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Monday, January 22, 2007
Updated: January 29, 3:18 PM ET
The Pulse: Who should have made the All-Star team?

Friday, January 26

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.

Friday's Big Question

1. Who are your NBA All-Stars?

Most voters agreed that Dwyane Wade is an All-Star.
The All-Star starters have been announced, but the NBA and SportsNation aren't completely in agreement.

Oh, sure, no one was arguing over the no-brainers; your LeBrons, your Gilberts, your Yaos. You'd have to be a bit crazy not to vote for the likes of them. But choosing Caron Butler over Paul Pierce? An injured Shaq over Ben Wallace? These are debates that are worth having.

SportsNation's vote differed from the overall fan vote on several key areas, although most of the main stars made it easily.

Names in italics indicate SportsNation's All-Stars.

Which TWO of these centers would you pick for your Eastern Conference All-Star team?
70% Dwight Howard, Magic
48% Ben Wallace, Bulls
20% Eddy Curry, Knicks
9% Al Jefferson, Celtics

Which FIVE of these forwards would you pick for your Eastern Conference?
71% LeBron James, Cavaliers
63% Chris Bosh, Raptors
53% Jermaine O'Neal, Pacers
40% Paul Pierce, Celtics
38% Emeka Okafor, Bobcats
34% Caron Butler, Wizards
21% Luol Deng, Bulls
20% Andre Iguodala, 76ers
20% Antawn Jamison, Wizards

Which FIVE of these guards would you pick for your Eastern Conference?
79% Dwyane Wade, Heat
70% Gilbert Arenas, Wizards
47% Jason Kidd, Nets
44% Vince Carter, Nets
44% Michael Redd, Bucks
29% Chauncey Billups, Pistons
25% Ben Gordon, Bulls
21% Joe Johnson, Hawks
21% Richard Hamilton, Pistons
13% Mo Williams, Bucks
6% T.J. Ford, Raptors

Which TWO of these centers would you pick for your Western Conference?
66% Amare Stoudemire, Suns
46% Yao Ming, Rockets
22% Marcus Camby, Nugget
s 15% Mehmet Okur, Jazz

Which FIVE of these forwards would you pick for your Western Conference?
67% Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
61% Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves
60% Tim Duncan, Spurs
49% Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
38% Shawn Marion, Suns

29% Carlos Boozer, Jazz
22% Josh Howard, Mavericks
19% Elton Brand, Clippers
7% Lamar Odom, Lakers
6% Pau Gasol, Grizzlies
6% Zach Randolph, Trail Blazers
3% Rashard Lewis, SuperSonics
2% Mike Miller, Grizzlies

Which FIVE of these guards would you pick for your Western Conference?
70% Steve Nash, Suns
66% Kobe Bryant, Lakers
58% Allen Iverson, Nuggets
54% Tracy McGrady, Rockets
32% Ray Allen, SuperSonics

27% Chris Paul, Hornets
20% Tony Parker, Spurs
18% Deron Williams, Jazz
14% Baron Davis, Warriors
10% Manu Ginobili, Spurs

Actual picks:
G Gilbert Arenas, Wizards
G Dwyane Wade, Heat
C Shaquille O'Neal, Heat
F LeBron James, Cavs
F Caron Butler, Wizards

C Dwight Howard, Magic
F Chris Bosh, Raptors
G Jason Kidd, Nets
G/F Vince Carter, Nets
G Richard Hamilton, Pistons
G Joe Johnson, Hawks
F Josh Howard, Mavs

G Kobe Bryant, Lakers
G Steve Nash, Suns
C Amare Stoudemire, Suns
F Dirk Nowitzki, Mavs
F Josh Howard, Mavs

F Shawn Marion, Suns
F Carlos Boozer, Jazz
F/C Tim Duncan, Spurs
F Kevin Garnett, Wolves
G Tracy McGrady, Rockets
C Yao Ming, Rockets
G Allen Iverson, Nuggets

From Chris Sheridan's Friday Chat:
Did Melo's fight keep him out of the All Star game or is he just not an all star this year?

The Denver media has been pursuing this very question, and a lot of the West coaches they've surveyed said Carmelo's suspension will NOT impact their vote. So unless all those coaches were lying, Carmelo will be there.
Chris Sheridan

Thursday's Big Question

1. Who will be the biggest difference maker in the Super Bowl?

Can Peyton Manning continue his sudden run of playoff success?
In most Super Bowls, it's easy to identify one player who simply steps up to the challenge.

It could be John Elway sacrificing his body to gain a few extra yards. Or Desmond Howard turning punt returns into his own personal highlight field goals. Or Adam Vinatieri doing what Adam Vinatieri does best.

