The week-after-the-Big-One column is heavy on the Giants, as it should be. And I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on the greatest Anthem I've ever heard at a game -- the late Whitney Houston's, 21 years ago. I'll get to other things around the NFL, too, but I still find so many things fascinating about the rise of Eli Manning, and the rise of this cornerstone franchise with him.
Like an underachieving student who needs time to register academic success, the Super Bowl took a few decades before establishing itself as a sporting event that was as much about achievement as it was hype.
Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner talks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the league and players' attitudes on concussions.
Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner knows how it feels when a 250-pound defender is charging after him on the playing field. He knows the frenzied scramble, the attempt to evade a defender. Warner also knows, when none of that works, how it feels to have 250 pounds of flesh crushing him.
Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Nov. 29. Here's one of the nominations for that honor by an SI writer.
"We should have gotten better scores than we did," the football hall-of-famer tells PEOPLE
Or does Kurt Warner get the boot? Click here to find out
The actress returns to the top of the leader board, tying with frontrunner Brandy
Sometime around 1 p.m. this afternoon, Phoenix time, two quarterbacks will meet at the Arizona Cardinals' training facility. Kurt Warner, doing color for the Saints-Cardinals game on Sunday in a delicious bit of TV gerrymandering, will stand and shake hands with the man he used to be. And Max Hall, probably, will blush a little bit.
Plus: What you didn't see on last night's Dancing with the Stars
For SI.com's complete previews of the other seven NFL divisions, click here.
Scattershooting around the NFL today, starting with an injury that's going to have a major impact on the NFC North race:
In my Monday column, I told you that Houston linebacker Brian Cushing and the owner of the Texans, Bob McNair, would be asking the league to reduce or erase the four-game suspension for a positive performance-enhancing drug test based on a defense that Cushing tested positive for elevated levels of hCG because of overtrained athlete syndrome.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Cardinals running back Beanie Wells has a different look this year. After a recent attempt to line his own hair turned out poorly, the former Ohio State star decided it was better to start from scratch. So he grabbed a razor, some shaving cream and went to work.
Three Things I Think I Think on this fine Tuesday:
Now that Kurt Warner has made the call and thrown his last NFL touchdown pass with pinpoint accuracy, what do we know about the Arizona Cardinals once again being Matt Leinart's team, other than that's what it says right here?
SAN DIEGO -- Poignant weekend in a lot of ways, with the Canton-great careers of Kurt Warner and Ed Reed maybe coming to an end with bad losses, with the ageless Brett Favre Blanda-ing his way to the NFC Championship game, and with the most accurate kicker in NFL history taking the apple not once but twice in a crushing three-point loss to this year's Cinderella. And tragically poignant in a life unfulfilled, with the stunning death of a good man, Chicago defensive end Gaines Adams.
Grading out the performances from the Saints' 45-14 rout of the Cards in the NFC Divsional Playoffs ...
Breaking down the NFC divisional matchup, Cardinals at Saints, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Watching Kurt Warner dissect Green Bay's No. 2 ranked defense in Sunday's record-breaking shootout, it struck me that 10 years ago this very month we first witnessed Warner on a national stage, putting on the kind of virtuoso performance that finished off the Packers.
The game of the season came when football fans needed it, because face it: There's more suspense in a three-game Marlins-Nationals series than there was in the first three games of wild-card weekend.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- So much to chew on from one of the greatest NFL games -- playoffs or otherwise -- ever played. In honor of this epic game, we're going into the shotgun formation to try to cover as many angles of this instant classic as possible ...
Catching our breath and grading out the performances during the Cardinals 51-45 overtime win in the highest-scoring game in NFL playoff history, and the finale to wild-card weekend ...
Breaking down the NFC wild-card battle, Packers at Cardinals, Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET, Fox
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Did you notice that on a day when the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers might have all but snuffed out any dreams they had of getting back to the game's grandest stage, dropping their fourth in a row to sink to .500, it was actually last February's Super Bowl loser that forcefully announced its intentions to return?
Kurt Warner knew, as he walked to see the Arizona Cardinals team medics last Sunday morning in Nashville, that playing against the Titans was not up to them. It was up to him. His words would determine whether he'd go out on the field with his sore neck and an odd, sharp sensitivity to light.
