Well not that miraculous, but he does give Indy its props. Though not entirely.
By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2
Before revealing this week's truths, I figured you might enjoy reading some of the random e-mails I have received from fans of the column.
Thanks for the help with New York's blitz package. Drew said it really helped him with his third-down reads. We had Strahan guessing all day.
-- Coach P
What up, dog? When you going to show me some love in your column? If I ain't in the column this week, you just a hater! I ran for a touchdown, threw a touchdown and caught a touchdown. Give it up for ya boy!
The Silver and Black needs you. The offer is still on the table. Plus you get control over all personnel decisions, including signing George, if that's what you think it will take to win. Let me know.
I have some free time this week. We're taking a break from filming. Figured you might want someone to snuggle and watch football with this weekend. I promise not to push you about a commitment. We can just remain friends with benefits. Call me.
Being the foremost authority on all things NFL does have a few perks. OK, here are 10 more NFL truths:
10. Marc Bulger's injury isn't what helped the Colts rally from a 17-0 deficit and spank the Rams by 17 points. St. Louis' defense is responsible.
First off, the ease with which the Colts rallied was very, very impressive. You should've left Indy's "Monday Night Football" victory convinced the Colts are the best team in football.
Opposing teams are more worried about Peyton, and Edgerrin James is reaping the benefits.
You also should've left the game convinced that it's foolish to drop eight defenders into coverage and never pressure Peyton Manning. The Rams, like many teams this season, decided to try to slow Indy's offense with a passive defensive scheme that took away the long ball.
The strategy opened up monster running lanes for Edgerrin James and freed Indy receivers for underneath routes. It also made the Rams' defenders embarrassingly soft. They couldn't tackle. The first defender almost never tackled James. Watching the Rams play defense was painful.
Even if Bulger had remained healthy, the Colts were going to come back and blast the defenseless Rams.
A defense has to occasionally blitz Manning and knock him to the turf.
9. Indy's second-best defender, second-year safety Bob Sanders, is nearly as important to the Colts' defense as Dwight Freeney.
USA Today's Jarrett Bell was the first person who told me that I'd love Sanders when I got a chance to study him.
Sanders is the second coming of Blaine Bishop, the undersized, hard-hitting Pro Bowl safety for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans. Sanders is a sure and deadly tackler. He's just 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds. He hits like Ray Lewis.
Indy linebacker Cato June, who has five interceptions this season, is going to receive quite a bit of hype for Indy's defensive turnaround. June is a fine player. But Sanders might be the best player in the league at his position.
8. Minnesota's "Love Boat" is in no way a symptom of what's wrong with the Vikings on the field.
People are having too much fun beating up the Vikings and head coach Mike Tice over Smoot Dogg's pleasure cruise.
If all it took to throw a team into chaos was a sex party involving a third of the roster, then I'd suggest that a third of the league's teams would be in chaos.
The Vikings stink because they're poorly coached, they have mediocre defensive personnel, and Daunte Culpepper can't read a defense. Lack of discipline and lack of morality have nothing to do with Minnesota's on-field failures.
7. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue needs to follow David Stern's lead and institute a dress code in the NFL.
As someone who routinely wears throwback jerseys and otherwise prefers to dress casually, I see nothing wrong with the NBA's requiring its players to come to work dressed professionally.
The players are on TV from the time they step off the bus to enter the arena or stadium. Why not force them to project a professional image? It's a good message to the fan base, and it's a reminder to the players that they're in a "business environment" when they're playing a game.
Too many pro athletes view themselves as rappers forced to play football or basketball. They decorate themselves with all of the latest prison tattoos and whatever clothing line 50 Cent has popularized.
Stern is not attacking youth culture, hip-hop culture or black culture. He's running a business and trying to improve the profitability of his league.
6. Watching Deion Sanders masquerade as a nickel corner for the Baltimore Ravens reminds me of Muhammad Ali's battle with Larry Holmes. Deion's comeback is twice as damaging to Deion's reputation as Ali's comebacks were to his.
It's kinda sad to see Deion past his prime time.
Ali made a fool out of himself late in his career, but he never lost the title as "The Greatest."
Every game that Deion plays with the Ravens, he's making a case for Rod Woodson as "the greatest" corner to play the game. It's not that Deion is horrible as a nickel corner. He's hurting himself by playing for a horrible team and being unable to do any of the things that made him one of the most exciting players to play the game.
Sanders was famous for making big plays in big games. The Ravens don't play in big games and Deion doesn't make big plays anymore.
5. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder deserves credit for allowing Joe Gibbs to bench LaVar Arrington.
You hear all the horror stories about Snyder's being a meddlesome owner who has ruined the Redskins. You never hear the good stuff.
How many NFL owners would let a guy they gave an eight-year, $80 million contract rot on the bench? Even if the guy was a stiff, most owners would demand that a player in Arrington's situation play simply because of the dollars involved.
Arrington, despite a 2004 knee injury, isn't a stiff. He can still do the things that made him a three-time Pro Bowler. Arrington just isn't "assignment sound" enough for Joe Gibbs and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Gibbs and Williams adopted the defensive approach that has been the mainstay of Bill Belichick's New England defenses. Belichick will sacrifice athleticism at linebacker for players who will always fill the right gap.
4. In case you missed it, the "Monday Night Football" officiating crew (and Paul Tagliabue) heard John Madden's message loud and clear during the Jeff Triplette-ruined Pittsburgh-San Diego contest.
The refs did everything within their power to stay out of the Indy-St. Louis contest. There were 12 penalties enforced during Monday's game. Nine of the penalties were for false starts, offsides or 12 men on the field -- things a ref absolutely has to flag. The refs let the players decide the game.
"MNF" is the showcase event for the NFL. The league is not going to let a bunch of mystery penalties ruin football's best marketing tool.
3. Brett Favre or Dan Marino? It's not a fair question unless it's phrased this way: Favre and Reggie White or Marino and Reggie White? I'll take Marino and White.
Without arguably the greatest defensive player of all time, Favre does not own a Super Bowl ring and two Super Bowl appearances. Give Marino a defender as dominant as White, and he wins at least one Super Bowl.
I bring this up because it's my opinion that Marino, especially late in his career, routinely carried mediocre teams -- like the one Favre is leading now -- to the playoffs. I don't question Favre's greatness. I'm just saying there's no reason the Packers shouldn't win the NFC North and reach the playoffs. Marino would do it.
2. After smelling a Colorado upset last week, I thought I'd take a mulligan on second-ranked Texas: Undefeated and 10th-ranked Texas Tech doesn't have a chance against the Longhorns.
Texas Tech quarterback Cody Hodges has a flaw that the Longhorns will expose. Hodges holds on to the football too long because he likes to protect his gaudy 71 percent completion percentage. Hodges is going to suffer some horrible sacks and cough up the football. Texas' defensive line is so talented that the Longhorns won't need to blitz to pressure Hodges (22 TDs and five interceptions). Hodges could be involved in as many as six turnovers.
On one more college note: Nine flags and 98 yards in USC penalties is the dirty little secret that kept "the greatest game ever played" close.
1. The Denver Broncos pose the greatest threat to Manning and the Colts. Denver's running game can sideline Manning. And Denver's front four can put Manning on his butt.
Jason Whitlock is a regular columnist for The Kansas City Star. His newspaper is celebrating his 10 years as a columnist with the publishing of Jason's first book, "Love Him, Hate Him: 10 Years of Sports, Passion and Kansas City." It's a collection of Jason's most memorable, thought-provoking and funny columns over the past decade. You can purchase the book at TheKansasCityStore.com. Jason can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.