Those three words apply to Mike Francesa's Mike'd Up show last night. Let me explain:
PUNT: Mike obviously spent the most time on the Jets. However, you never heard the words "collapse," "disgraceful," or "choke." Instead Mike told you all about the two key plays in the game - a Pennington TD and a Favre pick. He talked a lot about the inadequate play of the Jets defensive backs. He told you that Favre was bad. He told you the team didn't look like it had any life with six minutes left in the game. But what Mike really did was he punted away responsibility for declaring this Jets season an utter collapse. He wasn't going there. He has had no problem doing that to the baseball team that calls Flushing home. But Mike instead wanted to focus on the Jets DBs.
PASS: Eric Mangini? Did he do a poor job the final five games of the season? Did he reside over a team that was once 8-3 and in Mike's words "a lock for the number two seed"? Did that same team collapse against a weak schedule and stunningly miss the playoffs? Was Mangini in charge of all of that? The answer is yes, but from watching Mike'd Up last night, you would have never known. To say that Mike gave Mangini a pass might be the understatement of the year. Mike thought there was a 50/50 chance that the Jets bring him back. But what Mike didn't do was offer HIS opinion of what the Jets SHOULD do with the head coach. Now, anyone who has followed Francesa for years knows that Mike NEVER has an issue giving his OPINION. So why didn't he offer one up last night? Simple. He knows that he would look foolish. He wants Mangini back. He wants him back for selfish reasons. He wants to be the guy three years from now that says "everyone wanted Mangini out, but I supported him, just like Coughlin and now look where he is..." He wants to give that speech. In order to give that speech, he needs Mangini around for another year or two or twenty. But even FRANCESA couldn't come on the air last night and say that. I mean earlier this week, he told us for the head coach to stay the Jets had to come out and "crush" the Dolphins. Not win a tight game by a point or two. Dominate them. Throw everything including the kitchen sink at Chad. Show ownership that you want to fight for the head coach. Well, that didn't exactly happen, and while much of the blame certainly rests in the hands of number four, isn't the coach accountable? So last night after the Jets did the opposite of what Mike said they needed to do to save Mangini, Mike decided to go easy on Eric. He gave him a bigger pass than Favre has given any of his receivers the past month and a half.
KICK: If you also tuned in to Mike'd Up last night, you were treated to something else that only Francesa can do. In analyzing the game last night, Mike talked about the poor play of Brett Favre, he talked about the awful play of the Jets defense, but he also extended his leg and took a kick at Chad Pennington. In talking about Chad's deep passes yesterday, Mike told you that they were terrible passes, and that he got lucky because the Jet corners misplayed those balls so badly. Now, here's the thing - Francesa might actually be right about that BUT last night was neither the TIME nor the FORUM to be taking swipes at Chad Pennington. Even if those balls weren't the prettiest of passes, he led the Dolphins to the playoffs. Period. He came up to New York in a must-win game and threw zero interceptions. A negative thought should not even be muttered about Pennington. Not once last night did you hear Mike question Mangini's coaching the final five weeks of the season. Not once did you hear Mike call this an utter collapse. Not once did you hear Mike call the Jets a joke (though he did use that word to describe the Cowboys). Not once did you hear Mike condemn the embarrassment that was the end to this Jets season. But you did learn that Pennington tossed some really bad passes yesterday. Kudos Mike. Job well done.
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