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What's hot, what's not
for 2001 NFL season

Special to Page 2

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Hurtling into Week 1 of a new NFL season, there might be no greater thrill for the football fan than to be prepared with the lowdown on the hottest storylines, names and trends. Certainly, you don't want to be caught spouting last year's conventional wisdom as you make this season's picks in the weekly office pool (for recreational purposes only, mind you).

Study the 2001 NFL season "What's Hot, What's Not" List below, then call your local sports radio station, climb aboard your favorite barstool, sidle into a debate among co-workers, or -- as always the tradition of the Page 2 "Hot List" -- impress your significant other, because they really want to know:

Page 2's Hot 'n' Not list for NFL season
Category   Hot   Not
XFL-to-NFL success story   Tommy Maddox   "He Hate Me"
Barstool debate  
What to do about the refs
'00 Ravens defense versus '85 Bears
Front-office guru   Ex-TV guy   Ultra-rich guy
Reason to follow the season   Your fantasy league   Inherent drama
Rallying cry   "Who needs an offense?!"   "We get no respect."
"Whatever happened to ...?"  
Jake Plummer
Rick Mirer
Reason to get cut   Not telegenic enough   Salary-cap considerations
Reason for a coach to start a cornerback   Because I want to show how powerful I am   Because he's a beloved vet
Cool nickname   Snoop (Marvin Minnis)   Booger (Anthony McFarland)
Dud   Ryan Leaf as a free agent   Ryan Leaf as a Buc
Team's season-crushing injury   Torn ACL to star RB   Concussion to star QB
Brewing-controversy backup QB   Mike McMahon   Joe Germaine
Jersey to be seen in  
Donovan McNabb
Keyshawn Johnson
Access to team   "All-"   "No-"
Super Bowl teams   Expected   Surprises
QB's role   Ride the defense's work   Air it out
Raiders receiver who matters  
Tim Brown
Jerry Rice
Position   Roving linebacker   All-purpose running back
Sexy pick to be champ  
Rookie named Michael   Bennett   Vick
MVP bandwagon  
Brian Griese
Randy Moss
Two words about a notable coach   Jon Gruden: Babyfaced assassin   Dick Vermeil: Tarnished legacy
Complaint about a stadium   Unbearable turf   Snowballs
Oddity   29-year-old rookie starting QB   Super-sized quarterbacks
Fantasy-junkie sleeper   Aaron Brooks   Matt Hasselbeck
Novel way to use your first-round fantasy pick  
Marvin Harrison
Fred Taylor
Complaint in Cleveland   "What will we do without Courtney Brown?"   "Why are we drafting for defense ... again?"
Aging signal-caller   Doug Flutie   Kent Graham
Mike Shanahan's biggest problem   How to manage PR of starting Anderson over less-talented Davis   Pulling yet another 1,000-yard RB out of thin air
Go-to esoteric Dennis Miller reference   Anything Shakespeare   Anything related to Mexico
Subject of QB scrutiny   Brad Johnson   Jon Kitna
Record fans want to see broken   TDs in a season   Payton's career rushing yards

Dan Shanoff is a regular contributor to Page 2.

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