Debate on low tackles resumes

Q: I don't remember you weighing in on this, but many commentators like to suggest that because Tom Brady leads the head-to-head matchup 10-4 with Peyton Manning, that Brady must be the better quarterback. Very seldom do you hear much stated regarding the overall quality of the teams that surround them, particularly that Brady usually had the superior defense to support his efforts. Furthermore, it should be noted that when two teams of similar caliber meet, the home team is expected to win. The first season Manning and Brady played each other, the Colts were not very good (6-10) and lost both games to the Patriots. The following 12 games were split eight home games for Brady and four for Manning; they each won twice on the opponent's field and Brady leads 8-4, which fits the expected split based on home games. If winning the head-to-head matchup is relevant to the debate regarding who is superior, expected outcomes based on home-field advantage must also be considered. With that consideration, we find two very similarly capable QBs and should shift our focus to the recognition that we have the pleasure of watching two of the all-time greats.

Jonathan in Sugar Land, Texas

A: That's a good point. But the book on Brady-Manning is still in progress. Brady has the regular-season edge and the edge in Super Bowl rings. But Manning should lock up home-field advantage in the AFC pretty soon, and there would be that home game for Manning you are talking about. Plus, he has a great chance to get his second Super Bowl ring. As Yogi Berra used to say, "It ain't over 'til it's over." Manning could still win a Super Bowl or two in his final years in the league. Stay tuned.

Q: Why are people in Pittsburgh calling for Mike Tomlin's job? The majority of players and coaches abuse the line rule. And for those in Pittsburgh calling for his job, they seem to forget that Bill Cowher did the same thing, purposely, and was cheered. ... Seems like a double standard.

Timothy in Inglewood, Calif.

A: Many fans react like that when the season goes bad. Many fans believe there are simple solutions to problems. Fire the coach and you fix the problem, they think. Replace the quarterback and go to the next quarterback, they think. It's not that simple. The Steelers' defense has become less talented, and that's understandable. Years of drafting low in the first round hurt their ability to replace Pro Bowl defensive players with potential Pro Bowl defensive players. The offensive line has been a mess for three years. The Steelers aren't firing Tomlin. Sure, there will be changes on the staff, but that's the normal thing that happens after a bad season. Now the attention goes to next year's draft.

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