King Kaufman's Sports Daily

Madden, Michaels preach to the choir: NFL preseason is bunk. Plus: Randy Moss, instant replay.

By Salon Staff
Published September 10, 2007 3:00PM (UTC)
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Al Michaels and John Madden committed some NFL-insider heresy during their season-opening Sunday night broadcast by slagging the exhibition season. All they were doing was giving voice to the complaints of virtually every fan the league has, and they were half joking anyway. But it was nice to hear from such prominent voices.

It was early in the Dallas Cowboys' 45-35 win over the New York Giants, New York having taken a 6-0 lead on a 60-yard bomb from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress, who missed the entire preseason with a bad back.


"So much for training camp, huh?" Madden said. "We've seen Plaxico Burress doesn't play a down in training camp and boom he hits the big one. Randy Moss catches nine passes today. Michael Strahan's in there in the first series, rushing. He's only practiced for four days."

Moss missed most of his first preseason with New England because of a hamstring injury. Strahan held out from the Giants until this week.

"Who needs preseason?" Michaels went along.


"That's nouveau football," Madden said, invoking a term he's using a lot already in the first two broadcasts of the year, "and I'm starting to believe in it."

Welcome to the club.

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The return of Randy Moss [PERMALINK]

The best story of Week 1 -- with two games yet to be played -- has to be Randy Moss having a huge game in his debut with the New England Patriots. You know this by now, but Moss caught nine passes for 183 yards including a 51-yard touchdown as the Patriots blasted the New York Jets 38-14.


Moss was summarily dumped by the exasperated Minnesota Vikings after the 2004 season, traded to the Oakland Raiders for a couple of draft picks and linebacker Napoleon Harris, not exactly the haul you'd expect for one of the game's elite players unless his team was tired of dealing with him.

Moss spent two lost years in Oakland before the Raiders traded him for a fourth-rounder to the Patriots, who were criticized in some circles for doing that thing the Patriots just don't do, going for a big-name player who appears to be past his prime.


Maybe that's what he is. Maybe Sunday was just a blip in his decline, but it didn't really look that way, did it? What it looked like was that the Patriots have done that thing they do so well: They signed an undervalued player they figured could fit a role, namely giving Tom Brady the deep threat he has been lacking.

You know where you end up by underestimating the Patriots? Watching them play in February.

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NFL should give instant replay the ol' college try [PERMALINK]

Would someone from the NFL please talk to the college football people about instant replay? The ponderous, endless replay delays of the NFL are somehow avoided in the college ranks, where the matter is handled much more efficiently.


Watching a college game, it's easy to not even be aware a review is taking place until the referee announces to the crowd that the ruling on the field has been upheld or overturned.

In the NFL, it's impossible not to know. There's an alleged time limit on reviews, which has actually been shrunk this year from 90 seconds to 60. Right. In reality, life as we know it grinds to a halt for four or five minutes -- if not more -- whenever there's a challenge.

The college system just seems better all around -- words that rarely appear in this column. Coaches get only one challenge per game, but the review official can buzz the field officials any time there's a play that looks like it should be reviewed.

That's a situation ripe for abuse, with every single play under review and collegiate officials neutered to an even greater extent than NFL officials are, refusing to ever make a call, simply waiting for the eye in the sky to sort it out. But in college replay's brief history, it hasn't shaken out that way.


I haven't noticed college officials hesitating to make calls the way their NFL counterparts do, but I watch a lot more pro football than college football. Maybe my rosy view of the college game is coloring my impression.

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Our limited understanding [PERMALINK]


Hey, what ever happened to that stat the "Monday Night Football" crew -- now the Sunday night crew -- came up with a few years ago that measures how fast a football pass would have been going if it were not a football pass but a baseball pitch?

Remember that? Gee, I thought that was going to be a useful stat.

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