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News » NFL Truths: It's all about character

NFL Truths: It's all about character

NFL Truths: It's all about character
The lesson from this entire NFL season is embarrassingly obvious and cliche: Good and bad character are difference-makers.

That's the overriding NFL Truth for the 2008 season.

10. Chris Berman summarized the Cowboys' descent into the abyss by wondering aloud whether Jerry Jones had any "foxhole" guys. No.

Oh, once the war was lost, once the Eagles stormed Lincoln Financial Field like the Allies invading Normandy, Terrell Owens tried to play the role of good soldier, smothering himself in postgame humility.

NFL Week 17

It doesn't pay to build your team around professional assclowns. It works great at the circus. But it will cost you your job in the NFL.

Well, it sounds like Marvin Lewis might survive in Cincinnati. Carson Palmer missed most of the season, giving Marvin an out. Herm Edwards isn't so lucky. He was blessed with a season-ending injury to Brodie Croyle and the Chiefs still finished 2-14.

To his credit, Edwards was never a Larry Johnson fan. He tried to prevent the Chiefs from giving Johnson a big contract. Fired-general manager Carl Peterson ignored the warning.

Whatever, the Brothers Johnson will likely be spreading locker-room cancers to new cities next season.

3. Say what you want about Ray Lewis' character inside a limousine, but there is zero debate about his high character inside a locker room.

Ray Ray and Ed Reed are the real Avon Barksdale and Wee-Bey Brice of Baltimore, old-school, ride-or-die soldiers. Joe "Stringer Bell" Flacco and John "Marlo Stanfield" Harbaugh are likely to receive a lot of hype for the Ravens' surprising season, but Ray Ray and Ed Reed held it down on the streets.

Flacco threw 14 TDs and 12 INTs. He's been OK. He hasn't been asked to do a whole lot because Lewis and Reed own every corner inside M&T Bank Stadium.

This draft season every team is going to be looking for the next Joe Flacco. You better have a Lewis and Reed to go with your shiny new QB.

2. Good news for college football fans tired of reading about my Ball State Cardinals.

I'm so sickened by the athletic incompetence of my school president and athletics director that I'm taking a break from being the school's No. 2 cheerleader (behind David Letterman). It's just too painful and embarrassing.

Now my frustration with Dumb and Dumber will not preclude me from leading quarterback Nate Davis' 2009 Heisman Trophy or NFL rookie of the year campaign. The Nate Show is the equal to Letterman's "The Late Show."

1. The final example that good character counts in the NFL: LaDainian Tomlinson.

After a one-point loss to the Steelers, a three-point loss to the Colts and a six-point loss to the Falcons, L.T.'s Chargers were 4-8 and a laughingstock.

They're coached by Norv Turner and lost their best defensive player (Shawne Merriman) at the beginning of the season. Phillip Rivers and his 34 TD passes will get much of the credit for San Diego's turnaround.

I credit L.T. His numbers are down. He averaged fewer than 4 yards per carry and had the worst season of his stellar career. He was criticized last season for standing too comfortably on the sideline with an injury during a playoff loss.

He responded this season by never leaving the foxhole. In a league filled with 20 too many me-first punks, L.T. is a most loyal soldier.

You can e-mail Jason Whitlock at ballstate0@aol.com.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 29, 2008

Matt Schobel Name: Matt Schobel
Position: TE
Age: 29
Experience: 7 years
College: TCU
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