John Madden
John Madden
Making of a superstar
By John Madden

I have always thought that big players play big in big games, and we saw some of that last weekend in the wild-card games. They're paid the money to play like that in those games. Heck, teams pay players the big money to make big plays in big games and win championships. They don't pay 'em big money just to show up and go out there and run pass patterns and block guys. Players are paid to help their team win a championship. That's what it's all about.

And this month is when you see that. Someone has to make plays, and the guys that make the plays in the bigger games are the ones that are the true all-stars and the true MVPs of their teams; and in most cases, the future Hall of Famers.

When you look at the players over the years who have made big plays in big games, you think of Joe Montana and Walter Payton and Ronnie Lott and guys like that who are in the Hall of Fame. And you think about a Jerry Rice, who is going to be in the Hall of Fame, and a Brett Favre, last weekend's game notwithstanding, and a Reggie White.

When you think of all of those guys and some more over the years, you just think playoffs, big games and making big plays in those games. To me, that's the definition of a superstar right there.

Battling the elements
We are playing in January right now and sometimes that can lead to bad weather, including snow, rain and wind.

I have always felt that the toughest thing for a quarterback is wind. Rain or snow is OK as long as the football can somehow stay dry. The offense has an advantage in the rain and the snow because the field is wet and slippery and they know where they're going. The wide receivers know exactly where they're going on the field, and the defense has to react to where the offensive players are going.

You have to have a strong arm, though, to throw into the wind. You have to keep the nose of the football down, and there are just a lot of things that go with trying to throw into the wind. You get into some places like Philadelphia, Green Bay and Chicago, where you have a wind that's so bad, there's no way you can throw or kick into it. That wind is as tough as it gets for a quarterback and a kicker.
Random thoughts
Counting down to the Super Bowl.

Official problems
Spittling up crews hurts the game.

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