Some thoughts on the week that was in sports:
-Nobody will ever be able to compare the Patriots' run of three Lombardi trophies in four years to the Packers of the 60's, 70's Steelers, 80's 49ers or 90's Cowboys. But what they accomplished in the modern salary cap era makes it very impressive. No team has ever won three straight Super Bowls. The '90 49ers lost the NFC title game to the Giants on a last second Matt Bahr field goal at Candlestick Park. That was the closest any team going for three in a row ever came to reaching the Super Bowl. That's what makes next year intriguing.
-When Rodney Harrison finishes with more catches than Freddie Mitchell, it speaks volumes about Mitchell's game on the field and we don't mean that in a good way. The so-called "People's Champion" might want to consider giving back that nickname to WWE superstar The Rock. If you smell what we're cooking!
-Deion Branch was the best kept secret for the champion Patriots for a while. He only had 10 catches in their Super Bowl XXXVIII victory over Carolina. He's gone under the radar because of his size and also because he missed a good portion of 2004. Last Sunday, he stepped into the spotlight and made some huge plays. Was there any one prettier than that third down and long leap he snatched between two Eagle defenders?
-Terrell Owens took a lot of heat the past two weeks for his belief in God being able to put him back on the field. His confidence never wavered despite how much his ankle hurt. Against a solid Patriot D, he was brilliant and tried to carry the Eagles on his back. That nine reception 122 yard performance was one of the most courageous we've ever seen. Say what you want about Owens the person. But you can never question his heart.
-Was that playcalling Andy Reid used down 10 points with under 7:00 left from the Herm Edwards/Paul Hackett playbook? At least the Jets weren't trailing against Pittsburgh.
-Can we please stop hearing about Donovan McNabb's struggles in the huddle? The bottom line was he didn't get it done. The odd thing was he had his moments where he drove the Eagles down the field without any problems. But then there were those inconsistencies which led to three interceptions and the horrible lack of leadership when his team needed to manage the clock better down the stretch. That ultimately cost the Eagles their first Super Bowl championship.
-Tom Brady wasn't spectacular on Sunday but he was efficient. He did fumble the ball once but never made the mistakes his counterpart made. When he needed to make plays after a slow start, Brady stepped up. That kind of calm under pressure is what separates him from other quarterbacks.
-Who else thinks Ted Bruschi is on the level of Ray Lewis?
-Against a more talented North Carolina squad at Cameron Indoor Arena, Duke once again showed why they'll be a tough out next March. J.J. Redick is as good as anyone.
-We haven't seen a better college basketball team this year than Illinois. We'll see if they can win their last six games and enter the tournament a perfect 30-0.
-Vince Carter has been everything advertised since becoming a Net. He put on a show in two wins this past week, scoring more than 40 against both the Pistons and 76ers. It's fun to watch him and a rejuvenated Jason Kidd work their magic.
-While the Knicks struggle to win games, Trevor Ariza continues to show flashes of brilliance.
-I get more excited to watch Phil Mickelson on a Par 4 than Tiger Woods.
-With Andre Agassi returning to play Davis Cup next month, maybe he can teach Andy Roddick a thing or two about keeping his composure during big matches.
-All the writers who criticize Jason Giambi for how he handled that press conference Thursday need a reality check. Giambi didn't even owe them one. It's people like Mike Lupica who feel they're bigger than these athletes and think they're entitled to everything. Did they ever once realize the ramifications if Giambi had mentioned steroids the other day? Did they stop to think that maybe if he had said what he was sorry for, the Yankee organization would have had an open and shut case to void his contract. What if you were Giambi and you were told not to discuss any details of what you testified to a grand jury over a year ago? Would you sacrifice your career so that the team that was gullible enough to sign you could have an excuse to not pay you? I don't think so. The media can be rough when it comes to these things. But for them to play dumb and act like they didn't know what Giambi was sorry about is as phony as anything.
-Whatever happened to the Bud Bowl?