We've asked SportsNation to rank the potential relative impact of players and units in the Super Bowl. While they seemed to favor the Colts initially, the top 10 was split evenly between the two teams.

In order, who will make the greatest difference in Super Bowl XLI?
1. Peyton Manning
2. Brian Urlacher
3. Adam Vinatieri
4. Marvin Harrison
5. Bears Defensive Line
6. Devin Hester
7. Rex Grossman
8. Thomas Jones
9. Reggie Wayne
10. Joseph Addai

From KC Joyner's Thursday Chat:
Manning is too smart and quick out of the snap to get pressured. I think Chicago takes this with field postion (Hester) and field goals.
Richmond Hill

Jack, good point on Hester. Indy got burned by Ellis Hobbs last week and Hester is much better than Hobbs. The game could turn on if the Colts can keep the ball out of Hester's hands.
KC Joyner

Every talking-head says that the Colts will run a hurry up offense to keep the Bears base package on the field; thus, creating a mismatch of an LB one-on-one with Dallas Clark. Why wouldn't the Bears just keep their nickle package on the field so Ricky Manning Jr. can line up against Clark? Also, Urlacher lined up one-on-one against Reggie when he flanked out--why does everybody say such a mismatch?
Cicero, IL

Vito, if I were the Bears I'd be less worried about Urlacher's ability to cover Clark (who is a good but not great slot receiver) and much more worried about Manning vs. any Colts receiver. Manning was torched by Ike Hilliard and Joey Galloway for long TDs in the Tampa game and Indy has better WRs than Tampa.
KC Joyner

Wednesday's Big Question

1. What is the best Super Bowl team of all time?

Troy Aikman's Cowboys are among the best Super Bowl winners ever.
A certain level of dominance is assumed with all Super Bowl winners, but clearly, they're not created equal.

Page 2 will be running an all-time Super Bowl bracket in order to determine where the 40 winners rank among one another, but they've already determined the top four teams themselves. They're hard to argue with; the '85 Bears, '92 Cowboys, '78 Steelers, and '89 49ers are all exceptional teams.

Of course, even among such rarified company, there will still be controversey. Is America's Team the best? How about the Super Bowl Shuffle-era Bears? Who would win?

SportsNation was fairly divided by region, but in the end, about a third decided that they wanted no trouble and gave the Bears the lead.

Which is the best Super Bowl team of all time?
32% 1985 Bears
31% 1989 49ers
21% 1992 Cowboys
16% 1978 Steelers

From Thomas Neumann's Wednesday Chat:

1985 Chicago Bears #2? Are you kidding me? This is by far the strongest and most potent nfl team to ever hit superbowl. During the playoffs the Bears didn't allow a single point to be scored on them. I really feel as though whatever system you used definitely doesn't work. I'm a die hard Bears fan who HATES the dolphins and not even I think they deserve to be put as low as #7. My opinion; try again.
Colorado Springs, CO

I love your loyalty Marc. Number 2 overall is still pretty darn good! We felt that the Bears were obviously excellent on D and in the running game with Payton. But their passing game was hardly one for the ages. The '89 Niners were excellent in all four facets of the game. At least your team is in the big game again this year. I'm sure your '85 Bears will get plenty of love on ESPN in the next week and a half!
Thomas Neumann

How close was it between Da Bears and the '89 Niners?
Stevie G

It was very close. The deciding factor was the Bears' passing game. McMahon was actually a lot better statistically in '84. In '85, the Bears didn't have a wide receiver with more than 33 catches. It's tough to say that's better than a team like the Niners with Montana, Rice, Craig, etc. Plus the Niners were near the top of the NFL in defense in '89.
Thomas Neumann

Could the '92 Cowboys be ranked higher if you take into account a schedule that was tougher than it appeared on paper? They beat the two previous Super Bowl champs (Redskins and Giants)and the Eagles, who were the Super Bowl favorites that year.

Gosh, they were ranked No. 4! When we broke down the stats and personnel, we thought this was where they belonged. Bottom line on an excellent team, they should've done better against a bad schedule to get higher on our list.
Thomas Neumann

Tuesday's Big Question

1. Who will win the Super Bowl?

Rex Grossman has been solid if unspectacular in the playoffs.
The conference champs have been decided, giving fans two weeks with nothing to do but speculate.

Neither team has been playing up to expectations. The Colts were supposed to collapse under the dual threat of a Peyton Manning choke and a porous run defense. The Bears were supposed to be exposed as a one-trick pony with a sputtering offense and a shaky quarterback.

Those things could certainly still happen, but for now, both teams have avoided disaster and proven that they belong in the Super Bowl.

SportsNation thinks the matchup is relatively even, with a slight overall advantage to the Colts.

