First-time “Ref” Joshua Fidler decides the winner in Week 8. Correspondent Ken Mauss, Sports Editor Hilarey Wojtowicz, and Staff Writer Chris Rotolo have a tough decision in picking who they think will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, what they would do as GM of the New York Mets to make them a playoff team, and how Brett Favre should be punished for his most recent scandal.
1. Who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl?
KM: After six weeks, the NFC is more wide open than most could have imagined. The Eagles, Falcons, Bears, Giants and Saints all have above a .500 record, the Cowboys are last in the NFC East and seemingly out of it, and there are many teams at the halfway mark that have plenty of questions. The Falcons are the most complete team, but just got throttled by the Eagles. The Saints have four wins but the teams they’ve defeated are a combined 6-15 on the season and they’ve yet to look like the championship team of last year. The Giants are wildly inconsistent, and the Eagles don’t have a set quarterback. That leaves the Bears. Defense wins championships, and the Bears have allowed the least amount of points per game in the NFC at 16.2. I’ll take Brian Urlacher and the Bears in the NFC.
HW: It’s tough to say at this point in the season with there being so many teams with the same records on the board, but I’m going to have to say the Giants. They’re first in the NFC East so far this season. The Giants are ranked second in overall opposing passing yards allowed. Manning may not have been able to surpass his brother, but the team hasn’t lost to anyone in the NFC yet this season either, whereas the Falcons have lost to the Eagles, and the Eagles have lost to both the Redskins and the Packers. Brandon Jacobs has got four scores in the last three weeks, too. The Giants are bringing it hard this season, so they’ve got my spot in the Super Bowl.
CR: The Giants will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl for three reasons. First, the thunder (Brandon Jacobs) and lightning (Ahmad Bradshaw) running assault appears to be back on track now that Jacobs has accepted his reduced role and started running north/south. Second, the defense has gotten consistent pressure on various quarterback’s now that Osi Umenyiora isn’t a three-down rusher and the new scheme allows Justin Tuck, Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka to rush from off the line of scrimmage. And finally, like in 2008, the Giants are flying under the radar. Nobody expects them to be in the big game which makes them dangerous and my pick to get to Arlington.
JF: I will give Chris 3 points because I also believe the Giants will be the team, and he mentions that the offense is playing good football, and that the defense has been getting to the quarterback. I will give Hilarey 2 points because she also chose the Giants. I will give Ken 1 point because although the Bears have a good defense, they can’t protect Cutler, and they have too many turnovers this year.
2. If you were the General Manager of the New York Mets, what would you do to make them a playoff team?
KM: While their two biggest rivals were battling in their respective League Championship Series, the Mets were looking for replacements at GM and Manager. The first thing the Mets should do is get rid of
Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Carlos Beltran. Release Perez and Castillo. It would be addition by subtraction. Beltran doesn’t want to be in Queens, and he could be a perfect fit for Boston. J.D. Drew has an expiring contract next year, and while Drew won’t match Beltran’s stats, he won’t be a negative in the locker room. Finally, get rid of Fransisco Rodriguez. His antics were unacceptable, and an embarrassment to the organization and the fan base. Throwing as much money as possible at Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford and hoping one bites won’t hurt either, but it’s a long shot either ends up in Queens. The Mets are a long way from postseason baseball.
HW: Alright, the General Manager is supposed to be making the decisions for the team. But it seems that lately co-owner and also the owner’s son, Jeff Wilpon is having more input on who the team recruits and plays then the person who should be doing that. As GM, I would get better recruiters to find the players we need to make it to the postseason. Smaller, less experienced teams, like the Rangers and the Rays who have a lower salaries, have better recruiters. We need to look to those teams to also get players like Cliff Lee or Evan Longoria, especially before we lose the opportunity to get them.
CR: The first thing I would do is get rid of all the lazy-minded ballplayers on the roster. I don’t care if you have to eat the expensive contract, Oliver Perez needs to spend the rest of his tenure out of Mets uniform and in Binghamton. I would trade Jose Reyes while anybody still thinks he’s worth anything. And Luis Castillo needs to have a severely reduced role. This team needs less “talent” and more heart. The Mets were fun to watch and even won a good amount of games when Carlos Beltran, Castillo, Perez and Reyes were injured at the same time last year. Angel Pagan developed into a legitimate starting center fielder and leadoff man Jesus Feliciano transformed into a fan favorite, and Ike Davis and Josh Thole emerged as solid young cogs in the machine. Thus, less “talent” and more heart. Oh, and sign Cliff Lee.
JF: I give Hilarey 3 points for pointing out how the Mets have not done a good job recruiting. The Mets need to draft better than they have been doing. I give Chris 2 points because he mentions that the Mets have several good young players, but I disagree with trading Jose Reyes. I give Ken one point because I don’t think getting Drew will help the Mets. J.D. Drew is a poor defensive outfielder and the Mets need good defensive outfielders to roam the vast expanses of the Citi Field outfield.
3. If found guilty, how should Brett Favre be punished for his recent scandal?
KM: The only thing Brett Favre is currently being found guilty of is embarrassment. Without Jenn Sterger or the two massage therapists who worked for the Jets coming forward against Favre, there is no case. Favre making suggestive phone calls isn’t illegal, unless Sterger had asked him to stop; which she did not. If league officials determine these actions are against the NFL’s Player Conduct Policy though, Commissioner Goodell will have to decide if he’s going to end one of the greatest streaks in sports history. Brett Favre has not committed a crime or an illegal action like Ben Roethlisberger or Michael Vick, so ultimately there is no reason for Favre to be suspended at this time, without a suit being filed by Sterger or the Jets’ employees.
HW: If Brett Favre just came clean and let the whole world know how small his package really is, then he’d be punished enough because of the humiliation. However, we can’t just let him get away with this either and keep playing. Teams have sat other players, like Michael Vick, for crimes and bad behavior and I don’t think Favre is any exception. Let him warm the bench for a little, and maybe he won’t be so desperate to get with Jenn Sterger, or any other girl for that matter, once he remembers how much he loves playing the game on the field.
CR: Favre should be punished like any other business man in a sexual harassment case. Whatever the law says that’s what the punishment should be. Professional athletes are people and our society needs to stop holding them to different standards, greater or lesser. If it’s a fine, if it’s a lawsuit, that should be the punishment. I don’t think the Vikings will fire him considering the incident occurred while the quarterback was a member of the Jets. My point is, athletes are people and when it comes to the law they should be held as accountable as any Joe on the street. Ben Roethlesberger and Braylon Edwards should be in jail, Mike Vick should still be in prison, and Plaxico Burress actually received the correct amount of prison time.
JF: I give Hilarey 3 points because although no lawsuit has been filed yet, there is still a violation of the NFL’s Player Conduct Policy, and Favre should be sat, or suspended. I give Ken 2 points for saying that there was no lawsuit. I give Chris 1 point because Favre has not broken the law unless a case is filed.
Hilarey wins this week’s AtD, 8 - 6 - 4