By: Bob George/
January 14, 2009

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Sam Baker was a four-time Pro Bowl punter who finished his 15-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969. In his later years he was also asked to handle the placekicking duties for the Eagles, at that time a far cry from the 1960 NFL champs. He placekicked in six of his last eight seasons, four with Dallas and four with Philadelphia. He retired as a 40-year-old in 1969, having made 56.6 percent of his field goals. He was no boomer; he was only 19 of 57 from beyond 40 and only 3 of 16 from beyond 50. He kicks one, straight on, and it sails end over end to about the 12-yard line.

Man, that was some double-whammy the Patriots got hit with this week.

First, Josh McDaniels becomes the unlikely choice to succeed Mike Shanahan at Denver. Now the Patriots need a new offensive coordinator.

Then Scott Pioli starts singing "Ah'm going to Kansas City...Kansas City, here I come!" And now Bill Belichick no longer has his right hand man to help him pick new Patriots.

And Dom Capers, the secondary coach, reportedly will follow McDaniels to Denver, while special teams coach Brad Seely will book it to Cleveland to work with Eric Mangini. Guess you'd call that a quadruple whammy.

So now what, Bill and Bob? See if Notre Dame would like to reconsider keeping Charlie Weis? See if Romeo Crennel would like his old job back and demote or fire Dean Pees?

In case you hadn't noticed, the Patriots are 0 for 4 in winning Super Bowls since those two guys left.

Geek of the week: Did Jake Delhomme know that he was in a playoff game on Saturday? What was his quarterback rating for that game? Try 39.0. Yeesh.

There are former NFL players like Doug Atkins, Dick Butkus, Tombstone Jackson, Hardy Brown, Chuck Bednarik, Sam Huff, et al, who would have given their right arm to play in Sunday's Baltimore-Tennessee game.

Big guys were injured on seemingly every other play. Guys were getting clobbered left and right. Now that's some good old school football.

That Philadelphia-Giants game wasn't exactly a mollycoddle game, either, but that Ravens-Titans game was one of the most brutal games in recent memory.

If Terrell Suggs cannot make it for Sunday's AFC title game, Baltimore is in deep trouble.

Ray Lewis is the figurehead and Ed Reed is the glamour boy. But Suggs is the assassin, and he is badly needed to make some guy on the other team cry for his mommie.

Larry Fitzgerald is nuts right now. Completely nuts.

Three guys may not be enough to cover this guy.

And the Cardinals do better withoutAnquan Boldin than with him. Go figure.

That said, I'd rather have Boldin than not.

Back to school: Pick your real BCS title game. Our choice is USC and Texas. And neither of these teams made it to Miami.

That said, that was one nice job by the Florida defense.

You might think the Giants lost the season when they lost Plaxico Burress. Osi Umeniyora was a bigger loss. And Michael Strahan, safely tucked away in a broadcast studio somewhere in Hollywood, might not have hurt the Giant cause, either.

Without those two guys, didn't Justin Tuck, injury notwithstanding, look rather ordinary?

As did Eli Manning. Why didn't he play in the Super Bowl like he did on Sunday?

And again, forget ol' Plexiglass. He had weapons and an elite running game. Looks like he got hot at the right time last year.

Now with both Mannings out, can we dispense with this dumb contest between them and the Williams sisters? The first ladies of tennis win. Game over.

Some folks think the Chargers didn't miss LaDainian Tomlinson much. After seeing that Steeler defense, agreed.

It's not a defense that can't be taken, but there may not be a team out there in the field who can.

You got two quick linebackers and a medicine ball safety. Yet most teams cannot deal with those three at all, and therein lies the rub.

Remember him: He spent four seasons as a Patriot, and four seasons as an Eagle. Harold Jackson broke into the NFL in 1968 with the Rams, and after one season headed to Philly. He teamed with Ben Hawkins to make a nice receiver tandem for quarterback Norm Snead. He led the league in receiving yards in his first and last seasons in Philadelphia before moving back to the Rams for five seasons. He came to New England in 1978 as a replacement for the paralyzed Darryl Stingley and, along with Stanley Morgan, formed a decent receiver duo for Steve Grogan. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 1973. He would miss the first Patriot Super Bowl by two years, retiring in 1983.

Four teams left, who moves on? Let's find out.

Home dogs they are, it's in the Cards

For Warner and Larry to rack up the yards

That assumes, you all know, that they figure out Jim J.

If not, the Eagle D will certainly carry the day.

You thought last week was rough? The Titans were nothin'

Two NFC North enemies will produce lots of roughin'

Defense versus defense, who wins, pray tell?

Like Big Ben a few years back, it's rookie Joe who emerges well.