Films and creatively presented the game of football like it had never been done before, drew the most discussion time from the group of 44 voters, with the debate going 40 minutes. The 94-year old Sabol was inducted as a contributor, the first with that status since<.>

The discussion around Sanders was on his remarkable abilities as a cover cornerback and return skills against his unwillingness to support the run or initiate contact. In the end, Deion’s positives far outweighed his negatives.

The Hall of Fame does not release voting totals on any of the ballots. The senior candidates are voted on first, in a yes or no designation for each one. Then the 15 modern-era finalists are voted down to 10, and from their five. With the final five, to make the Hall the nominee must receive 80 percent of the vote.

In the vote from 15 to 10, eliminated from the group were Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Chris Doleman and Charles Haley.

In the vote from 10 to five, eliminated were Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin, Andre Reed and Roaf.

That left the final five – Dent, Faulk, Sabol, Sanders and Sharpe. All five received the necessary vote percentage to earn induction, along with Hanburger and Richter.

Here is the Class of 2011 that will be officially inducted in August in Canton, Ohio:

…Read More!

Yes On Sabol … Saturday Cup O’Super Bowl

From Dallas, Texas

Despite the fact that he never threw a pass, tackled the quarterback or scored a touchdown, I think Ed Sabol deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and I plan to vote for him Saturday morning.

There will be a great deal of discussion on Sabol and whether or not he’s worthy of Hall of Fame status for his skills involving the game of football. I guarantee it, because I’ve been holding those discussions with myself for the better part of the last month.

There is no question about Sabol’s skill and his impact on the game. With the help of his son Steve, the Sabol’s elevated the game to dramatic and comic heights never seen before around the game. He was a pioneer in developing equipment to capture the pictures on film and the sounds on tape. If you are under 60 years of age, there’s a very good chance that your memories of the NFL have come through the lens of NFL Films.

But is that worth of a spot in the Hall of Fame in Canton? As part of the 44-person Board of Selectors, we have a constant battle of dealing with worthy candidates and not enough spots for them to land in the hallowed Hall.

If Sabol goes in, that means a player will be left out. I can tell you that of the 14 modern era players on the ballot, all will one day be in the Hall of Fame. But the election of Sabol means one of those men will have to wait another year. …Read More!

Gotta Give Muir A Chance

I’m going to give Todd Haley the benefit of the doubt on his decision to promote line coach Bill Muir to Chiefs offensive coordinator. Hasn’t he earned that?

In my limited contact with Haley – no one on the outside gets real close to the coach – there is no doubt he has a vision for the Chiefs. It’s a winning vision. He has a vision for what his coaching staff should be. He has a vision for how he should operate as head coach.

Haley is a smart guy. He knows it doesn’t matter who calls the plays. It works both ways. The Packers’ Mike McCarthy and Tampa’s Jon Gruden reached the Super Bowl calling the plays. The Steelers’ Mike Tomlin and Patriots’ Bill Belichick have rings without play-calling roles.

Haley knows he was a better head coach in 2010 than he was in 2009. He had two experienced coordinators he could turn the A-B-Cs of game-planning while he monitored the big picture. Who’s to say that is going to change?   …Read More!

Commish: “It sounds like football – Packers, Steelers”

From Dallas, Texas

It has become one of the signature moments of every pre-Super Bowl Friday. A lot of folks call it the Commissioner’s state of the NFL speech, except that it’s really not so much a speech but a press conference as the Commish talks about what’s going on within the league.

On this Friday in a ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel is downtown Dallas the subject that brought the most questions and the most answers for Commissioner Roger Goodell was the labor situation and the potential for an owners’ lockout of the players on March 4 when the current collective bargaining agreement ends.

However, before he got rolling on that topic, Goodell wanted to pump up his championship game that really didn’t need to be pumped up any more than it already has been.

“It sounds like football – the Packers, the Steelers, it’s why the whole country is excited about this game,” Goodell said. “These are teams from small cities and their success now and in the past speaks to what make this game so special.” …Read More!

Your Vote For Hall of Fame 2011 Is Complete

From Dallas, Texas

Saturday morning the Board of Selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will hold its annual meeting to elect the class of 2011.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve gone through the voting process for the Hall of Fame and allowed you guys a chance to vote on the same names that the board will consider.

Under the procedure, the readers of think just two of the 15 finalists deserve induction. Those men are:

  • RB Marshall Faulk.
  • OT Willie Roaf.

Here’s a walk through the process. It started with 15 names, the modern-era finalists. On the first vote, slicing from 15 to 10, eliminated were: …Read More!

