BEFORE I get to this week’s nuggets, a hearty dose of respect goes out to Houston Oilers coaching legend Bum Phillips, who passed away Friday.
My earliest memories of following NFL football came in the 1970s, when Bum’s teams were trying to unseat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Phillips embodied everything Texas, from the cowboy hat and boots to the chewing tobacco in his cheek.
Earl Campbell’s NFL coach was a true coaching original. He will be missed.
THE conquering heroes in burnt orange had a refreshed look about them on Monday, a bye week removed from taking the measure of the Oklahoma Sooners.
Case McCoy said he signed more autographs and gave out more hugs than he has in a while. I guess that comes with a win over your most hated rival. Now we get to see what the Horns bring to the table without that us-against-the-world mentality that’s easy to take when you’re losing to teams like BYU and Ole Miss.
Mack Brown said the team’s usual 48-hour rule was extended because the players got a little “full of themselves” after the celebration of breaking that three-game losing streak to the Sooners.
So it’s all smooth sailing from here, huh? The Longhorn Express should roll through Fort Worth like Sherman through Atlanta?
Not so fast.
The oddsmakers have installed the Horned Frogs as a two-point favorite, which is basically a pick ’em in college football. Maybe being the underdog for the second straight week in the Metroplex will give the Horns enough juice to get that fourth straight Big 12 win. Or maybe they’ll prove oddsmakers right and lose for the first time since Sept. 14.
“We’ll still perform up to par,” safety Adrian Phillips said. “Oklahoma was a great performance, but it was one game.”
THE semiweekly Vince Young waiting-for-that-phone-to-ring post has a twist.
St. Louis’ Sam Bradford tore his ACL on Sunday, leaving the Rams with only one healthy quarterback — maybe less than that considering the one guy happens to be Kellen Clemens.
The question is whether Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, who reportedly didn’t want to draft Vince with the Titans’ third overall pick in the 2006 draft, will give him a call. They have a checkered history that includes a well-documented argument in 2010, Young’s last season with the Titans, that ended with VY storming out of the locker room after reportedly cursing at Fisher.
The Rams are a respectable 3-4, and Clemens is far from the long-term solution. Neither is Young, but he’s in shape, is much more talented and carries a 31-19 career record as a starter. Plus he’s available at bargain basement prices.
One report said the Rams have had internal discussions about signing Tim Tebow — say it ain’t so — but Fisher should let bygones be bygones and give Young a call. There aren’t many great options out there outside of a trade.
THE Rams, Eagles and Bears all lost games after their quarterbacks left with injuries, underscoring the long-held belief that quarterback is the most important position in sports. There aren’t many teams outside of the Ravens (Trent Dilfer) and the Bucs (Brad Johnson) that won a Super Bowl without a dominant player at the position.
Food for thought: The 1983 NFL draft produced three Hall of Fame quarterbacks: John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly. In the 30 years since, only two quarterbacks — Steve Young (1984 draft) and Troy Aikman (1989) — have been inducted into the hallowed Hall.
FUTURE Hall of Famer Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis drew an average of 21.5 million viewers for NBC’s Sunday night telecast. Lost in all the drama surrounding Colts owner Jim Irsay’s comments about being frustrated with winning only one Super Bowl during the Manning era was the fact that the Colts will be a great team for the next 10 years.
Like him or not, Irsay made a smart business move by cutting Manning and that $20 million salary, then taking Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in 2012. He might not have handled the Manning fallout very well, but he has the Colts in a good position to contend for Super Bowls for years to come.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Colts have already beaten the Seahawks, Broncos and 49ers.
THE quote of the week comes from Colts cornerback Vontae Davis. When asked about the win over Denver, he said, “We prepared really hard for Tom Brady.”
Can’t wait to see how the Colts perform after the bye week when they visit the Houston Texans and star quarterback Dwight Howard.