Which team will win Super Bowl XLI?
36% Bears will win a close game
34% Colts will win a close game
21% Colts will win easily
9% Bears will win easily

Which team are you rooting for?
52% Colts
48% Bears

Do you prefer a one-week or two-week layoff before the Super Bowl?
60% One week between conference title games and Super Bowl
40% Two weeks between conference title games and Super Bowl

Will you gamble on the Super Bowl, including pools, grids, wagers, etc.?
56% No
44% Yes

Which annual sporting event would you like to attend in person?
53% Super Bowl
16% World Series, Game 7
7% NCAA basketball title game
7% BCS title game
6% The Masters
4% Stanley Cup, Game 7
3% NBA Finals, Game 7
2% Daytona 500
1% Indianapolis 500
1% Other

How much would you pay for a Super Bowl ticket if your favorite team was playing in the game?
52% Less than $500
28% Less than $1,000
10% Whatever it takes
8% Less than $2,500
2% Less than $5,000

If you will not be in attendance, where will you watch the game?
46% At home
45% At a party
7% At a bar/restaurant
1% Probably won't watch
1% Travel to Miami and watch somewhere

Will you watch the halftime performance by Prince?
65% No
35% Yes

Which do you enjoy more about the Super Bowl?
88% The game
12% The commercials

Who will be telling us he's going to Disney World after the Super Bowl?
44% Peyton Manning
27% Brian Urlacher
13% Rex Grossman
5% Thomas Jones
4% Reggie Wayne
4% Joseph Addai
2% Marvin Harrison
1% Nathan Vasher

From Rodd Newhouse's Tuesday Chat:
Who you got: Colts or Bears?
New York, New York

Bears...Colts...Bears...Colts...Bears..Colts...I take the Colts right now. I see the defense for Indy continuing to play well, and I have bet against Manning too many times and come up on the short end of the stick. While the Bears' defense is outstanding, I think Grossman's play is the deciding factor. If Freeny gets pressure on Grossman, he will be done for. Now that I have said the Colts, the Bears will win. That also always happens to me!
Rodd Newhouse

Which is more likely to show up: Colts regular season defense or Rex Grossman 0.0 QB rating?

Grossman's 0.0 rating. If Grossman is asked to win the game for the Bears, it will not happen. If the Colts continue to play as they have, it will rattle Grossman and force him to do things he cannot do.
Rodd Newhouse

Monday's Big Question

1. Is Bill Parcells really retiring?

Bill Parcells will no longer stalk the Cowboys' sidelines.
The Big Tuna may have coached his last game.

Bill Parcells announced Monday that he would be retiring from coaching after a tough first-round loss to the Seahawks. He leaves behind an impressive coaching resume, including two Super Bowl wins and a reputation as a man who could turn around losing franchises quickly. He was a controversial, brusque, old-school coach who provided constant entertainment with every win.

SportsNation doesn't hold out much hope for a Parcells comeback, but has an overwhelmingly positive opinion of the coach and his overall career.

Are you surprised that Bill Parcells left the Cowboys before Terrell Owens?
66% No
34% Yes

How much of a role did Owens' behavior this season play into Parcells' decision to resign?
60% Contributing factor, but not the main reason
23% Very small -- Parcells left on his own terms
17% Very large -- It was a key determining factor

With which franchise did Parcells do the best job, considering the circumstances under which he took over the team? (Parcells' records below include the playoffs)
75% Giants (85-52-1) -- Took over 4-5 team and reached the playoffs in second season, before winning two Super Bowls
13% Jets (30-20) -- Inherited 1-15 team and went 9-7 in first season
10% Patriots (34-34) -- Inherited 2-14 team and made playoffs in second season, before reaching the Super Bowl once
2% Cowboys (34-32) -- Inherited 5-11 team and took team to playoffs in his first season

Which of Parcells' following accomplishments is more impressive?
52% Winning two Super Bowls with the Giants
48% Quickly turning around struggling franchises and leading them to the playoffs

When he resigned from the Jets in January of 2000, he said, ''I've coached my last game,'' only to return with the Cowboys in 2003. Will Parcells coach again in the NFL?
65% No
35% Yes

The Cowboys failed to win a playoff game in Parcells' four seasons in Dallas. In hindsight, was Parcells a good hire for the Cowboys?
73% Yes, no other coach would have brought the team so far, so fast
27% No, the team would have been better off with a coach that provided more long-term stability

Does Parcells belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
93% Yes
7% No

Where do you rank Parcells among the greatest head coaches in NFL history?
55% Top 10
21% He's not among the top 10
19% Top 5
5% Top 3

Will Terrell Owens play for the Cowboys in 2007?
87% Yes
13% No

Will the Cowboys return to the playoffs next season?
38% Yes
35% It depends greatly upon which head coach they hire
27% No