Redman’s Last Chance … Friday Cup O’Super Bowl

From Dallas, Texas

The look on his face was a combination of happy and sad, energy and pain, hope and surrender.

The happy, energy and hope was Dave Redding. The sadness, pain and surrender was Parkinson’s Disease, the opponent that “Redman” now fights every breathing movement.

“Gretzie, every day is a tough one,” Redding said, as he sat in the ballroom of the Green Bay Packers hotel in Las Colinas. “But I’m smiling right now.”

The smile came because of where this conversation took place and why. The Packers are in the Super Bowl and for the first time in his career as a NFL strength and conditioning coach, Redding has reached the ultimate game. Twenty-four pro seasons another six in the college game, thousands of hours in the weight room helping players sling around barbells and weights and now finally, he’s part of the one that counts.

“Every year with the Chiefs (1989-97) I thought we had a chance to get to this week,” Redding said. “It was always heartbreaking. It just takes a little bit of your heart every time you get a chance and it doesn’t happen.” …Read More!

The Most Veteran of Coaches

(Back in July I wrote a story on Chiefs offensive line coach Bill Muir. He is quite a character, a football lifer who has traveled many long roads to become one of the most tenured coaches in the NFL. Now that Muir has been named offensive coordinator for the 2011 Chiefs, it seems a good time re-visit the story and help you learn a little bit about the man and the coach.)

To put into perspective the football coaching career of Chiefs offensive line coach Bill Muir consider this:

There are eight members of the Chiefs 2010 coaching staff who were not even born when Muir coached his first season in 1965 at his alma mater Susquehanna College (now University) back in Pennsylvania. That group of eight includes head coach Todd Haley who came along in 1967, a year after Muir had moved on to his second coaching job at Delaware Valley.
Yes, Muir has been coaching for a long time. That tells us several things. First, it tells us he must be good at what he does and there’s no shortage of men who will stand up and sing his praises. “I had to work hard to get him and I can’t really explain how happy I was when he said yes,” said Haley. “There aren’t many coaches more respected by their peers than him.”

Second, he’s stubborn and even though he doesn’t really need to work, he needs to work. “I wasn’t ready to retire,” Muir said. “I tried it once for 10 days and it wasn’t worth a shit.” …Read More!

Chiefs Stay In-house For O.C. – Bill Muir

The long awaited decision on who will be the Chiefs offensive coordinator for the 2011 season was finally announced on Thursday, 25 days after the season ended.

After what he called a thorough search externally and internally, head coach Todd Haley handed the title to one of the most familiar faces in his football world – Bill Muir.

The Chiefs offensive line coach for the past two seasons, Muir will now carry the title of offensive coordinator/offensive line coach. The 68-year old Muir becomes the fourth man to hold the title offensive coordinator in the 24 months that Haley has been the team’s head coach – Chan Gailey (fired), Haley (fired), Charlie Weis (left) and now Muir.

So why will it work this time when it didn’t work with Gailey and Weis, even Haley himself? “I went through a very thorough process of looking internally and externally, trying to find the right guy,” Haley said. “The key thing was to get it right and I think we’ve got it right with Bill Muir.”

The bigger question was who will call the plays on game day? Who will be the triggerman? Haley said he did not have a decision on those duties. …Read More!

Brett Who? … Thursday Cup O’Super Bowl

From Dallas, Texas

The questions fly fast and furious at the Super Bowl if one happens to be a starting quarterback in the game. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has found that out this week.

“Aaron, have you called Brett Favre or has he called you to talk about the expectations for the Super Bowl?”

“No,” answered Rodgers.

Next question.

Rodgers didn’t smile or frown when asked the question or when he gave the answer. But it was telling that after several days of answering questions, the Packers quarterback has made mention of several important conversations he’s had over the last year or so with a host of other quarterbacks.

Guys like Bart Starr, Steve Young and Kurt Warner, but not the man he replaced in Packers green and gold. …Read More!

Charles Does Win FedEx Ground Award

From Dallas, Texas

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles was named the FedEx Ground Player of the year on Thursday, receiving the award during a press conference at the Super Bowl Media Center in downtown Dallas.

Charles received the award from former NFL quarterback-now broadcaster Phil Simms. In the fan voting he beat out Houston’s Arian Foster and Atlanta’s Michael Turner for the honor. Foster was also part of the ceremonies.

Chiefs fans know what kind of season Charles had in 2010, with 1,467 rushing yards and his 6.38-yard average per carry. Those totals made him the second running back in NFL history to achieve 1,400 rushing yards and at least 6.3 yards per carry.

“This just shows that hard work pays off,” Charles said. “Last year, we worked so hard and when you work that hard, it will pay off in the end.”

