January 10, 2005
Brett Favre:
It's a great Monday Morning tossup: Is the bigger story Randy Moss' moon-job or Favre's meltdown, perhaps career-ending? QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Call it "Wardrobe Function." Moss' "Moon" move to celebrate his game-clinching TD catch in the 4th quarter was more than crass; it was the boldest celebratory gesture of the season (take that, T.O.).

Ugly? Hardly: It was awesome!

More important, it was catharsis for a team given no chance to stumble into Lambeau and glide out with the biggest upset of wild-card weekend.

He didn't just turn a cheek at the Packers' end-zone fans. His move was for the haters in the media, the doubters in Minnesota and the fans of top-seed Philly, suddenly a little more nervous.

Sure, he'll be fined and undoubtedly excoriated everywhere in the media -- except here. (Hey, it's not like he actually dropped his drawers.)

Here's the NFL's dirty secret: If you make plays, you can do what you want. And Moss delivered a TD. And another. And, as a bonus, the most telegenic hair in football.

There's a new rallying cry for the Vikings:

'Fro the ball to Randy!

Favre Done
Join me in jumping off the Brett Favre bandwagon. (Gasp!) When the guy can throw four picks -- and throw away a home playoff game, maybe he isn't Super-Brett anymore. Established in 1997, his rep's credit line is nearly used up.

"Should he retire?" debates are lame, because that's the player's decision; but let the "Can he deliver in the playoffs anymore?" debate rage.

Wayne's World
Of course Peyton would set an NFL playoff record for passing yards in a half (a whopping 360). But the real revelation was Reggie Wayne (221 yards, 2 TDs).

Who are the Pats going to key on -- Wayne or Marvin Harrison (or Brandon Stokley? Or Dallas Clark? Or Edge? Or Rhodes?)

Broncos Posterized
"Even funnier the second time around!" is how the critic blurb on the movie poster for "Colts-Broncos II" might read.

Ted Cotrell: Vikings D-guru (not Tice) gets Gatorade bath
Suns: Have won 6 straight; 30 Ws already better than '04
Anna Kournikova: Seen insta-infamous "yellow bikini" pics?
Sonics doubters: Seattle beats Heat for 2nd time in a week
Vijay Singh: Chokes away Mercedes, leaving it for Appleby
Brad Pitt/Jennifer Aniston: Yes, the dream really is over
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, like Mike Holmgren, is another coach whose Super aura fades more with every subsequent playoff dud.

Jets' Fumes
What does it say when the winning team's highlight is their head coach and RB coach going toe-to-toe on the sidelines? Has a team ever backed ALL THE WAY to a Super Bowl?

Schotty job: How ironic that the day Marty Schottenheimer is awarded NFL Coach of the Year, he delivers his perennial playoff choke, complete with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that sealed the team's fate.

Some might say this doesn't take away from the Chargers' dream season. And they're idiots.

8-8 Mania!
After the ugliest NFC regular season ever, how much more appropriate could it be for the conference's Super Bowl rep to have entered the playoffs 8-8? All the signs point that way.

Before this weekend, no 8-8 team had ever won a playoff game. The NFC got two, both winning on the road (the Vikings in a substantial upset; Mike Martz, just because he likes to mess with everyone).

The Eagles are limping (and under more pressure than ever); the Falcons' O isn't so great that the Rams can't pull the upset on Atlanta's dome turf.

With this wild start -- and this weak conference -- a few more Ws for either the Rams or the Vikings isn't such a wacky notion.

NFL Look Ahead
To next week's Divvy Round:
MIN/PHI: No TO; lots o' Moss!
StL/ATL: Fear Rams on carpet!
IND/NE: PM vs. Pats 2ndary
NYJ/PIT: Back-Ins vs. Big Ben

Beltran to Mets
Hot Stove Exec of the Year? Mets GM Omar Minaya in a walk, with the Carlos Beltran deal (7 yr/$119 mil) sealing it. No team in baseball made a bigger splash with free agents, and suddenly the floundering Mets are must-see.

(But will they win more? Well, does that ever matter in Hot Stove World, where "on paper" is the kindling?)

Does the ball from the final out of the World Series belong to Doug Mientkiewicz (who caught it) or the Red Sox? Amazing how this has never been an issue before (of course, there's never been a World Series champ like the Red Sox before).

For a group that puts so much emphasis on the psychological relief of wining a title, Red Sox Nation sure is pathetically attached to a small physical symbol. Get over it, folks! Can't you just enjoy your title?

Mike Holmgren:
Needs to find a team that appreciates his unique brand of mediocrity. Like the 49ers, for whom 9-7 and annual 1st-round playoff exits would be miraculous.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie Live!
Len P: Colts gear up for Pats
Crasnick: End of line for Clemens?
Ranking NFL Weekend MVPs
Randy Moss
2 TDs and crass gesture
Peyton Manning
457 yards and 4 TDs
Chad Pennington
2 TDs and a weak arm
Marc Bulger
Did enough to win
Brett Favre
Ha: Just kidding ...

How about that? On back-to-back weekdays, we've got two moons dominating the news (Moss' and Mickey Rooney's) Scandal makes strange bedfellows ...

With Beltran off the market, the top remaining free agent is Carlos Delgado, pursued by Baltimore, Texas, Florida and more ...

College hoops statement game: Kansas (without injured star Wayne Simien) goes into Kentucky and beats the Wildcats; remember for March ...

Shawn Green trade watch: Reaches deal with Arizona (3yr/$32m), so expect that trade with Dodgers to happen (finally!) ...

Hold on: A college football playoff (or Plus-One) is rejected as "too NFL-like," yet the NCAA readily (and greedily) agrees to a 12th game? ...

Saints retain coach Jim Haslett: That collective groan was from fans in New Orleans. Fat Tuesday will be drunker than usual this year ...

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