Mailbag: Less-than-glamorous edition

Joe McGreal from Bangkok, Thailand, writes: Paul, Really respect your work and enjoy the articles but still have a tough question to ask: Why do sportswriters not get down and dirty with Manning on his big game failures? To throw a pick 6 in the Super Bowl at least warranted some additional scrutiny on his big game prowess. If you look at the tapes of the Super Bowl against the Bears, you can easily see he had serious problems in the 4th quarter and if the Colts defense did not come up big, Colts could have easily lost that game. Bottom line: I truly believe sportswriters in general are way too lenient on Manning. Piling up stats in regular season against mainly substandard defenses is not a measure for greatness. Playoff and Super Bowl runs separate the men from the boys and the good from the great and the great from the all timers.

Paul Kuharsky: So Dan Marino’s not an all-timer in your book?

If it’s so easy to pile up stats in the regular season, why haven’t more people done it? Manning is superb in the regular season in a way few of his peers can imagine. Against mostly substandard defenses? That’s a huge stretch. The league’s schedule is built by formula; you think he’s coincidentally missing the best defenses consistently? How does he manage that? And how would you propose he beat defenses he doesn’t play?

(Incidentally, he beat the Jets and their No. 1 defense in the AFC title game. He beat Baltimore, the No. 3 defense, and Denver, No. 7, in the regular season.)

He hasn’t played his best in January. Neither has his team. Neither did Marino or his team.

I disagree that the media is soft on Manning -- some bend too far the other way to label him a choker. It’s OK to appreciate great players as great.

He threw a very costly bad pass near the end of the Super Bowl -- that sure could have been more Reggie Wayne’s fault than his. Thirty other quarterbacks would have loved to have been in the spot to throw that pass, no?

You’re even going to rip him for not being great in the end against the Bears in a Super Bowl they won? (They could have easily lost it? Are we looking at what could have easily happened, or what actually happened? I always go B.)

So if they lose it’s his fault and when they won it was despite him? How can he win in that scenario?

And who is great by your standards beside Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman, then? John Elway lost the Super Bowl more often than he won it. Brett Favre and Kurt Warner have the same Super Bowl record as Manning. What losers.

Holman from Richardson, Texas, writes: You mentioned Kareem Jackson and Glover Quin as starting corners you watched today with Brice McCain, Fred Bennett, and rookie Sherrick McManis in the mix at nickel. Is Jacque Reeves not out there, or not in the mix? If you look at the numbers from last year, he was actually better than advertised. I just haven't heard his name much during OTAs. Is he still on the roster?

Paul Kuharsky: I said that’s who Gary Kubiak said is in the mix for the third role. McManis wasn’t practicing, he’s injured. Reeves was there. Kubiak either left him out by mistake or doesn’t rank him as competing for a spot in the package at this point.

Dana Wastjer from Bothell, Wash., writes: What exactly do you mean by less than glamorous? Less than glamorous in comparison to that eyesore they call Husky stadium here in Seattle, or less than glamorous than the Michigan program that had to impose self-inflicted sanctions against themselves? Ever been to game in Missoula, Paul?

Paul Kuharsky: Less that glamorous = people don’t know of it or watch it by comparison to “big-time” college football. It’s not a place that regularly produces NFLers.

That’s all I meant and it’s indisputably true. Personally, I’d rather see a game there than at Michigan, probably.