- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 13, 2007

An interesting story by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News that ran on Thursday. Gosselin tracked man-games missed by every NFL team and suffice to say, the Redskins can’t blame their injury situation.

Starters missed 29 games for the Redskins this season and nine players started all 16 games. I’m not privy to his research, but that number gets ratcheted up if Pierson Prioleau is counted as a starter at safety.

The healthiest team in the NFL was Dallas, which lost only eight games to injury and had 17 players start every game. The fact the Cowboys could also go 9-7 with such good injury luck is even more reason for disappointment in Big D.

Cleveland led the league with 83 games lost to injury and, among the remaining playoff teams, Seattle (59) lost the most games.

The totals: 1,288 starts lost because of injury, 90 players placed on injured reserve, 300 players started all 16 games.

*Another column of note on Friday came from ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons. He raised an interesting point about “older” coaches not running winning teams.

According to Simmons, eight of the 12 playoff coaches this year are younger than 55 years old. And those in the 55-plus set — Parcells, Coughlin, Green, Gibbs, Shell — were in charge of teams that either stunk like month-old milk or underachieved.

* I’m back in New Orleans for the second time in a month and staying at the same hotel on Canal Street, about a 5-minute walk from the French Quarter. But Friday night, I went the other way, to Harrah’s. Being the big spender that I am, I lost $5 on $.25 slots. The casino was packed, especially the poker area. But several bars around the casino were nearly empty.

* For those interested, I turn 32 years old today. Horray for me.

* Whenever I watch Drew Brees play in person — and tonight’s game will be the fourth time since college — I remember his game against Kansas State in the 1998 Alamo Bowl. He was Purdue’s sophomore quarterback. K-State — my alma mater and the team I was covering for the Manhattan Mercury newspaper — was 11-1 but playing in a second-tier bowl because other bowl officials naturally assumed the Cats would beat Texas A&M; in the Big 12 title game and advance to the national title game against Tennessee. But A&M; beat K-State in overtime and the Cats fell “down” to the Alamo Bowl.

Before the game, I remember doing an informal poll amongst the K-State beat writers: How early in the game would Brees, this little QB, be knocked out of the game?

Four hours later, Brees was the Offensive MVP as Purdue stunned No. 4 K-State 38-34 (the Defensive MVP was current New England Patriot Rosevelt Colvin). Brees was 25 of 53 for 230 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 30 seconds remaining. Brees was the star because Purdue rushed 24 times for a grand total of 5 yards.

K-State’s QB, Michael Bishop, remains the best college player I’ve covered. He finished second to Ricky Williams in the Heisman Trophy balloting, was drafted by New England and was Drew Bledsoe’s back up before losing the job to … Tom Brady.

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