St. Cloud Times from Saint Cloud, Minnesota on January 11, 2000 · Page 26
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St. Cloud Times from Saint Cloud, Minnesota · Page 26

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Saint Cloud, Minnesota
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Tuesday, January 11, 2000
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Page 26
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4D St Cloud Times NFL football Tuesday, Jan. 11,2000 The road to Super Bowl XXXIV America Football Conference i Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 l ..ii At; J t I wy'j V-i" v ( Jan. 15 and Jan. 16 Sunday, Jan. 23 ""jg jOJOf Miami T National Football Conference n -tmiiiii ii i : " itr Willi' z Sunday. Jan. 9." 3:05 p.m. (CBS) at Seattle , Buffalo Saturday. Jan. 8 11 :30 a.m. (ABC) at Tennessee Saturday. Jan.15. 11 35 a.m. (CBS) at Jacksonville Tennessee Sunday, Jan. 16, 3:05 p.m. (CBS) at Indianapolis Divisional playoff Sunday, Jan. 30, 5:18 p.m. (ABC) At Atlanta AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion Sunday, Jan. 23 Jan. 15 and Jan. 16 Minnesota All times CST Divisional playoff Sundav. Jan. 16, 11:35 a.m. (FOX) at St. Louis Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 Dallas C Sunday, Jan. 9, 11:35 a.m. (FOX) 44 Uinnaenta Detroit Washington Saturday. Jan. 15 3:i&p.m.(i-UX) at Tampa Bay Saturday, Jan. 8, 3:05 p.m. (ABC) at Washington Little playoff experience remains Three of this week's favored nfl playoffs teams start quarterbacks with zero playoff starts By Dave Goldberg ASSOCIATED PRESS SPORTS WRITER Here's why the NFL playoffs are as wacky as the 1999 season: Dan Marino's 16 postseason starts are more than the combined starts of the quarterbacks remaining in the playoffs. Jacksonville's Mark Brunei! is second with six. Brad Johnson and Jeff George have two each, Steve McNair has one (Saturday) and Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner and Shaun King will be making their first starts. Guess what? The teams quarterbacked by Manning, Warner and King are heavy favorites this week as the Super Bowl sweepstakes move to the second round. Miami (10-7) at Jacksonville (14-2) Jacksonville's only losses this year were to Tennessee, and they would have played the Titans if Seattle had beaten Miami. So while the Dolphins played Sunday as they had in their 7-1 start and not their 2-6 finish, this matchup would seem to be a relief for the Jaguars. But Jacksonville has lost Tony Boselli and Brunell will play with a bad knee, meaning he won't be as mobile as usual behind an offensive line that's without the NFL's best tackle. Miami's defense, seemingly worn down in the waning weeks of the regular season, had six sacks in Seattle on Sunday and held the Seahawks to just 171 yards, 32 in the second half. That makes Fred Taylor, he of the hamstring problems, the most important Jaguar. Without Boselli, hell have to work harder. But if he succeeds, he can keep the pressure off Brunell long enough for him to find Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith. The Miami offense will run and run and run it even ran Sunday on a couple of third-and-5s. It ran so much it ended up giving Marino time to make three big plays on the winning drive. How to sort this out? The best line on the game comes from the oddsmakers, who because of Jacksonville's injuries have no line. Washington (11 -6) at Tampa Bay (11 -5) Washington probably will be without Stephen Davis, the NFC's leading rusher, as well as two starring offensive linemen, left tackle Andy Heck and center Cory Raymer. They could lose a third if the NFL suspends Tie Johnson for striking an official during a second half melee in Washington's easy win over Detroit on Saturday. That doesn't bode well against what might be the league's best defense, particularly after a restful bye week. King, Tampa Bajft rookie quarterback, is probably too green to carry die Bucs to the Super Bowl, but the defense should tear up the Washington backup offensive linemen. If Davis can play, it's another story. But if he plays at aU, hell be limping. Advantage Bucs. Minnesota (1 1-6) at SL Louis (13-3) The Rams won by an average of 25 points a game this year at home, albeit against mediocre to poor opposition. The Vikings are neither mediocre nor poor. They have the weapons to take advantage of a St Louis secondary that may be overrated Todd Lyght is going to the Pro Bowl but a lot of teams picked on him this season. One more advantage for Minnesota is George. He's had 10 