Shaun Powell of Newsday made it clear where he stands before the New York Giants routed the Minnesota Vikings, 41-0, to advance to the Super Bowl.
"As a football team, the Giants are a great chess team. They are plodding and slow, methodical and predictable, a team whose play-by-play man should be Chris Schenkel.
"Unless you walk into Baskin-Robbins and ask for vanilla, unless you choose a good book over 'Sex and the City,' unless you're always the last to leave the library before it closes, you don't want the Giants anywhere near Tampa in two weeks."
Trivia time: Who holds the NFL postseason record for the longest punt return?
Looneyville: Thomas Boswell in the Washington Post:
"Oakland is a special place. Especially the Raiders' end zone. Recently a TV camera panned this silver-and-black asylum. Each denizen trying to outdo the next as a potential cover boy for Psychopath Today."
Ready to split: Coach Bob Francis of the Phoenix Coyotes was asked if he realized six NHL coaches have been fired this season. He had.
"You'll see nothing on my office walls," Francis said. "Even my name is up there in Velcro."
We give up: Bud Geracie in the San Jose Mercury News:
"To answer John Madden's on-air question to Pat Summerall--'centimeter or millimeter, what's bigger?'--think century and millennium. And become thoroughly confused."
Did you know? New York Giant Coach Jim Fassel was a backup USC quarterback to Jimmy Jones in 1969.
His statistics: 22 passes, seven completions, two interceptions and two touchdowns.
Moreover, Seattle Seahawk Coach Mike Holmgren, who won Super Bowl XXXI with the Green Bay Packers, was another Trojan reserve quarterback that season.
An aging assessment: Laker announcer Chick Hearn on Utah Jazz guard John Stockton: "He's 38 and he could play until he's 75."
Trivia answer: Anthony Carter of Minnesota, 84 yards for a touchdown in a first-round game against New Orleans in 1987.
And finally: Pat Riley of the Miami Heat on the stress of coaching:
"This job totally preoccupies your life and mind. You think about all the things you've missed and you lament. When I'm on the road there will be a thought: 'Why am I here?'
"My wife has been waiting 30 years for me to come home. Every night my daughter leaves a white sheet of paper with a heart on it on my desk that says, 'I love you Daddy.' "