Happy Thanksgiving Week, all. Our family will celebrate in Seattle with both daughters (hooray!), and I hope all of you have a good time eating, watching football, and giving thanks for having such a wonderful NFL columnist in your lives. You know, me.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt says he had a long talk with Kurt Warner on the flight home, and the quarterback was "very upbeat and alert" following a blow to the head in Sunday's' victory over St. Louis.
My weekly look at key matchups and storylines to watch in one game at each time slot. (All times Eastern).
What Tony Dungy is about to do with Michael Vick is no different from what Dungy has been doing with Vick for months. Nothing more formal, nothing more official, no forms to fill out, and no big-brother-NFL looking over his shoulder as the retired coach formally becomes the conditionally reinstated quarterback's mentor.
As he made his way through the 49ers' training complex Monday, free-agent quarterback Kurt Warner told a member of the organization that his heart was a two-hour plane ride away in Phoenix. The admission didn't come as a surprise. Even before Warner boarded a private jet for the ride from Arizona to Northern California, the football world knew he wanted to re-sign with the Cardinals, who won the NFC West and nearly upset the Steelers in the Super Bowl.
The 2009 season officially began Friday at 12:01 a.m. when free agency opened. What follows is a rundown of the 25 best available free agents. This list was compiled through a series of conversations with scouts and through game-tape evaluations.
Wow. What a Super Bowl to take in. What an amazing game, and yes, I still say it's the best ever ... but let's examine the quality of the officiating, the quality of the game and then Ben Roethlisberger's performance for the ages:
TAMPA -- Kurt Warner has been here before. He has been on the losing side and on the winning end of a Super Bowl decided in the final seconds.
TAMPA -- Fresh off a win that featured, at the very least, the most compelling fourth quarter in Super Bowl history, and earned them an NFL-record sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy, the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in pretty solid position to keep the good times rolling.
TAMPA -- Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes caught a six-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds to play to give the Steelers a thrilling 27-23 victory over the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII at Raymond James Stadium.
TAMPA -- Grading out the Cardinals during their 27-23 Super Bowl loss to the Steelers.
Grading out the Steelers during their 27-23 Super Bowl win over the Cardinals (Recap | Box Score) ...
TAMPA -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we struggle to digest the roller coaster and historic ride that Super Bowl XLIII was in Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night...
TAMPA -- Matt Leinart's still got it. That much was apparent as Maria Menounos patiently waited 10 minutes behind the Arizona Cardinals quarterback, waiting to talk to him while he was doing a radio interview at Super Bowl media day.
TAMPA -- You are Matt Leinart, and just as everyone expected almost from day one, you're in the Super Bowl in just your third season with the Arizona Cardinals, the team that selected you in the top 10 of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Kurt Warner did more than lift the historically dysfunctional Cardinals franchise into its first Super Bowl on Sunday. He also lifted himself past the Chosen One, Peyton Manning, to right behind Tom Brady on the list of the best quarterbacks in the NFL today.
PITTSBURGH -- The last time I saw Ben Roethlisberger in a Super Bowl locker room, he was sitting at the chair in front of his locker, leaning over, looking at the floor. This was one down dude ... and he'd just won the biggest game of his life.
Grading out the performances during the Cardinals' 32-25 NFC Championship win (Recap | Box) over the Eagles on Sunday.
PITTSBURGH -- Musings, observations and the occasional championship Sunday insight as we wrap our mind around the Super Bowl XLIII pairing for the first time amid the confetti shower that has descended upon Heinz Field....
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In the clubhouse at Tropicana Field hangs a jersey that looks completely out of place. Tropicana Field is a baseball stadium, home to the Tampa Bay Rays, and the jersey is authentic Arizona Cardinals. Manager Joe Maddon keeps it framed on a wall in his office, in part because he roots for the Cardinals, and in part because he identifies with them.
The upstart Cardinals host the surprising Eagles on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in a game that absolutely no one saw coming. Here are five subplots for the most unlikely NFC championship game ever:
Breaking down Sunday's Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals NFC championship game (3 p.m., Fox)...
Breaking down Sunday's New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals game (4:15 p.m., Eastern, Fox) ...
