People in Oakland suffer a horrible inferiority complex. Perhaps it's forged living in the poor stepchild of NFL cities. Heck, Oakland isn't even the biggest city in its own metropolitan area.

Oaklanders, for example, still haven't gotten over the January 2002 playoff loss to the Patriots and continue to blame the infamous "Tuck Rule" for a total, all-around, well-earned team implosion. Quite a bit of salt was rubbed in the festering, open wounds of the Oakland psyche a year later, when the Raiders made it to the Super Bowl, only to get spanked like a naughty school girl in a porn video.

The bitterness bubbled to the surface in January, when Oakland Tribune football writer Carl Steward concocted a sorry excuse for a column that lamented the lack of the "star" power in Super Bowl XXXVIII featuring New England and Carolina. Like most Oakland football fans, the facts were lost on this particular individual: like the fact that Super Bowl XXXVII (Oakland vs. Tampa Bay) was one of the worst ever played.

Steward published a horrendously ignorant column on Tuesday, January 20, 2004, two days after the conference title games. We wrote to him that day to express our displeasure with his treasonous ways, point out lack of factual information, and render him a wounded charter member of Pigskin Detention. In the process, we discovered that he's the "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh of football writers.

-----Original Message-----
From: The Cold, Hard Football Facts
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 3:35 PM
To: ''
Subject: The John Walker Lindh of Football "writers"

Carl, Carl, Carl, our poor, inept, football-ignorant friend:

I'm sorry to call you to the carpet about your Super Bowl XXXVIII column in today's Oakland Tribune, but you leave me no other course of action. Look at it this way: If I meet a school child who doesn't know his ABCs, the least I can do is correct them. I feel the same way about this ignorant pap-smear of a column that dribbled out of your anus today.

Today's column (and I use this word loosely to describe the error-filled collection of semi-coherent drippings from your cranial cavity) compares this year's Super Bowl to "prison-camp torture." Perhaps, in that hellish stinkhole called Oakland, Super Bowl XXXVIII is not a source of inspiration. But I think your standards are a little high. Let's face it, will any game ever compare to Oakland's thrilling 48-21 loss to Tampa Bay last year? I think I speak for a lot of pigskin-loving Americans when I say that I break out that tape every time I need a little primer in well-played football. I can never decide what was more exciting: the lineman who lost his marbles in Tijuana the night before the game, or any of the 32 Rich Gannon passes that were intercepted and returned for touchdowns.

But enough generalizations. Let me respond to some of the specifics of your column. The text of your column is quoted verbatim below. My comments appear [in brackets].


Patriots vs. Panthers in Bushville is about as sexy and stimulating as that "Fear Factor" episode in which people had to eat those Colombian cockroaches after rolling them in python dung. [Actually, everyone outside of Tampa enjoyed that episode more than they enjoyed Oakland's miserable attempt at playing football in Super Bowl XXXVII.]

Worse yet, we know this stinkbug will be forced down our throats, whether we like it or not. It's just the nature of the Super Bowl hype machine. This happens to be a two-week gap year, too, where we have to endure a fortnight of brainless blather. [A "fortnight?" Oh, I get're not an ignorant asshole. You're British.]

Honestly now, how can you have a glitzy, gaudy Super Bowl without any stars, let alone superstars?

[Rich Gannon is a wrinkled old white dwarf of a star next to that luminescent beacon of all things winning that is Tom Brady. Name me one other Oakland "star." Woodson? He's a mouthy piece of trash next to Ty Law. Tim Brown? He was a "star" in 1987 when he appeared on national TV every weekend returning kicks for touchdowns in South Bend. Jerry Rice? This star imploded back in the days of leather helmets and the single wing. Super Bowl XXXVIII is a veritable galaxy of supernovas next to last year's disastrous void of light and energy that passed for a "Super" Bowl.]

It's Parity's Baby, almost as frightening as Rosemary's. [Oh, I see you went to the Woody Paige school of cleverless pop allusion.] Sigh, the mighty Dallas and San Francisco mastodons that once roamed the Earth seem like eons ago, decidedly extinct.

[None of these "mighty mastodons" ever won 14 straight...and none, zero, zilch, nada, ever faced as brutal a schedule as New England did this year -- 9-0 against teams with 10 or more wins. If you had a brain, you would marvel at this team's ability to piece together one of the greatest winning streaks in NFL history - especially significant in this, the age of parity. Instead, you choose to wallow in a muddy morass of ignorance and stupidity. Your words repel me.]

Neither team in Houston's ".38 Special" placed an offensive starter in the Pro Bowl and it's not an accident or oversight, either, although a first. [The ignorance of Pro Bowl voters is, in fact, "accident" AND "oversight," especially if your personal "knowledge" of football is any indication. It's pretty clear to anyone who's ever watched a football game that Brady is a better QB than "Pro-Bowlers" Peyton "deer in the headlights" Manning; Steve "I'm hurt again" McNair; and Trent "Never won a meaningful game" Green. All their teams would be better with Tom Brady in the line-up. Some of them might even be capable of beating a quality team like the Patriots or winning a Super Bowl.]

Our two beloved Super squads combined for three measly touchdowns Sunday, yet somehow won anyway. In fact, in one of the most confounding magic tricks I've ever seen anywhere, Indianapolis actually scored twice as many touchdowns as the Patriots yet lost 24-14.

