TRADING E-MAIL WITH ...
Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck, the NFL's ninth-rated passer
SI: You're walking through Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle.
In a span of 10 minutes, how often would you be recognized?
Hasselbeck: Not once.
SI: You used to back up Brett Favre in Green Bay. What's your
best story that illustrates Favre's humorous side?
Hasselbeck: Someone asked Brett, "How do you spell Mississippi?"
He answered, "The river or the state?" He said that with a
SI: Your father, Don, played tight end for four NFL teams. What's
some good advice he's given you?
Hasselbeck: In my first preseason game with Seattle, [coach] Mike
Holmgren really got after me. I remember calling my dad after the
game. He played for the Giants in the '80s. He said, "If he's
anything like Parcells, it's a good sign. He wouldn't be yelling
at you if he didn't like you. Listen to him."
SI: As a kid hanging around with the old man, which famous
players did you play catch with?
Hasselbeck: Steve Grogan, Stanley Morgan, Mosi Tatupu, Archie
Manning, Jan Stenerud, Phil Simms, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Bavaro,
Lawrence Taylor, Joe Morris and Carl Banks, to name a few.
SI: What's the biggest difference between Seattle fans and those
in Boston, where you grew up?
Hasselbeck: Boston fans are fans because their great-grandfathers
rooted for the Celtics, the Red Sox, the Bruins or the Patriots.
Seattle fans are fans because their parents were.
SI: The person, other than a football player, who was the biggest
thrill for you to meet.
Hasselbeck: President Bush. I met him in Green Bay. I made a fool
of myself, but it was still pretty cool.
The Bills, the 49ers and the Jets were eliminated from postseason
contention on Sunday, so when you include the old AFL, for the
first time since 1954 no team from New York or California will
make the playoffs.
STAR IN THE MAKING
Titans quarterback Billy Volek
Making his first NFL start, for the injured Steve McNair, Volek
overcame the flu and a strong Buffalo pass rush to rally
Tennessee to a 28-26 win on Sunday, completing 26 of 41 attempts
for 295 yards, with two touchdown passes and a rushing TD. All
season Jeff Fisher has been unbending in his praise of Volek, a
fourth-year player out of Fresno State. Said Titans tight end
Erron Kinney, "He has the same aura as Steve. He was real calm.
He has a laser [for an arm] and can throw the ball in tight
MY TWO CENTS
1. Coaching candidates should be flocking to Atlanta to replace
Dan Reeves, who was fired last week. If the new guy can install
an offense suited for quarterback Michael Vick, keep Vick healthy
and build a defense around middle linebacker Keith Brooking, the
Falcons will contend for the Super Bowl next season.
2. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue must take us all for rubes.
How else to explain his statement, in an HBO interview, that
college football is no longer the farm system for the NFL it once
was because the league has NFL Europe to develop players? --P.K.