By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2

Jason,

I've been reading your column since the beginning of the year. By my count, you have been right 98 percent of the time. Could you go back and read all of your statements and predictions and grade whether they were right or wrong? Again, I can only think of a couple of mistakes that I'm sure probably weren't your fault.

Dungy

*****

Big Sexy,

If Kris gets traded to the Royals, I'm going to include you as a member of the team, just in case Kris screws up and I decide to seek revenge. I always knew we were meant to be together.

xoxoxo

Anna

Here are your NFL Truths:

10. The Denver Broncos are no threat to the Indianapolis Colts.

I've been riding the Broncos' bandwagon all season. Their Week 3 whipping of the Kansas City Chiefs -- which came courtesy of some terrific defensive line play, especially by Trevor Pryce -- really impressed me.

What has happened to Pryce and the Cleveland castoffs? The Chiefs thrashed Denver up front last week. Pryce rotated in and out of the lineup. The Broncos couldn't muster a pass rush. And in the fourth quarter they couldn't come close to stopping Larry Johnson.

When Denver's defense is ordinary, that means the pressure switches to Jake Plummer and the Denver O. Plummer vs. Peyton Manning in a shootout is a mismatch we've seen before. It's not pretty.

Against the Chiefs, Jake played like he needs to see the Wizard for a heart transplant. Rather than run across the goal line and take a hit, Jake slid short of the end zone on one play and threw an interception on another.

With Denver showing its true color -- yellow -- we now have to ask: Who's No. 2?

The San Diego Chargers are on the clock. But you know damn well Marty Schottenheimer will screw it up.

9. Winning the Super Bowl is the only thing that matters. Tony Dungy and the Colts shouldn't even concern themselves with going 16-0.

Peyton Manning
AP
Would the Colts be better off sitting Peyton down for a couple weeks?

Going undefeated does not give you football immortality. Not one member of the undefeated Miami Dolphins is a true NFL legend. Not even Don Shula. No one even believes that the undefeated Dolphins are one of the all-time great teams.

I'm not trying to disrespect Shula or what his team accomplished. I'm just asking people to put Dungy and the Colts' mission in proper perspective. If sitting Manning, Edgerrin James and Dwight Freeney will help the Colts win the Super Bowl, then that's exactly what Dungy should do.

Going undefeated is not remotely important. You know what going undefeated gets you? An interview on ESPN 30 years later that makes sports fans rush to the Internet to figure out who Mercury Morris is.

8. Javon Walker's split with NFL super-agent Drew Rosenhaus might be the first sign that Rosenhaus' clients are calling B.S. on Rosenhaus' Terrell Owens excuse.

Yeah, Drew has been telling his clients that he made a fool out of himself in front of T.O.'s home to take the negative attention away from Owens. Remember when Tony Montana told Frank: "You need me … There go da bad guy." Rosenhaus wants his clients to believe that he's Scarface playing the bad guy so they can get their money. I guess Javon Walker remembers that Tony Montana had Frank killed and started sleeping with his girl.

7. If Byron Leftwich gets healthy in time for the playoffs, Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio should stick with David Garrard at quarterback.

No knock on Byron, but I've seen this QB scenario before with Rich Gannon and Elvis Grbac in Kansas City. Gannon filled in for Grbac for six straight games at the end of the 1997 season. Gannon's numbers weren't spectacular, but he developed a knack for leading the Chiefs to victory.

Grbac came back healthy for the season finale and Schottenheimer returned Grbac to the starting lineup. With Gannon on the bench and half of Arrowhead Stadium begging for him to enter the game, the Broncos beat the Chiefs in a low-scoring, first-round playoff game.

Leftwich is a better player than Grbac. But Garrard does remind me of Gannon. Garrard has similar natural leadership qualities, a funky delivery, the ability to make plays with his feet and the support of the Jacksonville fan base.

6. For some reason, TV broadcasters have fallen in love with Walter Jones and Jonathan Ogden. Willie Roaf is the best left tackle in the history of football.

Big Willie doesn't get nearly the love he deserves. Kansas City's offense completely falls apart when Willie sits with an injury. He's battled a hamstring pull this season. Big Willie handles Freeney one-on-one with no help. Big Willie is a devastating run blocker at the point of attack and out in space as a puller.

5. I was reading Cris Collinsworth's thoughts on the success of black NFL coaches Tony Dungy, Marvin Lewis and Lovie Smith, and came to a realization: It's always going to be easier for a black coach to land an NFL job than a Division I college job.

It should come as no surprise that black coaches are finding success in the NFL quicker than in college football. When picking a professional head coach, the only thing you worry about is whether the guy can get the team to win. When selecting a college coach, athletic directors worry about how the coach will interact with boosters and whether he will help with fund-raising.

That's the main reason there are just four African-American Division I-A head coaches and six African-American NFL head coaches. There are 32 NFL jobs, and more than 100 college jobs.

4. The Philadelphia Eagles remind me of the TV show "Nip/Tuck," which I now call "Nip/Sucks."

Donovan McNabb is Dr. Troy. He had the world by the tail until The Carver (Terrell Owens) raped him and then framed him for a series of crimes. I was initially intrigued by the Carver story line, but I now just want it to be over.

Philly's season -- just like Season 3 of "Nip/Sucks" -- began with tons of promise. Now you spend every Tuesday evening wondering how things got so bad and so pointless this quickly. You TiVo the games/show just to see if things can get any worse.

Bringing back The Carver and wrapping up that story line won't fix "Nip/Sucks." Dr. Troy has been ruined. You'll never live vicariously through him again.

3. The success of Chicago's defense will introduce a new trend in professional football: smaller, quicker defenders across the board.

Chicago Bears D
AP
With their speed, the Chicago Bears' D has been terrorizing opposing QBs.

I can't claim credit for this idea. My boy at Sports Illustrated, Jeff Chadiha, mentioned to me that the Bears are getting it done on defense with two 260-pound defensive ends and reasonably svelte 300-pound defensive tackles.

I bet if you added up the total weight of Chicago's 11 starting defenders, it's the lowest total in the league, especially of the teams that play a 4-3. The Bears are playing the run and the pass with quickness.

You hear coaches say all the time that speed kills, but coaches rarely commit totally to speed. Lovie Smith and the Bears have. It's working. And it might signal the end of the Ted Washingtons.

2. Question for Myles Brand and the NCAA: Why is the organization allowing college coaches to be represented by agents who also represent players?

This practice is a breeding ground for corruption. You work for a coach, and hope that he funnels his graduating players your direction. Or you hope the coach you represent looks the other way as you recruit his potential pro players.

1. By my count, the Pittsburgh Steelers have lost three straight games. Three weeks ago I predicted they would fall to 7-6. Yep, I see Pittsburgh's defense costing it Sunday's game against Chicago.

Offense isn't the main problem in Pittsburgh. The problem is you can now consistently move the football against Pittsburgh's D. Bill Cowher is a wonderful defensive coach, but at some point you have to have talented, experienced defenders to stay on top.

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 ballstate68@aol.com.




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