NFL Notebook: Archie would choose Peyton over Saints
Share with others:
With the Saints and Colts both undefeated, Archie Manning keeps hearing the question: Who would he root for in a Super Bowl between his old team and his son's club?
The answer is easy for the former New Orleans quarterback. As Manning says, "The Saints are third on my list." Tied for first, of course, are the squads quarterbacked by his sons, Peyton's Indianapolis Colts and Eli's New York Giants.
Not that Manning isn't thrilled by the success of his former club, for which he starred on losing teams. He still lives in the hurricane-battered city, where long-suffering fans are captivated by the Saints' 12-0 start.
"They're no phonies. They're for real," Manning said this week.
We know the Steelers are done. But as for the other team from last season's Super Bowl matchup, the Arizona Cardinals are very much alive; alive despite what Fox analyst and former coach Jimmy Johnson proclaimed in September.
"I know it's just one game, but stick a fork in them, they're done," he said at the time. "They lost a couple outstanding coordinators. They've got disgruntled receivers and a quarterback that's just a couple years younger than me and he's hurt. With their schedule, it'll be tough for them to win three games by midseason."
Check that. The Cardinals (8-4) have won four of five and can clinch the NFC West with a victory tomorrow night in San Francisco. And that old quarterback? Kurt Warner has registered a 120-plus passer rating in each of his past four starts. Only Johnny Unitas in 1965 has equaled that feat.
Through 13 weeks, NFL games are averaging 16.8 million viewers, the highest average at this point in a season since 1989. Eighty-seven percent of games are the top-rated shows in the teams' local markets. Nowhere has viewership increased like New Orleans, though, where ratings are up 37 percent from last year. When the Saints play, 69 percent of the TVs in New Orleans that are in use are tuned to their game.
The UFL will make its first impact on the NFL today. The Redskins released kicker Shaun Suisham this week and signed Graham Gano, who converted 13 of 16 field goal attempts for the United Football League champion Las Vegas Locomotives this fall.
Perhaps it was a coincidence. Maybe it would have happened even had the foundering Patriots not lost to Miami, 22-21, last Sunday to fall to 7-5. But when they were tardy for an 8 a.m. meeting Wednesday, Randy Moss, Adalius Thomas, Gary Guyton and Derrick Burgess all were sent home for the day by Bill Belichick.
JaMarcus Russell, No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft and benched Raiders quarterback, spoke for the first time since being replaced by Seton-LaSalle graduate Bruce Gradkowski (2-1 in three starts since taking over).
"At first, it was very embarrassing to get pulled out," Russell said. "I think that would be for anybody." But he eventually came to terms with it. "I kind of took it, sat down and thought about it, just prayed about the situation," he continued. "And God, he doesn't make [any] mistakes."
There was some question in Oakland circles if he was actually referring to The Supreme Being or Al Davis' alias.
While the Saints and Colts strive for perfection, the Chargers are riding their own streak -- 15-0 in December under Norv Turner. ... Tennessee's Chris Johnson is only the fifth player in history to rush for 1,500 yards in 12 games. The other four: Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Terrell Davis and O.J. Simpson. ... With 100 yards today vs. St. Louis, Johnson will break Earl Campbell's Oilers/Titans franchise record of seven 100-yard games in a row. ... With the Saints already having clinched the NFC South title, this marks the seventh year in a row that at least one team has gone from worst to first in their division.
First Published December 13, 2009 12:00 am