|Saints coach Payton finds inspiration on why not to rest players|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 02 April 2008 09:32|
And he's not referring to the Giants' stunning wild-card run to the Super Bowl title that included four road wins.
Payton, once an assistant coach in New York, is certain his peers were just as impressed with how the Giants performed in a 38-35 loss to New England that completed the Patriots' unbeaten regular season. New York already was set to be at Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs and had little to gain from playing its regulars, but did anyway.
Five weeks later, the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
``After watching what happened with the Giants playing the Patriots in Week 17, when the game ended you felt the Giants had done something that served them well,'' Payton said. ``Before they think about changing rules (on reseeding playoff teams), ask the coaches what they would choose, resting players or going for the momentum. It changed with me. Now, I think I'd play to win and not rest my players.
``Momentum going into the postseason is worth more, seeing what the Giants did.''
The reseeding proposal never got to a formal vote Wednesday before being withdrawn.
``If you win the division,'' Payton said, ``I think you've got to play a home playoff game.''
AWARD NOMINEES: The Professional Football Writers Association announced the finalists for its five awards, considered among the most prestigious in the sport.
Commissioner Roger Goodell is one of the five nominees for the Horrigan Award, given to the NFL person who is most helpful to the media. The forthright Goodell, who is far more accessible than predecessor Paul Tagliabue, is joined by Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney and Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian.
Recently retired Brett Favre is nominated for the Good Guy Award along with Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, Colts safety Bob Sanders, Vikings safety Darren Sharper and Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor.
The Halas Award, given for overcoming adversity, has an entire team nominated: the Washington Redskins. Safety Sean Taylor died late last season after suffering gunshot wounds during a burglary at his house, then the Redskins went on to make the playoffs.
Also in the running for the award are Bills tight end Kevin Everett, who has made a remarkable recovery after briefly becoming paralyzed making a tackle during Buffalo's season opener; Cowboys linebacker Greg Ellis, the AP's Comeback Player of the Year; and two Giants, receiver Plaxico Burress and quarterback Eli Manning.
Finalists for the McCann Award for dedication to reporting are Vic Carucci, Vinny DiTrani, Peter Finney, Len Pasquarelli and the late Alan Greenberg.
In contention for the Rozelle Award given to the public relations staff that most helps the media are the Cardinals, Giants, Eagles, Seahawks and Chargers.
DEFENSIVE COMMUNICATOR: The NFL is not the first pro football league to approve use of a communicating device for defensive players. Arena Football began doing it this year between a coach and a linebacker.
The result has been more defensive stops, fewer penalties and, surprisingly, an increase in scoring.
``What ultimately led to the rule change in October was fair competition due to the high level of energy that our fans and players emit during a typical Arena Football game,'' said Dallas Desperados CEO Shy Anderson, also chairman of the AFL rules and competition committee. ``That energy level is so high that at times the defense wasn't on equal ground to the offense. Since adding defensive communication devices, there have been more defensive stops and less penalties, but no change to the game atmosphere.''
PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY: Steelers tackle Willie Colon earned $309,534 from the league's performance-based pay distribution plan designed to boost the earnings of low-salaried players who earn a lot of playing time.
A 2006 fourth-round draft selection out of Hofstra, Colon was the biggest winner from the $100.8 million fund ($3.15 million in contributions from each of the 32 clubs). The fund was created in the 2002 collective bargaining agreement with the players and increased by 5 percent each year.
``The system was formed to benefit lower-salaried players,'' commissioner Roger Goodell said. ``If a player is making the minimum salary but plays in a high percentage of his team's plays, he will get a larger payout of the pool than a teammate with the same amount of playing time but a higher salary.''
Second on the list with $286,135 was safety Jarrad Page of Kansas City, followed by Ravens safety Dawan Landry ($284,568), Panthers tight end Jeff King ($281,264) and Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson ($278,227).
A total of 25 players received the bonuses.
DRAFT DELAY: Ever wonder why it can take so long for the first choice in the NFL draft to be made, even though the selecting team - Miami this year - has spent months preparing for it?
San Francisco coach Mike Nolan points to TV.
``TV tells you to wait,'' Nolan said. ``They ask you to not be so quick with that pick. You are all ready to hand it in and TV tell you not to, not yet.''