bumpy years of NFL experience, although Sunday's win over Dallas was just his second playoff game. Warner had a fairy tale season and was the league's MVP. But playoff pressure is something else. (See Marino over Jon Kitna in Seattle.) Still, it's hard to see the Rams slipping, particularly at home. If the offenses are equal, the Rams have the better defense and their special teams have been a weapon all season. Advantage Rams in a game where the over-under is a monstrous 52. Tennessee (14-3) at bxfanapoGs (13-3) As its record shows, Tennessee isn't a typical wild-card team. On the other hand, the Titans would be packing their bags if not for one freak play. The Colts are missing Cornelius Bennett, the glue to the defense all seasoa That puts a bigger load on Chad Bratzke. But the Titans cant play this game as they did the Bills McNair has to throw against an average secondary and he has to scramble. Manning and friends will score, even against the good Tennessee defense, and the Titans will have to stay with them. There's also the Jevon Kearse factor. He was responsible for nine points against the Bills, making up for a conservative game plan on offense. Manning has a quick release and plays like he's 30, not 23. But it's his first playoff game, too. Slight edge Colts. James named NFL's Offensive Rookie of Year NEW YORK (AP) Edgerrin James gave the Indianapolis Colts the edge this seasoa In doing so, he was a near-unanimous choice as The Associated Press' NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year James, the fourth overall pick in last April's draft, rewarded the Colts' faith with an All-Pro year. The running back from the University of Miami known as "The Edge" rushed for 1,553 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 62 passes for 586 yards and four scores. Only Marshall Faulk, who was dealt by the Colts to the Rams last spring to make room for James, had more total yardage. Such impressive numbers, plus serving as a catalyst m the Colts' record turnaround from 3-13 to 13-3, earned James 49 of the 50 votes from a nationwide panel of media members in balloting announced Monday. "What happened to the other one vote?" James said with a laugh. "It should have been 50." Cleveland Browns receiver Kevin Johnson got the other vote. "I said, for myself, I want to make my mark in the NFL," James said. "This is the highest level and this is where it goes down in history. I want to play as many years as Fm able, so I wanted to get here and make plays and play." Coincidentally, James got a lift from watching the way Faulk performs. He emulated the veteran so well that they were the All-Pro running backs this year. "I love to watch Marshall play," James said. "He is one of the ones I love to Edgerrin James OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF YEAR NFL Offensive Rookie of Year , watch, he has the game figured out to where ifs so easy. "I look at his pass routes, he is one of the best ever to run them, and I try to pattern myself after the way Marshall does it. I try to kill them both ways. You're not always going to be able to run the ball in the NFL If they won't let me rim it, TU get past it by catching it" !.' James was at the center of a contrb-versy on draft day when Colts president Bill Polian drafted him instead of Ricky Williams, the Heisman Trophy winner who wound up in New Orleans. The Saints didn't get much from their investment, which cost them every other 1999 pick and the first and third this year. Williams couldn't stay healthy and the Saints went 3-13. The Colts got everything they coufl have wanted from James, a sensation from die first day of training camp right through to the clinching of the AFC East, die league's best division. "It's amazing when someone comes in like he did and does what he did," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "Right from the beginning, you could see Edgerrin was willing to work hard and do what it takes to succeed." That included early-morning meetings and film sessions, all with the idc$ of making an immediate impact. "You try to make it look easier than it is," said James, who certainly did that "This comes from spending a lot of time ever since I got drafted I got there at 630 in the morning at the meeting room and went to work." Instant replay has few fans in Buffalo By Jim Utke ASSOCIATED PRESS SPORTS WRITER For those who can't wait for more than a oneword answer to the question, "Whatis wrong with instant replay? here it is: Buffalo. Every time the dry and its sports fans wind up on one side of