By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2

No e-mails this week. Things are getting out of hand. I have a model friend in D.C. -- Lizz Robbins -- and she keeps begging me to include an e-mail from her at the top of this column. She calls, she texts, she e-mails. It gets old having hot women use me for my column and my body. I just want a (hot) woman who will respect me for my intellect. I just want a (well-built) woman who I can talk to, take long walks with and snuggle on the couch with while watching reality TV -- a woman who recognizes that a booty call can oftentimes lead to a bootiful relationship.

Jason

Here are your playoff NFL Truths:

10. The solution to fixing the NFL playoffs is a BCS system.

The many champions of a college football playoff system never mention that the NFL playoff season can be more boring than the college football bowl season.

Rose Bowl
Got to wonder if this year's Super Bowl can top the Rose Bowl?

Wasn't wild-card weekend spectacular? The Jaguars and the Giants got torched. The Bucs and the Redskins staged an "offensive struggle" that was misidentified as a defensive struggle. The one game that had a chance to be great was ruined when Carson Palmer suffered a knee injury on his second snap.

Listen, I love the NFL playoffs. But I also love the college football regular season, which is the best regular season in all of sports. The sports writers and broadcasters who constantly campaign for a college playoff system are completely misguided and uninformed.

The NFL season grinds to a halt beginning in late December when the best teams start resting their starters for the playoffs. In January we get fed four games for two consecutive weekends and then two games and then one. Most of the games are boring or one-sided.

Meanwhile, the college season concludes with a December and early January smorgasbord of football. Yes, the games aren't as significant, but there's a game on damn near every night, and a few of them are rather exciting.

Let's see if the NFL playoffs produce one game as thrilling as Virgina-Minnesota, Missouri-South Carolina, Michigan-Nebraska, Penn State-Florida State or Texas-USC.

Again, I like both systems. I'm just tired of hearing how a playoff system would solve college football's problems. College football doesn't have a problem.

9. Troy Aikman is one of the best color commentators in the NFL.

Man, I had low expectations for Aikman when he started as a broadcaster for Fox. As a player, it always bothered me that Emmitt Smith and Dallas' offensive line carried the Cowboys' Super Bowl teams and Aikman got the majority of the credit.

When Aikman began as a broadcaster, I said on "Sports Reporters" that I hope "Joe Buck and Cris Collinsworth carry him the way Emmitt Smith, Nate Newton and Michael Irvin did in Dallas."

Boy, was I wrong. Aikman rarely says anything stupid. He has a terrific feel for what's actually going on on the field. He doesn't rely on gimmicks or the need to be the most clever guy in the booth.

Do I wish he had a better sense of humor? Yes. But I'm delighted that he doesn't try to force humor.

8. Because Edell Shepherd dropped the would-be game-tying touchdown pass, no one is aware of the horrible late-game strategy employed by Jon Gruden that really cost Tampa Bay its best opportunity to win.

As far as I know, you'll only read this here: Gruden blew the game with 7 minutes, 41 seconds left to play, when he eschewed a 37-yard field-goal attempt and went for it on fourth and 1.

Just dumb!

I couldn't believe that Joe Theismann and Paul McGuire didn't call out Gruden for this bit of foolishness. In fact, they agreed with Gruden's stupidity.

Washington's offense hadn't done squat all game. You kick the field goal in that situation and cut the deficit to four points, realizing that you'll get the ball back with a chance to win the game in regulation with a touchdown.

Not only that, I actually said at the time, "Washington's offense is so bad, you'll get the ball back twice and have a chance to win the game with two field goals."

I was wrong. Tampa Bay got the ball back three times in the final 7:41.

Let me repeat something I said a few weeks ago: Football head coaches need to move to the press box so they can think clearly. It's impossible to think clearly in the middle of all that chaos on the sideline.

I'm begging. One NFL coach try it during a preseason game. Just try it. Please.

7. Troy Polamalu put a clown suit on Cincinnati safeties Ifeanyi Ohalete and Kevin Kaesviharn.

Yes, the Bengals were hurt by Palmer's injury. No question.

Troy Polamalu
Troy Polamalu was huge in Pittsburgh's win over Cincinnati.

