TAKEAWAYS MAILBAG: Wildcard Round Questions

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Wheel notes that the NFL needs stories to stay relevant and fields reader e-mails in this edition of TAKEAWAYS. The e-mailers below are entirely real and not made up by Mr. Wheel himself.

You know what's the most important part of the NFL playoffs? Not the games, but the stories. I mean, who tunes in to watch football? Not me. If the story is bad I'll just watch Bad Boys on TNT instead.

The NFL has some potential great stories this postseason, but it needs to make sure the right teams win. For example, who wants to see the Falcons play the Niners or the Packers? Nobody, that's who: there's no story to a Falcons-Niners game.

Meanwhile if the Seahawks win you have great stories. The Packers could seek redemption against them after the Fail Mary game and the budding Jim Harbaugh-Pete Carroll rivalry would make a Seahawks-Niners game extra interesting. Seahawks-Niners could become a Pantheon Rivalry.

And then you have the AFC, which needs a Patriots-Broncos championship game to stay relevant. I mean, who cares about the Texans outside of Texas? Nobody, that's who. And while a Ravens-Patriots rematch would be fun, it's not nearly as good of a story as Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady. Everyone wants to see that rematch.

Remember folks, it's all about the story. And on that note, here are some wildcard round e-mails from totally real readers:

I just watched the Texans-Bengals game and I gotta say, it lacks real starpower. I mean, you got great players like J.J. Watt and Geno Atkins, but neither of them move the needle. Don't you wish that A.J. Green acted more like a star? Or how about Andre Johnson? Couldn't he start dating Nicki Minaj or something? Really would help his Q rating.

-Todd P., Seal Beach, CA

I hear you, Todd. The bottom line is that the Texans just don't have any stars on them. I mean, they could've drafted a bona fide star back in 2006 when Reggie Bush and Vince Young were on the board, but they took non-star Mario Williams instead. Now look at them. Their quarterback is bald. Their running back quotes Buddha and stuff. Are they going to be able to beat superstar Tom Brady and his supermodel wife this weekend? I don't think so. It's like Bad Boys trying to outgross Heat: the bigger superstar always wins.

NEXT GAME PICK: Patriots 35, Texans 10

Bobby, I was wondering what you thought about the NFL only having one night game each weekend in the playoffs. It'd be so much cooler if they had two night games so I could hang out with my bros and crush beers and slay poon all at the same time. Instead I had to watch three whole games in my mancave, which is totally not boss.

-Troy F., Wheaton, IL

I hear you bro. I had so much fun hanging out with my buddies Weebs, P-Schlong and Barfight Vinny during the Packers-Vikings game. It is truly a delight to crush beers with one's buddies at night while watching an important football game. I think this is part of why college football is so much more emotionally resonant than the NFL. Like, I'll always associate the Texas Tech last minute win over Texas with the night that my buddy Hambone drank so much that he puked and shit himself at the same time and we played Xbox and watched Bad Boys till 3 am. That was an awesome party.

NEXT GAME PICK: Packers 35, Niners 10

Do you think that Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback? I feel like a quarterback needs to be elite to win a title in the National Football League these days. You can't do that with Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson any more.

-Chad L., Potomac, MD

Agree. Like, back in the '90s, you could have a megahit without a real superstar. Look at Bad Boys. Will Smith wasn't really a star yet. Neither was Martin Lawrence. But it was a different time when you didn't need starpower to win at the box office. Nowadays, your movie needs a star to be successful, like Scarlett Johanssen or Rihanna. Bottom line; Joe Flacco isn't a star and the Ravens aren't going to beat Peyton Manning until Joe Flacco has a Buick commercial.

NEXT GAME PICK: Broncos 35, Ravens 10

Hey Bobby, after Sunday's games can we all admit that Russell Wilson is better than RG3 and that Griffin is a total clownfraud? Also, who would you rather have sex with 1996 Tea Leoni or 1996 Rene Russo?

-Brock S., Germantown, TN

It's weird how two career arcs can intersect at one moment. This week's Redskins-Seahawks game was just such a moment. Russell Wilson and RG are basically Will Smith and Martin Lawrence meeting for the first time in Bad Boys. Martin probably did more to carry his TV show and had less talent surrounding him, much like RG3. But Russell Wilson, like Will Smith, just exuded a winner's charisma and was put in a better situation. And we all know what happened to their careers from there. The bottom line? Russell Wilson is ready to be a superstar while RG3 isn't. That's the main takeaway from the big game last week.

And Tea Leoni.

NEXT GAME PICK: Seahawks 35, Falcons 10

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