a replay controversy it doesn't matter which side it turns out to be the wrong one. It's a feeling Yogi Berra once described as being "like deja vu all over again," except nobody in that corner of world is laughing about it at the moment The problems with replay are easy to list: It's not foolproof, it delays games unnecessarily, intimidates referees, and the NFLs own studies confirm the calls on the field are almost always right But that's not the worst of it The real threat it presents to the game is the notion that there is a way to guarantee justice. Go ask the people of Buffalo about that Li the AFC wild-card game last January, the Bills got knocked out of the playoffs by Miami soon after officials ruled that Andre Reed's apparent touchdown catch with two minutes remaining was downed at the 1-yard line instead. Reed went ballistic, but there was no court of appeals at the time, and so he got ejected for protesting. The subsequent penalty pushed the Bills back far enough to where they had to kick a field goal in what became a 24-17 loss. In the wild-card game Saturday, the Bills got knocked out of the playoffs by Tennessee right after kicking the ball to the Titans with only a few seconds left Lorenzo Neal caught it at his own 24, then handed it back to Frank Wycheck, who took a few steps to his right, turned and threw toward the left sideline to Kevin Dyson. What followed was one of the most thrilling and most disputed plays in S3 -. KTjt- j,Aj? A J .1 W7 AP PHOTO Titans' fans give the touchdown signal as referee Phil Luckett checks the replay of a controversial klckoff return that let Tennessee defeat Buffalo. NFL history. After catching what looked at first glance like an illegal forward pass, Dyson raced 75 yards up the sideline untouched with the winning score. Unlike a year earlier, none of die Bills lost his cooL That's because there was an appeals process in place this time, in large part because their very influential owner, 81-yearold Ralph Wilson, helped restore instant replay by changing his vote during die off seasoa So this time, the Bills waited for the videotape to confirm their suspicions and for the call to be reversed They didn't seem overly concerned that the referee in charge, Phil Luckett, couldn't get a coin toss right on Thanksgiving a year ago or that he couldn't tell that the Jets' Vinny Testaverde hadn't crossed the goal line against the Sea-hawks after that Not at first, anyway. Those kinds of calls were why Wilson, often described as the "conscience" of the NFL, dropped his long-standing opposition in the first place. Then Luckett finished watching die replay on camera, emerged from under the hood, marched onto the field and uttered the words that will join "wide right" in turning reasonable citizens from that otherwise agreeable New York metropolis into raging lunatics: "After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field stands." In Luckett's defense, the replays were inconclusive. But it didn't take long for Buffalo defensive end Marcellus Wiley to let league officials know what he thought about its referees. "I know Pm getting fined, and Via not the richest man on the team. They'll take (the money) before I even see it. But I've been playing football since I was 8 years old and this happens. I don't even want to play football agaia "We didn't get beat, we got takea" Whether the richest man on the team felt the same way, he wouldn't say. "I just glanced up at the TV on the replay," said Wilson, ever the company man, "and it looked like it was a little forward. But I'm not going to question that" ASfaM0Ba-Yours Free! All Five New 1999 United States Quarters zx jwk yS px (fcm CMS fofeA mtfm jil, V JiJi' J "rt"' ?" I III f5 J V Ku'J Llnr'A t " V y-.' 1 I i i Q of Ofw 1 Draratt NKHor JO Stat Mjp hois, ill 50 N Qualm in dm historic Unrted Salts Mini Quanti CoUcdkm. Stoii sralkT dun icnul sue of I5x2T. with the purchase of this Historic United States Quarter Map The United States Mint made history this year with the release of the first Quarters from the JO Stales of the Union Quarter Collection. The Delaware Quarter is already selling for 2-3 times its original issue price-a 200 to 300 increase. All Five-Yours Free! Now for a limited time Bill Gale, known for his frequent appearances on television, will give you - ABSOLUTELY FREE - the first five quartets of this historic collection... Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut when you order the dramatic Full-Color 50 State Quarter map. 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