For at least three or four weeks now, there has been a building consensus throughout the NFL that 37-year-old Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner is the leader in the clubhouse in terms of the league's MVP race.
I'll get to the 49ers' clock management in a moment -- wow ... it was almost a fireable offense, blowing 22 vital seconds in the final minute figuring out which subs to have on the field -- but three quick points to make first on Monday night's spellbinding, weird, all-but-division-clinching 29-24 Arizona win over San Francisco:
Consider Kurt Warner a born-again MVP candidate.
After watching the Titans roll to a surprising 8-0 start, it's impossible to ignore the tremendous coaching job being done by Jeff Fisher and his staff. The 15-year veteran has his team atop the AFC South with a four-game lead, sitting in great position to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Who says that size matters? That phrase certainly doesn't apply to Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, who has been one of the NFL's top tacklers throughout his 11-year career.
Not often does a 37-year old player get a chance to ride off into the sunset on the heels of a great season, but if Kurt Warner decides to hang up the cleats after this season, he may walk away clutching an MVP award as well.
The news out of Jacksonville Monday morning that approximately 25 percent of the fans for Sunday night's Steelers-Jags contest were waving yellow Terrible Towels came as no surprise to me. The Steelers have the most dominant fan base in the National Football League and their ability to consistently travel, en masse, and infest other team's stadiums gives the Steelers a competitive advantage that no other franchise can claim.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we take in a Week 4 that turned into a veritable points-palooza in so many NFL locales (six of Sunday's early eight games saw the winner score 30 points or more) ...
Every Monday, SI.com's Michael Lombardi will hand out five letter grades to deserving NFL parties...
Any remaining doubts about who should be starting in Arizona were steamrolled in a blitzkrieg assault Sunday as Kurt Warner shredded the dreadful Dolphins defense as if it were cabbage about to become sauerkraut.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we count down the hours until the NFL's regular-season opening kickoff on Thursday night in Giants Stadium.....
The Cold, Hard Football Facts copy of the 2007 NFL Record & Fact Book was so tattered and abused that we confused it with Dan Marino's playoff legacy.
Forty seconds. Not much time. Barely longer than the shortest of television commercials that you buzz through with your DVR. Count it off: One, two, three.... You get to 40 in a blink.
FOXBORO, Mass. - Musings, observations and the occasional insight on Week 12's storylines, as we await the latest Patriots-palooza of points at Gillette Stadium ...
Kurt Warner is now 36 -- six years and two teams removed from his last full season as a starting quarterback. It's been almost a decade since he emerged out of the ether as a league MVP and Super Bowl winner, and although he's no longer the greatest quarterback in football, he just might be the greatest backup.
Quarterback issues. They're everywhere in the NFL. Injuries and ineffectiveness in Week 5 gave us a whole new set of topics to sink our teeth into. To wit:
It's hard not to be intrigued with the little twist the Arizona Cardinals are putting on their two-back offense this season. Two quarterbacks, that is.
I want to begin my Tuesday morning by thanking Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt for debunking the biggest myth in all of football: that you can't replace your starting quarterback for three or four series during a game because you'll ruin his psyche.
Trent Edwards, QB, Buffalo: The rookie enjoyed an outstanding debut against the Jets. He completed 22 of 28 passes for 234 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Though those numbers aren't staggering, the poise and efficiency Edwards displayed during his first start was impressive. Edwards may give the Bills a brighter future than J.P. Losman.
• Mike McCarthy turned to Brett Favre to attack the Chargers' secondary with an assortment of underneath crossing routes. Favre continued to make smart decisions and didn't turn the ball over on the way to an outstanding performance. After entering the season with only one proven skill player (Donald Driver) on offense, the Packers have been able to run out to a 3-0 start by using a high-percentage passing game featuring shorter routes.
This story originally appeared in the Feb. 7, 2000 issue of Sports Illustrated.
The stars have come out today. Two friends in the business check in with observations I thought I'd pass along -- the first from NFL Network host Rich Eisen about the frustration of some readers not being able to get the network on their cable systems. And Rick Gosselin, the draft maven who writes about the league so well for the Dallas Morning News. I'll let them start, and then move on with your e-mails: