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National Football League
Draft King Analysis

January 25, 2010
Lou Pickney,

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Football fans were treated to an exciting day of NFL football yesterday. The two conference championship games were both thrilling, particularly the nightcap in New Orleans with the Saints beating the Vikings in overtime. Both games posted television audience numbers that hadn't been seen for conference championship games since the 1980s. Some thoughts:

-Expect to see that clip of Peyton Manning as a child dressed up in a Saints uniform throwing a football in his backyard about 10,000 times over the next two weeks. And expect to be reminded over and over about how Peyton's father, Archie, played quarterback for the Saints from 1971-1982.

-Throwing an interception on his last pass was a really tough way for Brett Favre to go out, again, maybe this time for good. Imagine the dominos that this could topple over: Minnesota loses in OT to New Orleans, Favre retires, the Vikings stagnate in 2010, without the excitement of a Super Bowl appearance the team fails to get funding for a new stadium, and finally the franchise moves to Los Angeles. I'm not wishing that on the Vikings or their fans, but it's a distinct possibility.

-Last month I had this interaction with ESPN's Trey Wingo (who is an excellent sportscaster) on Twitter:

Trey Wingo and Lou Pickney

I'm still a major supporter of Oakland CB Nnamdi Asomugha, but at this point I have to agree with Wingo -- Revis is the best cornerback in the league. Revis managed to contain Reggie Wayne, and it's only because of the brilliance of Peyton Manning that the Colts managed to put up so many passing yards against the Jets.

-The most ridiculous statement by a broadcaster that I heard yesterday was the indication by Phil Simms that the Colts didn't lose much at safety with Bob Sanders injured. I understand his point that the Colts have had great play out of Antoine Bethea and Melvin Bullitt, but Sanders is one of the best safeties in the league. The 5'8" 205 pounder played in only two games this year, with him going on injured reserve after suffering a torn left biceps tendon. But Sanders was the 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with good reason, and no matter how you look at it, the Colts defense isn't as good without him on board.

On deck for tomorrow is feedback related to some of the early action from practice at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. All eyes have been on Tim Tebow, and those concerned about his ability to effectively operate from under center gained some validity with him having trouble handling some snaps.

The worst news of the day involved Wisconsin DE/OLB O'Brien Schofield, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on the first day of practice for the Senior Bowl. Schofield was the defensive MVP at this past Saturday's East-West Shrine Game, and he had been earning a great deal of attention before this most unfortunate injury happened.

Schofield had a great senior season at Wisconsin, finishing the year with 24.5 tackles for a loss (second-best in I-A/FBS) and 12 sacks (sixth-best in I-A/FBS). Now Schofield faces a new challenge: convincing an NFL team to take a chance on him despite his knee injury. Plenty of players have recovered from torn ACLs to have great pro careers, but the timing for Schofield is especially bad.


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