Share this article

print logo

ELI'S COMING; IS MULARKEY
LISTENING?

Column as I see 'em:

Hmmmm. The New York Giants are 5-4, tied for the last spot in the jumbled NFC playoff race. But their coach, Tom Coughlin, decided to replace a fading veteran quarterback, Kurt Warner, with a rookie, Eli Manning.

"He's the future of the New York Giants. It just starts now," Coughlin said.

Memo to Mike Mularkey: This is how a veteran coach behaves. Coughlin has won before and he's secure in his beliefs. He doesn't care if people think he's giving up on the season. He's doing what's best for the franchise and moving forward.

It's a shame Minnesota left-hander Johan Santana didn't get a single first-place vote for American League MVP. Santana went 13-0 in the second half and carried an average Twins team to a divisional title. It doesn't matter if he appeared once every five days. It's how often he was the difference between winning and losing, the effect he had on his team's overall record. By that measure, Santana was more valuable than any slugger.

J.P. Losman gets thrown onto the field -- unprepared -- at the end of a blowout, and people are surprised when he struggles? This proves he's not ready to start an NFL game? Come on, the kid is a rookie. If two quick turnovers in a road game disqualified you from being Bills quarterback, Drew Bledsoe would have been out of town long ago. It's not fair to hold Losman to a higher standard than Bledsoe. Give him a week to prepare and then judge him.

LeBron James is less than two years out of high school and he's already as good as Kobe Bryant. James is still getting better. It's only a matter of time before he challenges Tim Duncan as the best player in the game. Last week, he willed the Cavaliers from 19 points down in the fourth quarter against an unbeaten Phoenix team. James is a great team player, too, with a Magic Johnson/Larry Bird command of his surroundings.

It wasn't any great surprise when the Bills' defense came up small in New England. The Bills' gaudy defensive statistics are largely the result of nasty weather and even nastier opposing offenses. In the month before the loss to the Patriots, they fattened their numbers against Baltimore, Arizona and Miami, now the NFL's 30th-, 29th- and 27th-rated offenses.

Has anyone noticed that Eric Moulds jumps in the air every time he catches a pass? The Bills lost a first down against the Pats when Moulds leaped needlessly and came down out of bounds. Maybe that's why he never seems to make any significant yardage after the catch anymore.

People always complain about the NHL and NBA seasons dragging into June. But do we really need pro golf and tennis tournaments in November?

The University at Buffalo football team showed a lot of character Saturday, coming back to win big after a discouraging loss to Kent State the week before. It's the sort of win that saves a coach's job.

What was ABC thinking when it aired that Monday night pregame skit with Terrell Owens and Nicollette Sheridan? Who did they run it by, Janet Jackson? If you think the NBA is unwatchable, you haven't watched the Phoenix Suns lately. The Suns are averaging 108 points a game and playing an old-school, up-tempo game under coach Mike D'Antoni.

Commenting on his seventh MVP award, Barry Bonds said, "I don't have many swings left in me." Of course, when you walk 232 times, you don't have to swing that often, anyway.

When NFL experts ponder the candidates for MVP, they always seem to favor quarterbacks. How about the wideouts? Owens has made a big difference in Philadelphia, and the Vikings can't win a game without Randy Moss.

Peyton Manning has thrown 31 touchdown passes in nine games. Bledsoe has 30 TD passes in his last 35 games.
e-mail: jsullivan@buffnews.com