Pigskin Detention: Vic Carucci, take your seat

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 02, 2007



Vic Carucci, please take your seat. Yes, right there, in the back row. Do you know why you're being sent to Pigskin Detention today?

Well, first off, you are the national editor and a featured writer for NFL.com, which means that more people read your stories every day than have read "War and Peace" in a lifetime. It's no small gig, and the standards should be quite high.
 
Second, your most recent story handing out fake awards at the quarter point of the season received top play on NFL.com for most of Tuesday all the way into Wednesday. Wow. That's good real estate.

Must be a pretty good piece, right? 
 
Wrong!
 
Mr. Carucci, you committed an offense we hope you'll learn from: you used your national platform to make
one of the most ridiculous claims of the season in an NFL ether already thick with pointless punditry.  
 
The offense?
 
You chose Giants' defensive end Osi Umenyiora as the Defensive MVP of the NFL through four games.
 
Worse even than the selection (we'll get to that) was the reasoning.
 
Quoting Carucci: "This is not based solely on Umenyiora's amazing six-sack performance against Philadelphia in Week 4, although that certainly was a factor. The more important reason, though, is that he overcame a knee injury to register his first six sacks of the season and take the NFL lead in that category. I know, I know. Winston Justice, who was a woeful replacement for injured Eagles left tackle William Thomas, deserved a great deal of credit for Umenyiora's accomplishment. Still, that doesn't take away from the fact that Umenyiora is one of the top ends in the league and that the Giants' defense has made significant progress in the past two weeks."
 
To quote one of the cavemen from the Geico commercials: What? 
 
So, Umenyiora isn't the MVP because he had one good game (against a backup tackle on the other side), he's the MVP because he overcame injury and because the Giants' defense is improved from terrible to pretty good.
 
Wow. That makes as much sense as the Director's Cut of an M. Night Shyamalan movie.
 
And equally as flawed is the actual selection of Umenyiora. 
 
Explain, Mr. Carucci, how a man who plays for the No. 23-ranked scoring defense in the NFL can be Defensive MVP of the league.
 
And while you're at it, please explain how a man who had six tackles and no sacks in the first three games of the season is Defensive MVP of the league.
 
Mr. Carucci, had you taken more than, say, 1.4 seconds to just pick the guy who had the best game two days before you wrote the piece, you would have unearthed these staggeringly more qualified candidates:
  • LB Barrett Ruud, Tampa Bay: Leads NFL in solo tackles (32) for the league's top scoring defense (11.0 per game allowed), and has two fumble recoveries and an INT.
  • LB Julian Peterson, Seattle: Perennial Pro Bowler has five sacks, three forced fumbles and 22 solo tackles for 5th-ranked scoring defense.
  • CB Anthony Henry, Dallas: Leads NFL in interceptions (4) and pass breakups for a 4-0 Dallas team with the No. 2 defensive passer rating (62.9).
  • DT Darnell Dockett, Arizona. Has 19 total tackles and 5.5 sacks on a D-line allowing 3.7 yards a carry despite facing Willie Parker, Shaun Alexander, Willis McGahee and Frank Gore.
So, Mr. Carucci, no talking in the back while you mull over your role as a leading NFL expert for the league's official web site. Please write "I Will Be More Thoughtful Next Time" 100 times on the lined paper we've provided you, and penmanship does count.
 
We're sure you'll see the error of your ways once you get out of Pigskin Detention.
 
Here's hoping we don't see you again unless you're giving us a job.
 

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