By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2

Jason,

Please don't publish this e-mail with your terrific NFL Truths column. I love reading the column. It's the best thing I've ever read about professional football. You're the greatest. But I was actually writing you to ask a favor. Would you please quit helping Dungy and Peyton prepare their game plans? If the Colts don't lose soon, my teammates and I will become irrelevant. We will never get another interview. Griese might even lose his job calling college football games. All we'll have left are these gift certificates to Shula's Steakhouse.

Mercury

Here are your NFL Truths for Week 14:

10. It's unfortunate that Donovan McNabb responded to the opportunist who criticized him in the Philadelphia Sun.

Had McNabb continued to remain quiet about the idiot's ridiculous criticisms, which were published in late November, the writer would still be an anonymous, no-talent hack with an NAACP affiliation.

Related stories
• National NAACP President outraged by McNabb column
• Grant: Mondesire sends the wrong message
• Wilbon on PTI: This is 'hateful'
• SportsNation: What do you think? •  Complete NFL coverage

Until responding to the idiot's claims, McNabb had handled the Terrell Owens controversy flawlessly. He stayed above Owens' stupidity. I'm disappointed that McNabb allowed an alleged civil-rights leader to use him.

McNabb's play and the Eagles' success under McNabb's direction says all there is to say about McNabb's stature in the NFL. He's a franchise quarterback and deserves to be overpaid just like all the rest of the league's quarterbacks.

The assertion that McNabb should surrender a portion of his contract so that Owens and other Eagles can get better contracts is silly. The Eagles are well below the salary cap. McNabb's contract isn't stopping owner Jeff Lurie from paying Owens.

I stated several weeks ago that McNabb's contract is driving much of the division in the Philadelphia locker room. McNabb's teammates are jealous. There's financial jealousy in every professional locker room. The situation in Philly is far worse because Lurie and Andy Reid have traditionally squeezed their pennies tighter than other NFL teams.

Would I like to see McNabb run the football just a little more often? Absolutely. Is his decision to focus on becoming a traditional pocket passer an insult to black quarterbacks? Hell no. McNabb is simply choosing the route that has taken white quarterbacks to the Super Bowl. He should not be denied that freedom.

I truly feel sympathy for McNabb. He has now been attacked and used by right-wing and left-wing idiots for no good reason. You can debate whether McNabb is a great quarterback -- I believe he is -- but there's no debating that he is a classy human being. He has handled the unsolicited controversy about his career in remarkable fashion. His parents should be proud.

Being a black quarterback in the NFL is still the toughest job in professional sports.

9. Speaking of black quarterbacks, New Orleans' Aaron Brooks has followed the lead of Joe Horn and is determined to use the Hurricane Katrina disaster as an excuse for his poor play.

The Saints are about three years too late in benching Brooks. The guy put up some decent numbers but never won an important game. It's a lot easier for the Saints to do radio and TV interviews complaining about Katrina and commissioner Paul Tagliabue's reaction to Katrina than it is for the players to admit that they stunk in 2005 just like they did in '04, '03, '02 and every other year.

8. Kansas City running back Larry Johnson did much more than "miss" a critical block in the Chiefs' loss to the Cowboys.

Just before halftime, the Chiefs were on the verge of scoring a touchdown and pushing their lead to 11 points when Dallas linebacker Scott Fujita ran past Johnson and separated quarterback Trent Green from the football. The Cowboys recovered the fumble and scored a TD that gave them a three-point halftime advantage. The 14-point swing was the biggest play of the game.

It's being reported that Johnson "missed" the block on Fujita. Johnson did not "miss" the block. Johnson declined to block Fujita. Johnson flopped on the ground at Fujita's feet. Johnson didn't trip. It was just a horrible, selfish effort. Johnson chose not to block Fujita.

There's nothing wrong with "missing" a block. It happens all the time in football. Johnson's effort was criminal. Johnson is an extremely talented runner. But he's also extremely immature. He's whined and complained the whole time he's been in Kansas City about Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil mistreating him.

