Arts & Entertainment, Sports

Picking Splinters: The Monthly Mail

Sports Editor Mike Hume dips into his Magic Mail Bag to answer questions about the Super Bowl and the Redskin's latest coaching candidate.

Humey,

What did you think about Bill Belichick walking off the field with time left on the clock in the fourth quarter? Think that was sour grapes or was he getting a jump on game planning for next season?

Eric M.

The Meadowlands, NJ

 

I personally believe he wanted to get started scripting those Shakespearean post-game comments, but I could be wrong.

Is the early exit the worst thing ever? No, but it wasn't the classiest either. I know Belichick cares about his image about as much as Matthew Lesko, but he probably could have toughed it out rather than running away and leaving his defense to mop up the loss. 

This was a bad night all around for Belichick though, as his genius reputation took a hit. He had nothing up his cut-off sleeves to alleviate the pressure the Giants were getting on Tom Brady and his call to go for it on fourth and 13 instead of opting for a 49-yard field goal was flat out strange.

I'm not sure if it was hubris or flagging confidence in kicker Steven Gostowski, but that was a head scratcher. No wind. No rain. No sleet. No snow. Just 49 yards in a dome and the kicker doesn't get the nod. If Belichick doubted Gostowski could make it, I doubt Gostowski will be kicking for the Pats next year.

 

Mike,

I think we can finally put this tired debate to rest. The Pats are certainly not the best team of all time.

It don't mean a thing if you ain't got that ring, baby! Whew. I'm out. It's time for the early bird special at the home.

M. Morris

Livinginthepastville, FL

 

On the contrary, I think the debate just got more interesting. No, the Patriots didn't win the Super Bowl, but they still won more games than any other franchise in history. Their offense easily ranks among the most prolific ever and consider this: Counting the playoffs, this year's Patriots team won eight games against teams with 10 or more wins. The 1972 Miami Dolphins, to this point known as the greatest team ever, only beat two teams above the .500 mark en route to a perfect regular season.

It may have been the Super Bowl, but it was still just one game. The Pats may not have been perfect, but they still might be the best team ever assembled.

 

Mike,

I guess this game ends the criticism of Eli Manning, huh? What will the New York Post write about now?

J. Hoffa

Giants Stadium … or thereabout, NJ

 

I agree it's hard to criticize a guy when you have to preface his name with “Super Bowl XLII MVP,” but if anyone can find a way to do it, it's the New York Post. If Eli starts 0-4 next year, I can see the “Champ to Chump” headlines now.

However, departed GM Ernie Acorsi is most definitely off the hook for dealing for Manning on draft day. I really wonder how Phillip Rivers would have handled the New York criticism, seeing as how he handles the criticisms of front-row Colts fans so well.

 

Mike,

So what do you think about Giants' defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo as the next head coach of the Redskins? He put together some audition tape, eh? Do you think Danny Boy will pull the trigger? Do you think Spagnuolo will take the bait?

Joe G.

Not D.C.

 

Spagnuolo might turn away from the Redskins job, but he will be walking away from a very large pay day if he does.

In my mind, Snyder has to land Spagnuolo. He's the last candidate with a high enough profile to make the requisite “Snyder Splash” and, given that the coaching selection process has been a debacle in every sense of the word, it would also give the Redskin faithful something to get excited about.

There's been nothing to get the Hoggettes' too hot and bothered so far. The team-endorsed Gregg Williams was effectively run out of town, earning Snyder no favor with the players. On top of that, the Skins filled both offensive and defensive coordinator positions, making the head coaching job somewhat unattractive to any experienced head coach who wants to bring his guys with him.

In the past months, the Redskins have conducted more interviews than Joan Rivers on a red carpet and have little to show for it besides Jim Fassel waiting in the wings, largely because Fassel has nothing better to do.

To this point, Snyder has been willing to counter the notion that all is not well by saying there were candidates he still wanted to speak to coaching in the Super Bowl. Under that premise, if Snyder lands Spagnuolo, he can turn to the cameras at the introductory press conference and say straight faced that the team was just performing due diligence in the event Spagnuolo wasn't available, but that the Giants' defensive coordinator was their top choice all along.

Spagnuolo is red hot right now and would fulfill Snyder's constant craving for a splashy hire. And, since he's young and has no head coaching experience, he might not quibble about the already-hired coordinators. That said, I still wouldn't be shocked if Spagnuolo stays with the Giants and reexamines his options after next season.

Face it, less than 30 days after their playoff elimination, the Redskins reverted from “contender” to “project.” Any new coach will have to placate the players, jive with the new coordinators, follow in the footsteps of Joe Gibbs and, oh yeah, win. Aside from the paycheck, there's not a lot that's attractive about this head coaching position right now. It will likely come down to how badly Spagnuolo wants to take the reins.

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