Take away Palmer's injury, and the game was decided by Pittsburgh's Polamalu advantage at safety. The Man of Troy personally shut down Cincinnati's running game. Rudi Johnson ripped off two or three good runs, but other than that, Polamalu lit Johnson up in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage all afternoon.

Meanwhile, Cincy's safeties were virtually nonexistent in the running game, and they got beat deep in the passing game. That's a terrible combination for a safety. Cincinnati has the most overrated secondary in football.

Things will be very interesting for Marvin Lewis this offseason. He's going to find out how committed the Brown family is to putting a winner on the field, because the Bengals need to spend some real money on their defense this offseason.

Washington linebacker LaVar Arrington should be on Cincy's shopping list, as well as a legit safety and a defensive tackle.

If the Bengals don't significantly upgrade their defensive personnel, look for the Bengals to come crashing back down to earth next season.

6. Did Jon Kitna and Kevin Walter cut a deal when they were on the scout team together, promising to take care of each other if Palmer and one of the receivers ever got hurt?

Seriously, when Palmer and Chris Henry both went out, Kitna and Walter used it as an excuse to audition for jobs around the league. I wonder how Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh felt about Walter's career-high five receptions for 73 yards in Cincy's first playoff game in 15 years.

5. I have mixed emotions about Herm Edwards' departure from the Jets and arrival in Kansas City.

Herm is a good fit for the Chiefs. I'm happy about that.

But Sports Illustrated's Peter King raised some very valid points about the unfairness of Herm's orchestrating his way out of New York.

Terrell Owens felt he was unfairly compensated in Philadelphia and we criticized T.O. for trying to orchestrate his way out of the deal he signed. Herm was underpaid in New York and highly aware that he was probably going to get fired after the 2006 season, so he bolted for Kansas City.

I agree with what Herm did. But it's hypocritical when we blast players for wanting the same freedom as coaches. The NFL might want to consider a rule or two to address this issue. It might be time for a salary cap for coaching salaries.

4. Hall of Fame voters wavering on Warren Moon's qualifications for Canton might want to explain the difference between Moon and Dan Fouts, a first-ballot inductee.

Moon threw fewer interceptions and for more yards and touchdowns than Fouts. Moon appeared in more Pro Bowls than Fouts. They won the same number of playoff games. The only thing Fouts has over Moon is a league MVP award.

Other than that, Moon and Fouts were the same player.

I'd put Aikman, Reggie White, Thurman Thomas, John Madden and Moon in the Hall this year.

3. The leader of the league's worst offense in terms of yards and third-worst in terms of scoring is going to be named the head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

I've been criticizing Mike McCarthy since his days as the quarterbacks coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. I could be wrong about McCarthy. He might be a real offensive genius. But what on his resume says that he should be an NFL head coach?

The 49ers' offense he coordinated this season was a disaster. Before that, McCarthy helped Aaron Brooks put up a bunch of meaningless numbers in New Orleans.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders has been begging for an NFL head coaching assignment for the last three years and has come up empty-handed. He's led some high-scoring units that move the ball up and down the field.

McCarthy gets a job before Saunders. Are you freaking kidding me? Forgive me for saying this, but you do realize if Saunders was black, he'd be the poster child for NFL discrimination?

Matt Leinart
Don't worry about Matt Leinart in the NFL -- he's going to be fine. Actually, he'll be much better than that.

2. All of the so-called experts cooling on Matt Leinart as an NFL quarterback are absolutely stupid.

Yes, Leinart floated some passes in the first half of the Rose Bowl. So what? The kid played brilliantly in the second half, and the NFL is still a drop-back, throw-from-the-pocket league.

I'd take Leinart ahead of Vince Young every day of the week, and I think Young has a shot at being an excellent pro (in the right situation).

1. Memo to Jack Del Rio: Why would you expect your receivers to adjust to Byron Leftwich's heat-seeking missiles after six weeks of catching passes from David Garrard?

I like Leftwich, but he needs to learn to throw with some touch. And there was no reason for him to start the playoff game against the Patriots. Insecurity drove that decision.

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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