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September 9, 2007 at 1:06 PM

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Baseball players are sports fans too, and for many of them that includes watching football on Sunday afternoons. With the first weekend of the NFL season upon us, a line-up of ten Red Sox prospects shared a few of of their opinions on that “other sport.”

Q: What is the best rivalry in the NFL?
Michael Bowden: Bears and Packers.
Clay Buchholz: For me, growing up in Texas, it was always the Bills and the Cowboys. That’s my take on it.
Jacoby Ellsbury: The Colts against the Patriots is a lot of fun for me. I love the Manning/Brady match-up.
Nick Hagadone: I don’t know, but Michigan versus Ohio State is bigger than all of them. When they play, ESPN is all over the game for a week.
Justin Masterson: There are a lot of good ones, but the Browns versus the Bengals is what I like to watch. Both teams being in the same state is one of the things that makes it such a good rivalry.
Jeff Natale: Colts vs. Pats. Four Super Bowls between them in the last, like, five years, and the two best QBs in the league.

Brandon Moss: Being from Atlanta, I’d have to say Atlanta versus New Orleans. They play each other every year, and it matters to a lot of people.
Beau Vaughan: Being from the west, I’ll say it’s the Broncos and the Chiefs. People in the east might say something like Giants/Eagles or Patriots/Jets.
Will Vazquez: I think it’s Browns versus Steelers, although maybe that’s because I’m from Cleveland. Even with the Browns being pretty bad recently, it still gets a little crazy when they play each other.
Ty Weeden: I’m more of a college football fan, but it seems like the Raiders usually have a lot of them. Nothing is bigger than Oklahoma and Texas, though.

Q: Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?
Bowden: Peyton Manning because of his commercials.
Buchholz: I’ve got to go with Manning. Brady has won a few Super Bowls, but Manning has done a great job and has won one himself now.
Ellsbury: To be honest, I like both of them. It was nice to see Manning finally win a Super Bowl.
Hagadone: Manning. He takes care of the offense and calls all of the plays at the line – the game is his.
Masterson: Manning, without a doubt. Nothing against Brady, but Manning is smart and a great leader.
Moss: They’re both unbelievable, so I’ll take either one. But if I had to take one or the other, I guess I’d go with Brady.
Natale: No Question; Tom Brady.

Vazquez: Oh man, that’s a lot like choosing between Jeter and A-Rod. I guess I’ll go with Manning, because he has one under his belt now.
Vaughan: On the field or on Saturday Night Live? I’ll take Peyton.
Weeden: I think I’d have to say Manning. Brady is more clutch, though.

Q: Your opinion of Brett Favre, including his decision to play again this season?
Bowden: Why not keep doing what you love for as long as you can? He might be old, but he can still carry a team.
Buchholz: He’s a great football player, and he has a lot of records on his mind right now. I’ve had a chance to meet him, because my cousin, Ty Detmer, played with him a few years ago.
Ellsbury: If he can still do it – if his body can hold up and he’s still having fun out there – he should keep playing.
Hagadone: He loves the game, so as long as he has the fire, and the desire, he should play. He’s not as good as he was in his prime, but he’s still one of the best.
Masterson: I think he should definitely be playing. He’s a leader, and he’s probably still the hardest thrower in the league.
Moss: He’s an absolute gamer, so it’s like asking if Clemens should have come back. He’s the man.
Natale: Tell that geezer to give it up!

Vazquez: As long as he feels like he can still compete, and that he can stay safe, he should play. If he can’t avoid the rush any more, then it’s a problem.
Vaughan: He should keep playing until he’s in a wheelchair. Brett Favre is Green Bay.
Weeden: I think he should have gone out when he was still on top, three or four years ago. I give him credit for freaking going out there and giving it his all, but he looked like a fool at times last year.

Q: Your opinion of the Michael Vick situation?
Bowden: My mom told me if I didn’t have anything nice to say, don't say it at all.
Buchholz: Right now, he has his views of what happened and it’s his word against what other people are saying. He’s the best athlete in the NFL, and regardless of what happens from here, he’s just going to have to move forward.
Ellsbury: It’s a tough situation, and it’s unfortunate. Hopefully he learns from it.
Hagadone: He’s admitted to doing it, so once he does his time, he should be able to play again. He shouldn’t be punished beyond that.
Masterson: He should get what he deserves, just like anyone else. Being an athlete makes it a higher platform, but that shouldn’t have a bearing on what the offense calls for.
Moss: I probably shouldn’t even comment. Let’s just say that, given his situation, he should have used better judgment.
Natale: Hopefully he'll never play another snap in the NFL.

