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Road to Hall looks bumpy for Reed

As you might have surmised, I wasn't pleased with the Hall of Fame voters for snubbing Thurman Thomas on his first try. But at least Thomas is a near-lock to get in soon. That's more than you can say about his former Bills teammate Andre Reed. Based on the events of Super Bowl week, it looks as if Reed has a long, tough road ahead.

If Michael Irvin didn't make it in his second time on the ballot, it's a bad sign for Reed, who is regarded as a lesser Hall candidate. Even more alarming is the fact that Art Monk, whose career statistics are similar to Reed's, continues to fall short in the estimation of the voters. And Monk was on winning Super Bowl teams.

Modern voters are discriminating with wide receivers. Teams throw far more often nowadays, so a lot of wideouts are building gaudy statistical resumes. That makes it difficult to distinguish the very good from the truly great. The longer Reed has to wait, the greater his competition for the Hall will be.

Take Pittsburgh's Hines Ward. By the time he retires, Ward will have receiving stats comparable to Reed's. Now, he'll also have a Super Bowl MVP award. Ward is also one of the best blocking receivers in the game. Some day, given a choice, I'm afraid a lot of voters will favor Ward over Reed.


Every football coach warns his players not to say anything that might inflame the opposing team before a big game. It's one of the oldest tenets in the profession. But after what happened to Jerramy Stevens last week, it might become standard practice to rip an opposing player before the Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter singled out Stevens for abuse after the Seattle tight end said Jerome Bettis would leave Detroit without a Super Bowl ring. Porter spent two days tearing Stevens apart for his seemingly innocuous comment. He called him an underachiever. He called him soft. He told him to watch his back.

All over America, coaches cringed at Porter's foolish comments. What was he thinking, providing Stevens with such motivational fodder? So much for the motivational myth. Stevens caught a TD pass, but he also dropped three passes and turned out to be the game's biggest goat.


All right, so maybe the Tom Brady comparisons were a little strong. Ben Roethlisberger made a couple of big plays, and he became the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl. But he had a miserable night against the Seahawks.

Roethlisberger's rating for the game (22.6) was more than 100 points lower than his rating for the Steelers' first three playoff games. And when he threw that brutal interception to Kelly Herndon near the goal line, did anyone else have flashbacks to J.P. Losman's ill-advised pick at Miami?


The silliest story of the week had to be Texas A&M taking legal action against the Seahawks for the use of the term "12th Man." The university, which claims it invented the term in 1922, trademarked the phrase in 1990. A&M had sent letters to the Seahawks twice before, asking them to cease and desist from referring to their fans as the 12th Man.

Come on. Does this mean the Bills are supposed to take down the 12th Man from the Wall of Fame, too? This is like someone claiming ownership of the term "sixth sense" or "cloud nine."


No, the officials didn't decide the Super Bowl. The fix wasn't in. It wasn't the officials who allowed Willie Parker to run 75 yards for a TD. The officials didn't mismanage the clock before halftime. But after watching a month of shoddy postseason officiating, I'm more convinced than ever that the NFL has to stop using part-time officials.

If the league can afford to pay the Rolling Stones $2 million for a halftime show, it can pay to have full-time officials.


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