By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2

Dear Mr. Whitlock,

We're sorry to hear that you're not renewing your membership to our proud organization. We've valued your membership over the past five years. We need your support now more than ever. In the past couple of weeks, we've been involved in some very important causes. We battled vigorously for Crips founder Tookie Williams. The organization Mr. Williams started was responsible for a lot of wonderful work in the black community in terms of population control and street pharmacy. And our Philadelphia branch took the despicable Donovan McNabb to task for getting tired in the Super Bowl and not giving a portion of his contract to the great Terrell Owens. Mr. Whitlock, as you can see, now is not the time to turn your back on our organization. We are doing everything we can to disgrace our legacy.

The NAACP

More NFL stories
• Dungy's Son Tragedy
• Clayton: Living up to expectations
• Pasquarelli: Far from the'right' thing
• Favre isn't ready to give up
• Colts coverage • Bengals coverage
•  Complete NFL coverage
Here are your NFL Truths for Week 15:

10. Even after the loss to the Chargers, the Colts are still the overwhelming favorite to win the Super Bowl. But the MVP race sure is wide open now. I'll take Brian Urlacher for $100, thank you.

B.Lacher has been doing the damn thing all year, and the Bears have no business sitting at 10-4. Besides Indy's offense, Chicago's defensive unit is the most consistent, lethal weapon in professional football.

Urlacher gets my MVP nod over Peyton Manning and Dwight Freeney because the Bears defense works alone. Urlacher doesn't get help from his offense, and the Bears don't even have a great punter. Urlacher's 2005 season is just a cut below Ray Lewis' Super Bowl season.

9. Marvin Lewis gets my NFL coach of the year award over Tony Dungy.

It's probably unfair that Dungy basically would have to go 16-0 in order to win this award, but Dungy had half the puzzle solved when he arrived in Indianapolis. The Colts had a terrific offense before Dungy.

Marvin has built the Bengals from the ground floor. He ran off all the players who didn't want to be Bengals, including Corey Dillon and Takeo Spikes. Marvin expertly handled the grooming of quarterback Carson Palmer. Marvin embraced Chad Johnson's over-the-top personality. And somehow, Marvin has turned Deltha O'Neal and Tory James into a solid corner combination.

Most impressively, Marvin did it while working for the Browns, one of the cheapest families in professional sports.

Marvin Lewis has a chance to go where only one high-profile black coach has gone before. John Thompson was Georgetown basketball the way Tom Landry was the Dallas Cowboys, Vince Lombardi was the Packers, John Wooden was UCLA, Bobby Knight was Indiana, Red Auerbach was the Celtics, Don Shula was the Dolphins, Bill Belichick is the Patriots and Bill Simmons is the "Karate Kid."

Marvin Lewis could be all of that to the Cincinnati Bengals.

8. Last Sunday on "The Sports Reporters," out of respect for my pal Mike Lupica's affinity for Eli Manning, I chose not to finish explaining why the Giants will get exposed in the playoffs because of Manning.

Peyton's lil' bro isn't ready for prime time, and he'll be the primary reason the Giants lose their playoff opener. Early in his career, Peyton had a terrible time whenever he was faced with a consistent pass rush. Eli has the same problem. He lacks Tom Brady's pocket toughness.

Eli has another flaw, though; one that might prove fatal to his chances of ever developing into an elite level QB. Eli is inaccurate. His career completion percentage is 51 percent. When you compare his completion percentage numbers against the league's top quarterbacks -- Peyton, Brady, Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre -- early in their careers, Eli's percentage falls woefully behind.

Eli should be completing 60 percent of his passes in his second season. He has a terrific arm. His percentage is low because his reads are affected too much by his pass-rush concern.

7. Peyton Manning might have indeed surpassed Tom Brady as the league's best QB -- although I'm not ready to admit it -- but Brady would've closed out the rally over the Chargers.

It's impossible to exaggerate the importance of being able to stand in the pocket under pressure and deliver the football. It's the most important quality a quarterback can have. It's the only real advantage Brady has over Manning.

6. Three Chiefs offensive linemen -- Will Shields, Willie Roaf and Brian Waters -- earned Pro Bowl berths for the second straight year. Shields, who should be a Hall of Famer, made his 11th straight Pro Bowl. It was his shakiest selection.

Shields, who has played at around 315 pounds his entire career, lost weight last offseason to relieve pressure on his back and because he was contemplating retirement. He's been around 295 and 300 pounds all season. His lighter frame has hurt him in pass protection.

5. Had the Chargers lost the game to the Colts, I could've easily envisioned a scenario in which the Chargers soured on Drew Brees and explored the possibility of naming Phillip Rivers the quarterback of the future.

Brees made several critical mistakes, including a couple of horrible interceptions. Brees hasn't been as good this year as he was last season. He's thrown twice as many interceptions as a year ago.

If the Chargers don't make the playoffs this year, they'd be wise to hold onto Rivers for another season. Brees still needs to prove himself. He has yet to win a playoff game.

4. Lovie Smith made the absolute right decision switching to Rex Grossman, with the Bears clinging to a 6-3 lead over the Falcons.

Smith has nothing to lose by playing Grossman the rest of this season. There is no downside to his decision. Kyle Orton gave the Bears nothing. He is in no way responsible for Chicago's 10 victories.

Even if Grossman is awful, he's a better alternative than Orton. If Grossman makes just one or two plays a game, he'll give the Bears a chance to knock off any team in the NFC.

3. Sports fans across the country need to take a cue from Lions fans and express their dissatisfaction publicly. The Millen Man March was brilliant.

Members of the mainstream media will always ridicule sports fans. Sports writers think they're smarter than the average fan. We're not. Sports executives and owners hate being publicly embarrassed.

By organizing a protest rally, Lions fans shined a spotlight on Matt Millen's ineffectiveness as a general manager. The overwhelming majority of mainstream media members lack the professional courage to point out the obvious incompetence of a GM as overmatched as Millen. We're too concerned about what Millen might say to us in the press box or what one of his public-relations flunkies might say. Television and radio broadcasters worry about getting turned down for an interview.

Sports media members waste too much time trying to prove they're better than sports fans, instead of representing the interest of the average sports fan, which is our job.

2. I know I mentioned this last week but: trade Jermaine O'Neal, not Ron Artest.

Jermaine O'Neals are a dime a dozen. There's only one Ron Artest. The Pacers are going to get ripped off trying to deal Artest. There's just no way you can get anywhere close to comparable value.

1. Watching Brett Favre play the second half of the season, it's obvious Favre wants to play with Reggie Bush. What Favre doesn't realize is Bush wants no parts of playing in Green Bay. Rumor has it, one of the stipulations Bush has given potential agents is he wants an agent who can guarantee he won't play in Green Bay.

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