Charles is less than a week removed from his first appearance in the Pro Bowl, where he scored a touchdown and ran for 72 yards on 10 carries.

“I took my Mom and my Aunt and they were so excited to see Michael Vick and Ray Lewis,” Charles said. “It was more of a family event. Getting a chance to enjoy that with my family was a great experience.” …Read More!

Ben Bounces Back ….Wednesday Cup O’Super Bowl

From Arlington, Texas

I got there early. The clock was making a slow crawl towards noon on Tuesday and I wanted to be in a decent enough position to be able to hear what Ben Roethlisberger had to say.

It was Tuesday, it was Media Day at the Super Bowl and if there was one thing in the last week that the Pittsburgh quarterback had to be dreading in anticipation it was his one-hour with the media horde.

Media Day is a different type of experience for the players and coaches of the teams competing in the Super Bowl. There’s no idea from one moment to the next what type of question that will fired at players and coaches. There’s seldom anything off-limits and in this day and age of the instant media more than one hairdo and TV camera, or ink-stained wretch from the dying print media was going to load up and fire questions in Roethlisberger’s direction involving his problems in Georgia last year that led to his four-game suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Ordinarily, this type of affair would not interest me in the least. Big Ben did his time in the NFL pokey and was back in the Super Bowl for the third time he’s been to the title game in six seasons. All I wanted to see is what he did on the field. His boorish behavior, his thoughts on the turmoil in Egypt, his prediction for the current labor situation were of no interest. I figured Roethlisberger’s agent and his marketing people had probably prepped him in the last week for just about anything.

But my peeps in Pittsburgh say that Roethlisberger has really tried to change his attitude with everyone, from fans to teammates, even to the media. Surly and uncooperative had been replaced by helpful and available. Since he returned from the suspension at the start of the season, he’s tried to mend his fences. …Read More!

Is Jamaal FedEx Ground Player of Year?

From Dallas, Texas

New England QB Tom Brady was selected the AP Offensive Player of the Year based on the ballots of 50 media voters.

Today, there appears a good chance that Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles will be named the 2010 FedEx Ground Player of the Year.

The NFL posted a publicity release on Tuesday evening to announce the press conference where the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year will be introduced.

Listed as taking part were Charles and Phil Simms, the former Giants QB and now CBS broadcaster; there were no other parties named. The FedEx awards come from fan balloting on

So, stay tuned Wednesday afternoon for confirmation of Charles selection.

The Circus That Is NFL Media Day …

From Arlington, Texas

Its official name is Cowboys Stadium.

But the mammoth building that rises out of the Texas prairie has picked up many other names in the two years since it was finished – Jerry’s Word, the Jones Mahal and the Death Star are but three.

On Tuesday, it had a new name – Circus Maximus – as the NFL held its annual Super Bowl week media day activities under the Cowboys big top. I can assure you of this, Barnum & Bailey’s three rings would not have handled the silliness that went down in two separate one-hour sessions for the Packers and Steelers.

I’m not quite sure when Media Day spun away from legitimate searching for interviews and pearls of wisdom from Super Bowl participants to the current version where the most outrageous of costumes and questions is the order of the day.

Before the shift, there were always odd, strange and just funny questions, often asked by reporters who were not sure if the football was blown up or stuffed. My favorite years ago was the serious question put to quarterback Doug Williams – “How long have you been a black quarterback?

It’s gone well beyond that. Several years ago a female personality from Mexican television showed up wearing a wedding dress. She proposed to Patriots QB Tom Brady. With a smile on his face, he declined the offer. …Read More!

A Pittsburgh Guy … Tuesday Cup O’Super Bowl

Growing up in Pittsburgh is a big part of who I am. But I am a Green Bay Packer and we’ve come here to claim the Lombardi Trophy.” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.

From Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

He would never drop his guard long enough this week, but you can bet that what’s gone down for the last 10 days in the life of Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has been a surreal dream.

McCarthy is leading Green Bay into the Super Bowl against the Steelers. McCarthy is a son of Pittsburgh. He was born and raised there. He has black and gold in his blood. When he speaks there are those curious inflections that are so obviously from the river valleys of western Pennsylvania with odd pronouns like “yunz” and talk of the “Stillers.”

“The Stillers are part of me,” McCarthy said years ago, when he was working for Marty Schottenheimer’s coaching staff with the Chiefs. “But even if they had not been a successful Super Bowl team, football would be an important part of my life. Football, basketball, baseball – they were all parts of my life and contributed to what I am today. That’s just the way you grew up there. It was all about competition.”


…Read More!


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