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The odd minority

Let's get to it . . . Tom from Orlando, FL:
My problem with the Hall of Fame induction process is it takes into account Pro-Bowl selections. Since a third of the selection process is fan voting (i.e., a popularity contest), and so many players skip the Pro Bowl to make fourth, fifth, or sixth runners-up into Pro Bowlers, its usefulness in judging a player's contribution to the game is highly suspect.
John: I agree with you on the merit of Pro Bowl appearances, but I'm not sure how much weight they actually hold in Hall of Fame voting. Do Pro Bowls come up in the debate? Certainly. But how much? That's hard to say. Voters take many factors into account – many I know put more credence in conversations with current and former executives and current and former coaches than just about anything else – and I honestly don't think Pro Bowl appearances are at the top of the list. The Pro Bowl issue is a flaw in the process, yes, but not necessarily a major one.
Lee from Duval County, FL:
If you were a high-profile free agent receiver how would the Jaguars get you to sign with them?
John: I'd $ign for the $ame reason any high-profile free-agent $ign$ with any team.
James from Charlottesville, VA:
The Giants' playoff run: held the Falcons to two points (averaged 25 in the regular season, seventh in the NFL); Packers to 20 (35, first); 49ers to 17 (24, 11th); and Patriots to 17 (32, third). Defense wins championships.
John: A defense that can pressure the quarterback and a quarterback that can make plays – that's the formula in the NFL these days. Actually, it has been for a long, long time.
Steve from Section 206:
So are Coach Coughlin and Flava Flav homeys?
John: I don't know about homeys, but there are moments you never forget. Coughlin may or may not have any idea who Flava Flav is, but Flava Flav hugging the guy who detested and just, plain couldn't comprehend my ill-advised long hair in the mid-1990s was one of my favorite moments of the Super Bowl.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I have to admit that I was pleased when Coughlin left Jacksonville. I thought the team needed a change. I promise you that never, ever never again I will evaluate a coach on emotions. Never.
John: Welcome to your exclusive club of one.
Sean from Philadelphia, PA:
People who are so quick to write off Gabbert might need to step back and consider how bad Eli was his first year.
John: I'm just as wary of those comparisons as I'm wary of people ready to write off Gabbert. Every quarterback develops at his own rate, and just because Manning struggled early and developed obviously doesn't mean Gabbert will follow suit. Still, your point is taken – that few in New York outside the organization thought after Manning's first year he was capable of doing this. He needed what Gabbert needs – patience and time to develop. He also needed an organization to give him a chance. Like the Giants did with Manning, the Jaguars are giving Gabbert the chance.
Donny from Heathrow, FL:
I'm very happy for Coach Coughlin and I disagreed with the decision to fire him in 2002 although that's what most Jag fans wanted. His Giants team this season is not better than his Jag team was in 1999, so what's changed for TC?
John: This is another question that ignores the reality that you can't analyze the NFL in a vacuum. I'd guess Coughlin is a better coach now than in 1999 because of experience, but coaching is just one part of a complex equation and it's hard to know exactly what factors made the 2011 Giants champions and what factors caused the 1999 Jaguars to fall short. To say something changed in Coughlin that caused the Giants of this era to win and the Jaguars of that era not to win is to ignore a multitude of other factors. Still, while you can debate rosters until the end of time, there's little question the 2011 Giants team was better in two critical areas – quarterback and pass rush. Those are pretty big difference-makers in the post-season.
Keven from Atlantic Beach, FL:
O-man. At the Super Bowl party there was discussion about how much better it would be if we had Super Bowl Saturday. Despite plenty of food, drinks and fun left to be had all of us with jobs had to leave after the game ended. How do we start a grass roots, occupy Super Bowl-type movement to get this changed (you know - without having to camp out and protest though).
John: Hate to be the one to tell you, but I think you're stuck. Considering the popularity of the game, you'd have to do a whole lot of occupyin'.
David from Waxahachie, TX:
What did Poz exactly do to his shoulder?
John: He tore his labrum and had surgery January 11. He hopes to participate in OTAs and the off-season in April and said recently he'll be 100 percent for training camp.
David from Glasgow, Scotland, UK:
I can't help but think if it had been Blaine Gabbert who was called for intentional grounding throwing from his own end zone he would've been slaughtered by fans and media, called scared, etc. Tom Brady does it and nary a peep is made. Guess three rings gets you diplomatic immunity.
John: You're right. Had Gabbert done it, it would have been used as an example of all of the negatives. That's the way of the world for a young, struggling quarterback. As for Brady, he does have immunity nationally, though he has been getting more than his share of criticism from local fans and media. The locals are often tougher on their guys in the tough times.
Frank from Fernandina Beach, FL:
My two cents on the Bradshaw play. IMO, he should have never gotten the ball. If I was Coughlin as soon as they got the first down and goal to go, I would have started taking a knee to make the Pats use their remaining timeouts. The yardage lost would have been minimal and the ball would have been centered for the winning kick in PAT-range as time expired. I thought that was an instance of bad coaching. I thought for sure Belichick would have told his defense to let them score once they got the first down.
John: Coughlin said essentially that in at least one post-game interview. He said he worried at the time that not having Bradshaw fall before the end zone could have come back to haunt him. He also noted correctly that there were two ways of looking at. Citing the miss by Baltimore late in the AFC Championship game against New England, he said there wasn't any guarantee that a field goal would be made – even from a short distance. Really, there wasn't a clear-cut right-or-wrong on this one, I don't think. I agree with you that the higher-percentage play was to take the knee, but the other side of it is while Tom Brady made his legend with late-game Super Bowl drives, he did so in far simpler circumstances – and he was far from a good bet to engineer a touchdown drive in that situation with a minute remaining. In the Super Bowls following the 2001 and 2003 seasons, he led game-winning field-goal drives with the score tied. On Sunday, the task was driving for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining and that's an infinitely more difficult proposition.
Jon from St. Johns, FL and Section 124:
A couple of years ago when MJD took a knee on the one-yard line in the Jets game, I remember Rick talking about how other teams might start copying that strategy. My question is, if Bradshaw had taken the knee in the Super Bowl or if a lot of other teams started doing it, would the NFL consider making some kind of rule change to prevent that. It seems against the spirit of the game to have one team at the end of a game trying to let the other score, and that other team trying not to score.
John: Some things you can't legislate, nor should you. The idea is to win. Teams are allowed to take a knee to kill the clock at the end of the game. There are circumstances when a player wants to get a first down, but doesn't want to score. It's OK in that instance to intentionally go down and end the play.
Greg from St. Johns, FL:
There are no stupid questions, only stupid people.
John: Evidently.
Frank from St. Augustine, FL:
I've been married to my beautiful bride for over 12 years now. She's a good woman but there are a few things that bother me. She's not a Jags fan and won't go to any games so I don't go to as many games as I would like. She doesn't like it when I go off to play golf with my buddies because she wants me to spend more time with her, even though she really doesn't come out and say it. How many more years of marriage will it take for my wife to get excited for me to leave the house like your wife does for you?
John: I have no frame of reference for your problem. I don't know whether you are unfortunate or fortunate, only that you are in an odd minority that most of us can't understand.

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