By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2


I'm going to play a gag on my football team and go for it on fourth down at least twice in the Rose Bowl -- and Reggie Bush, the best college football player of all time, won't be involved in either play. It's going to be so freakin' funny. Mack Brown is going to laugh his butt off.


Here are your 10 NFL Truths for Week 1 of the playoffs:

10. When Herm Edwards can follow up the Pittsburgh playoff meltdown with a 4-12 season and still have a half-dozen NFL franchises interested in his services, it's safe to say the minority coaching issue is dead in the NFL.

Herman Edwards
Even after a 4-12 season, Herm Edwards is still in demand.

I'm a Herm Edwards fan. I hope the Chiefs complete a deal with the Jets and land Edwards as the successor to Dick Vermeil. The injuries that decimated the 2005 Jets can't be pinned on Edwards. He's a good coach who has a chance to be a great one.

But if it was 1995 and Herm was white, you'd be reading about how Herm was just another white coach with no clock-management skills recycled by the good-old-boy network. You'd probably be reading it in this column.

Instead, it's 2006. Marvin Lewis, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith have completed remarkable regular seasons. And Herm is just another black coach with questionable clock-management skills who is being recycled by the NFL's good-old-boy network.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Seriously, NFL owners want to win, and they don't care all that much about the color of their football coach anymore. If anything, with a league that boasts rosters dominated by African-Americans, the owners probably feel black head coaches might have a better chance at reaching the players.

Given the success of Lewis, Dungy and Smith, and given the fact that the NFL is a copycat league, I'm not sure the league will need the rule requiring owners to interview minority candidates.

We can quit discussing race when it comes to NFL head coaches and job opportunities. Let me get the ball rolling: Mike Singletary is the best young assistant coach on the market.

9. If Marty Schottenheimer was black, the Chargers would've fired him after Saturday's loss to the Broncos.

I'm joking about the racial angle.

But seriously, why does Marty still have a job after ruining Drew Brees' career and hamstringing the Chargers organization? There was no reason to play Brees against the Broncos. Schottenheimer and the Chargers had the perfect opportunity to take a long look at second-year quarterback Philip Rivers.

Marty didn't even give Rivers any additional snaps in practice before the game. The Chargers went with Brees, and now Brees will have to undergo offseason shoulder surgery thanks to Broncos safety John Lynch.

The injury damaged Brees' contract leverage and now takes away San Diego's freedom to trade Rivers.

Marty might be the worst, widely respected coach in all of sports.

8. Memo to Nick Saban: Do not think for one minute that Gus Frerotte can lead the Dolphins next season.

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Yes, the Dolphins finished the season with six straight victories, and Frerotte almost looked like an NFL quarterback in those six wins. But Frerotte is not the answer. The Dolphins need a veteran QB and a rookie draftee for next season.

Gus has a career completion percentage of 54 percent. He is not the answer.

7. Bill Cowher needs to turn Ben Roethlisberger loose in the playoffs.

Big Ben is beginning to look like a fraud playing in Cowher's ultra-conservative offense. In a must-win regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions, Ben completed 7 of 16 passes for 135 yards with two interceptions.

The Steelers are not going to make it to the Super Bowl with those numbers and totally relying on their running game and defense. Pittsburgh's defense just isn't that good. The Steelers can be gashed through the air and on the ground.

If the weather is halfway decent in Cincy this weekend, Roethlisberger should throw the ball at least 25 times.

6. If Will Shields returns to the Chiefs for one more season, Kansas City's offensive line has a chance to establish itself as the best in the last 20 years and perhaps in league history.

In 1995, Nate Newton, Larry Allen, Erik Williams, Ray Donaldson and Mark Tuinei powered Emmitt Smith to career highs in rushing yards (1,773) and touchdowns (25). The line also gave up just 18 sacks all season, and was called for just seven holding penalties. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl that year, and the Newton Gang was widely considered the best in the league in a long, long time.

Well, Kansas City's offensive line, especially in terms of run blocking, rivals Dallas' all-star group.

The Dallas line averaged 325 pounds and simply plowed straight ahead. Kansas City's line -- Shields, Willie Roaf, Brian Waters, Casey Wiegmann and John Welbourn -- is powerful, too, but it's also extremely athletic. Everybody except Welbourn is an exceptional puller. Shields and Roaf, 11-time Pro Bowlers, are Hall of Famers. Waters is a smaller version of Larry Allen. He's incredibly strong in the weight room, just like Allen, and is now regarded as the best offensive lineman in football, just like Allen was during the late '90s.

Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson have both had record-breaking years running behind Will, Willie, Waters, Wiegmann and Welbourn -- the Big Willies. The group just needs a Super Bowl appearance to garner the kind of respect and notoriety the Cowboys' line received.

5. NFL owners have to be irate with Daniel Snyder because of the contract he gave defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Snyder escalated coaching salaries a few years ago when he paid Marvin Lewis a million dollars to babysit Steve Spurrier. Now Williams is going to collect $2.6 million a year to carry Joe Gibbs' inconsistent offense. Wow.

NFL position coaches will soon be earning $500,000 a year thanks to Snyder's spending.

4. Vince Young should turn pro, and Jerry Jones should do everything within his power to make sure Young is a Cowboy.

You put Young in a Cowboys uniform next year and Dallas is a Super Bowl threat. Now I'm not convinced that Young is a can't-miss NFL prospect. He's not. His throwing motion might get him in trouble in the league.

But if you put Young with Bill Parcells and the Cowboys next year, I see that as a surefire winning recipe. If the Cowboys had a mobile, big-play quarterback, the Dallas defense would do enough for the Cowboys to win 12 games next season.

The Cowboys need to move up to No. 3 in the draft so they can select the UT quarterback. If Young isn't the third pick in the draft, he can blame Michael Vick.

3. Tiki Barber is the Marcus Allen of the new millennium.

Tiki Barber
Tiki Barber, a Hall of Famer? Quite possibly.

Everyone is trying to figure out what to make of Tiki, the King of New York. Is he a Hall of Famer?

Yes, Tiki makes the Hall as long as he plays another four or five years at a high level and as long as he wins one Super Bowl. Tiki doesn't need any more 1,000-yard seasons. All he needs to do is continue to average 4.2 yards per carry and remain a steady contributor. This past season was his signature season, which was very similar to Allen's 1,759-rushing-yards, 1985 campaign. Now Barber just needs a signature Super Bowl moment, like Allen's zig-zag run against the Redskins.

Speaking of potential Hall of Fame running backs, it's strange that I have a greater appreciation for Jerome Bettis' body of work than Curtis Martin's.

I'd put The Bus in the Hall ahead of Martin, even though Martin has a few more rushing yards and way more receptions and receiving yards than Bettis. Martin is the league's fourth all-time leading rusher. Of all the backs in the top 15, only fullback-types Bettis and John Riggins averaged fewer yards per carry than Martin's 4.0 career average.

2. Hey, it's great that Flip Saunders and the Detroit Pistons are winning lots of regular-season games, but until they win the title in June, it's too early to say firing Larry Brown was the right move.

I'm still a Larry Brown guy. And I will always be a Larry Brown guy. Chauncey Billups is very capable of melting down in the playoffs.

1. You knew the Texans were serious about drafting Reggie Bush when Tony Banks took the field to lead Dom Capers' final loss.

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 Jason can be reached by e-mail at