[Perhaps you missed the thorough beating that everyone else witnessed...but if it helps you comprehend the game more easily, I'll write to the NFL and ask them to change the rules of football. How about this: for now on, two touchdowns trumps one touchdown, five field goals and a safety. Does that make sense?]

We already mentioned no starting Pro Bowlers on offense. Guess what? There aren't many on defense, either. For New England, cornerback Ty Law and linebacker Richard Seymour got the nod, and Willie McGinest was an injury replacement. Not exactly Wheaties box material.

[Richard Seymour is a lineman, not a linebacker, you simp, and as good as they come. But again, we come back to the ignorance of people who leave off "Pro Bowl" teams the likes of Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel, Ted Washington and Tedy Bruschi. I think we've seen how good these guys are during New England's 14-game winning streak. Did I mention the 14-game winning streak?]

Our local San Mateo hero Tom Brady? He'll need a ticket to Honolulu, something real stars never have had to worry about [yeah, but for the second time in three years, he'll have an all-expenses paid-trip to Disney World] which brings me to my next major peeve -- the seemingly incessant and insipid comparisons between Brady and Joe Montana.

Brady's a fine young pro QB, mind you. Smart, doesn't make mistakes, looks good on camera, humble and soft-spoken, performs coolly in the big games. But mentioning him in the same breath with Super Joe is like taking the Lord's name in vain.

[Now you've done it. Now I have to beat you about the head and neck in an effort to force in the knowledge and force out the ignorance. Well, here goes: Brady AT THIS POINT IN HIS CAREER has better stats than Joe Montana AND more team accomplishments AND more last-second heroics, including a little something about the only walk-off, game-winning scoring drive in Super Bowl history. Look it up. It's not even close. I'm not saying Brady will have a better career than Montana. But at this point in their respective careers IT'S NOT EVEN CLOSE. But you, a wharped, frustrated and ignorant football oaf, choose to penalize Brady because he hasn't played as long yet as Montana did.]

Delhomme, he's a Brady clone, maybe the most anonymous Super Bowl QB since David Woodley. That said, Delhomme's closer to Brady than Brady is to Montana. [Unless the Patriots win next week.]

And let's not forget ... Houston. You might not even need the game to be lobotomized. I know the first sight of Toby Keith singing some patriotic pap is going to send me over. [Well, it's all so clear now. There's a reason why you hate good football and hate great football teams. It's because you're a Howard Dean-hugging, Berkeley-area living, America-bashing, pot-smoking, Allah-worshipping, commie-loving hippie. You are the John Walker Lindh of football writers. Thank god you're not on our side.]

- Kerry J. Byrne, Boston, Mass., President, The Comittee to Elect Carl Steward King of the Football-Ignorant, America-Hating, Flag-Burning, Commie Douche Bags

[Of course, we all know what happened a few days later. The Patriots beat the Panthers in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever. Tom Brady elevated himself to Super Bowl immortal and, as we predicted, earned a second all-expenses paid trip to Disney World as Super Bowl MVP. Jake Delhomme showed all the moxie of a hungry grizzly bear and became the NFL's newest star QB. And Steward was exposed as a bitter, angry, ignorant Oaklander.]

But before all that happened, we followed up with Carl a day after his column ran, simply to lay some Cold, Hard Football Facts on his sorry football ass.

-----Original Message-----
From: The Cold, Hard Football Facts
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 8:49 AM
To: ''
Subject: RE: The John Walker Lindh of Football "writers"

Hello Carl,

I doubt you read my scathing indictment yesterday in which I exposed you as the John Walker Lindh of pigskin "pundits."

However, my revulsion at your ignorance continued to fester away last night and I was forced to research the numbers Montana and Brady posted in their first four years in the league. I think you will be shocked.

Oh, and before we get to the numbers, isn't it a bit ironic that on the day in which you lamented a "Super Bowl without stars" that one Mr. Brady appeared at the State of the Union address as the guest of the nation's First Lady? Too bad, in your eyes, he's not a "star." My body convulses in agony at the thought of your stupidity.

713 for 1,130 (63.1%); 8,069 yards; 52 TDS/32 INTs; 28-19 record (including playoffs)

955 for 1,544 (61.9%); 10,233 yards; 69 TDs/38 INTs; 39-12 record (including playoffs)

* Brady has more yards, TDs, and a much better record at this point in his career.

* Brady has fewer INTs per attempt (1 every 40.6 attempts vs. 1 every 35.3 attempts for Montana)

* Montana has slightly more TDs per attempt (one every 21.7 attempts; vs. one every 22.4 attempts for Brady)

* Montana won a Super Bowl and a Super Bowl MVP trophy in his third year. He made his second appearance in his sixth year.

* Brady won a Super Bowl and SB MVP trophy in his second year (first year as a fulltime player). He's making his second appearance in his fourth year [Brady, of course, won both the Super Bowl and SB MVP trophy again in his fourth year].

* Montana's 49ers had one winning season in his first four years; 1981, the year in which they won the Super Bowl. The 49ers went 3-6 in the strike-shortened 1982 season that followed his first Super Bowl.

* Brady's Patriots have three winning season in his first four years; including two Super Bowl-winning season. The Pats went 9-7 following his first Super Bowl, and missed the playoffs on three-way tie-breaker. By the way, Brady led the league in touchdown passes in that 2002 season, his down year.