Vaughan: It’s unfortunate. That’s all I want to say.
Vazquez: I think it’s a sad situation. Speaking as an athlete, sometimes guys think they can get away with anything they want, but it doesn’t work that way.
Weeden: He used to be my favorite player, but why would you do something like that? Sometimes people do things and it’s like, ‘Get a life, man.’

Q: Who were you rooting for in last year’s Super Bowl; the Bears or the Colts?
Bowden: Da Bears.
Buchholz: I was mostly rooting for the Colts. I like Manning and Marvin Harrison.
Ellsbury: The Colts. Part of it was Tony Dungy, and what he had to go through with his son.
Hagadone: I was rooting for the Colts. My fantasy team had a lot of Colts on it.
Masterson: The Colts, partly because my sister lives in Indianapolis. I also love Marvin Harrison, because he’s a great player and the last person who would tell you that he is.
Moss: Definitely the Bears. Brian Urlacher is my favorite player, and the Bears are my favorite team.
Natale: The Bears.

Vaughan: I was rooting for the Colts, because I wanted to see Peyton Manning win it. I didn’t want him to fall into the same trap as Dan Marino, who was criticized for not winning a Super Bowl even though he was ridiculously good.
Vazquez: The Colts. I was actually born in Indianapolis, and I’m a Peyton Manning fan.
Weeden: The Colts. I’m a Peyton Manning fan, and he deserved to win a Super Bowl.

Q: Any predictions for this season?
Bowden: The Bears will most likely win the Super Bowl.
Buchholz: I’m going to go with the Cowboys having a good year. They’ll at least get to the playoffs.
Ellsbury: I want to see the Seahawks go all the way. If Shaun Alexander, and everyone else, stays healthy, I can see it happening.
Hagadone: I think the Colts will probably win it again. Wayne, Harrison, and Addai are still there, and like Manning they’re all really good.
Masterson: The Colts will be good again, but I’d love to jump on the Bengals’ bandwagon. There’s a lot of talent there, and I can see that train roaring down that track.
Moss: I think the Bears will be better, and the Colts worse. And I don’t even care about the Falcons.
Natale: Pats over the Saints. 27-13.

Vaughan: I predict that the Patriots won’t have a single receiver with over 1,000 yards. And they’ll still win the AFC.
Vazquez: The Patriots will always be competitive, and I think the Bears will be good again. And while I’m not predicting that they’ll make the playoffs, the Lions will surprise some people by being better this year.
Weeden: I would say it will be the Colts again. Or maybe it might be the Chargers.

Q: Complete this sentence: “If [player’s name here] played in the NFL…”
Bowden: He would be the young protégé of Brian Urlacher.
Buchholz: He would have over 2,000 yards receiving this season.
Ellsbury: He’d be a starting wide receiver for the Seahawks.
Hagadone: He’d be a quarterback and a top-rated passer.
Masterson: He would be a tight end for Brett Favre. Favre would hit me, and I’d catch it.
Moss: He’d be awesome! Just kidding -- I’d be a strong safety.
Natale: He would be the slot receiver for Tom Brady, instead of Welker.

Vaughan: It would have to be an invented position, because I’m too slow for a skill position and not big enough to play on the line. Or maybe I could be the first 6’5” kicker?
Vazquez: He would be -- oh, man -- he would get hurt!
Weeden: Hopefully the starting quarterback for the Falcons.

Q: Complete this sentence: “The biggest difference between football and baseball is…”
Bowden: We play every day.
Buchholz: Contact.
Ellsbury: One is a contact sport in a 16-game season, and the other is 162 games.
Hagadone: You play every day in baseball. It’s an every day grind.
Masterson: In football, if you get upset you have an opportunity to lay someone out. In baseball you can’t do that.
Moss: Football is complete emotion. Baseball is not.
Natale: In football there are a lot bigger dudes running at you full speed, while in baseball there are a lot of big dudes throwing at you full speed.

Vaughan: Football demands more teamwork and communication than baseball does.
Vazquez: The physicality of football. I get banged up as a catcher, but compared to what Monday morning feels like, it’s not even close.
Weeden: Football is a lot more intense; a lot more enthusiastic.