By: Bob George/
December 20, 2005

Colleagues take to Twitter to praise ‘perfect’ play-by-play man
Year after year, Gil Santos delivered
Bill Belichick pays tribute to Patriots Hall of Fame broadcaster Gil Santos
Bill Belichick pays tribute to the late Gil Santos
Tight end Troy Niklas’ “crazy” story makes him a Patriot and a father, too

Thank you, John Hall, for that 53-yard field goal in 2001 which gave the Patriots the two seed for the playoffs that year. He kicks for the Redskins now, of course, but that boot turned out to be one of the most momentous in Patriot history. It meant that the Oakland Raiders, who Hall beat in that game, would be seeded lower than the Patriots and thus would have to travel to Foxborough to play in the Divisional round. As you all know, it snowed that night. But that classic final game at Foxborough Stadium is courtesy of Hall. He blasts one out of the end zone with that powerful right leg of his.

The only thing missing from the Patriot whitewash of Tampa Bay was that Warren Sapp plays for the Raiders right now. Yes, his team also lost to the Patriots this year, but it would have been sweeter if Russ Hochstein had the chance to kick the tar out of him as a Buccaneer.

Looks like Kansas City forgot how to tackle. That'll make any running back look great.

Hats off to Marvin Lewis. Bringing the woebegone Bengals back to prominence while still having to report to Mike Brown is no small accomplishment.

Arizona versus Houston. Does it get any worse?

Yes. Losing to Houston.

We'll worry about Miami next year. No need this year.

Buffalo tantalized us, but in the end the Broncos were too tough. Bye-bye, two seed.

Not that the Patriots really aspired to get a week off this year.

If Saints fans want to keep their team in Louisiana, more fans need to get out to Baton Rouge and show their support.

Even though things are still miserable down there.

Geek of the week: Whoever designed that snowplow on the Fox Box for Saturday's Patriots telecast. It was cute for two pass-bys and annoying the rest of the game.

The Colts can now officially think about nothing other than the Super Bowl.

What they should be thinking about is how crappy they played against San Diego.

And what will happen if they play like that against New England, if the champs should amble on through sometime in January.

The Vikings didn't deserve their run of prosperity. Their season was defined on those love boats.

And Zygi Wilf still needs to clean house big time.

So does William Clay Ford in Detroit.

If the Patriots do go deep in the playoffs, don't be surprised if one of the main reasons why is this new guy named Ellis Hobbs.

Looks like Rex Grossman is going to take Chicago as far as they can go, not Kyle Orton.

Jacksonville having trouble with San Francisco makes Patriot fans smile.

Mike Martz can now come back. Rams president Jay Zygmunt should tell him to stay at home, recover, then pack his bags and head for his next job.

Which should be "offensive coordinator”, not "head coach”.

Phil Dawson won a game for Cleveland with a walkoff field goal. Never forget where this guy got his pro start.

Back to school: USC-Texas has a chance to be the best game ever. Yes, we did say "ever”.

But we said that about Super Bowl XIX (Montana versus Marino), and that game was a blowout.

If Tom Ashworth can catch a touchdown pass, I say let Lonie Paxton try sometime. But only when it's snowing out.

We're still missing Thurston Long.

There is a report that the NFL will try and enforce a dress code (a la the NBA) by ordering those players with long hair to either cut it or hide it. The players' union will naturally fight it.

Solution: They're mostly all defensive backs (and black or Samoan, says CBS's Shannon Sharpe). Wait until late in a game with the final result assured. Have the quarterback throw one right at one such mophead. Then tackle him by grabbing a chunk of his hair and yanking him to the ground. A few such hair takedowns and he'll do something about that ugly do.

Of course, you can always do that on an accidental and unplanned pick.

Jon Gruden probably wishes he never has to go to Foxborough ever again.

Was it the cold weather or the Bears' defense which did in Michael Vick?

Either way, Falcons fans would feel a little bit better if Vick was a little less one-dimensional.

Tampa Bay can merely shake off the loss on Saturday and can still look forward to a decent shot at the Super Bowl.

Remember them: Marty Lyons. Mark Gastineau. Joe Klecko. Abdul Salaam. The New York Sack Exchange. They were the most identifiable defensive line since the days of the Steel Curtain, and maybe since the Fearsome Foursome. They never brought the Jets the prizes that Pittsburgh's line did (you could say the same for the Rams' quartet), but they were fun to watch. Gastineau made a name for himself with his outrageous sack dances and his engagement to Brigitte Nielson. But Patriot fans remember Klecko the most, thanks mainly to the fact that his offspring toils for the Patriots currently. Dan makes dad Joe proud every time he suits up, and even though he still hasn't found an NFL niche, he wears the Klecko name with pride.

Jamal Lewis a free agent? Drat that rap sheet of his. Otherwise, he'd be quite a Christmas present.

Next week, the Patriots get to be a part of the final Monday Night Football game on ABC. They'll be playing a team who was part of the first one in 1970.

Moose Johnston ought to know. On Saturday's Fox broadcast of the Patriots game, the former Cowboy offered up this juicy tidbit: "Which man has six Super Bowl rings and is common to both the Dallas three-of-four Super Bowl dynasty and the New England three-of for Super Bowl dynasty? There he is, right there!”

Yup. There he was. One of Bill Belichick's first hires, a man you might easily forget about his role in building a winner.

He's strength coach Mike Woicik. Still miss Johnny Parker?