If you saw Johnson's effort against Fujita, you'd understand why Vermeil was apprehensive about playing Johnson early in his career.

7. Listen, I hate to sound like a broken record, but Marty Schottenheimer really is turning in one of the most embarrassing coaching performances in NFL history.

After Sunday's two-point loss to the Dolphins at home, the San Diego Chargers have now lost five games by a total of 14 points. Marty simply cannot manage a football game on Sundays. He's a terrific coach Monday through Saturday. Losing that many close games is an indictment on the coaching staff.

The Chargers have played a difficult schedule, and now they finish the season against Indianapolis, Kansas City and Denver. Marty might go 8-8 with the best running back in football, the best tight end, a good quarterback and a solid defense.

6. I'm becoming a fan of Keyshawn Johnson.

I have long despised "Me-shawn" Johnson. He's always struck me as one of the phoniest athletes in professional sports. His attacks on Wayne Chrebet and Warren Sapp struck me as pure jealousy.

But I have to admit that I love what Keyshawn brings to the Dallas Cowboys. The guy is the best possession receiver in football right now. He's a huge target, and he's willing to catch balls in traffic. Last week Johnson caught three passes for 35 yards. His teammate Terry Glenn caught six passes for 138 yards and a TD. I thought Johnson had a better game.

Johnson might be a loudmouth and a punk. But he's tough. He would've blocked Scott Fujita.

5. Mike Carey and his officiating crew stole the Lions-Packers game by erasing the safety the Lions' defense got on running back Samkon Gado.

OK, let's say that the holding penalty on the Packers was outside of the end zone, which it wasn't, and let's also say that Gado passed the football, which he didn't, I still say the officials screwed up.

If Gado was a passer, is there no such thing as in the grasp anymore? I really don't know. Can a QB still be sacked by an in-the-grasp call? I never see it called anymore. Gado was certainly tackled and in the grasp when he pushed the ball out of his hands.

Regardless, the NFL needs to change its rules about throwing the ball outside of the pocket. Running backs should not be afforded the same protection as quarterbacks.

4. If Indy wins this weekend, do not wager on the Seattle-Indianapolis game in two weeks. It will be an officiating circus. Weird stuff will happen and you're likely to jump off a building in frustration.

There are two scenarios: (1) NFL marketers (the TV networks) will make sure that everything is done to preserve Indy's undefeated record, so that the Colts can be promoted as the greatest team in NFL history; (2) NFL marketers (the TV networks) will make sure everything is done to keep interest in the playoffs/Super Bowl extremely high, so they'll do everything possible to keep Seattle in the game.

Whatever the scenario, just be prepared for a lot of special-teams penalties and at least two bogus pass interference calls.

3. The best thing to happen to Denver's defense is the season-ending injury to rookie corner Darrent Williams.

I'm surprised Williams made it this deep into the season. He's been getting lit up like a Christmas tree since October.

2. Trading Ron Artest just because he demanded a trade is stupid.

As a lifelong Indiana Pacers fan, I'm devastated that he's being shopped in the middle of a season that I thought would end with a championship. Artest is the best player on the Pacers. It's not even close. Jermaine O'Neal isn't half the player that Artest is.

Everybody knows Ron Artest is crazy. Everyone knows he's going to say dumb stuff four or five times a year. Why didn't the Pacers just ignore Artest and let this situation blow over?

Why not trade Stephen Jackson? He's the problem with the Pacers.

1. Beating the Dolphins, Saints, Jets and Bills is not a sign that the Patriots are a Super Bowl threat. It's a sign that on most Sundays an outstanding quarterback (Tom Brady) will beat a bad quarterback (Frerotte, Brooks, Bollinger and Losman) just about every time they line up.

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.




Jason_Whitlock
Jason
Whitlock
NFL GURU