NFL Wild Card Weekend: My Three Wishes

Richard O'Hagan@@theskiverCorrespondent IIJanuary 5, 2010

DENVER - NOVEMBER 23:  Punter Shane Lechler #9 of the Oakland Raiders punts the ball to the Denver Broncos during week 12 NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 23, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 31-10.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

1. I Wish That Shane Lechler Could Get The Respect That He Deserves

No, I haven't gone completely mad. I am using my first wish of the week on that much maligned NFL player, the punter. Not just any old punter, of course, but the one who just broke an all-time NFL record for the second season running, narrowly broke another (and only failed to do so because of his own selflessness), and who was just voted to his umpteenth consecutive Pro-Bowl.

For once, the Raiders were not just mindlessly flashing money around when they made Lechler the highest paid punter in history back in the last close season. When you've got an offense as, well, inoffensive as Oakland's, you need to know that your punter can pin your opponents deep into their own half with every punt. Lechler does just that, with metronomic regularity. Anyone who thinks punting isn't an art form should watch the man in action.

Oh, and he's pretty unassuming, too. When he signed that $16M deal, he bought himself a present. An iPod.

Frankly, if, when the time comes, a player like this cannot get into the Hall of Fame, the whole thing becomes even more ridiculous and devalued than it already is.

2. I Wish That Week 17 Had Been More Exciting

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Come on, it was a bit dull, wasn't it? Only two games out of 16 that really mattered, at least four teams sitting most of their starters by the end of their games, two playoff sides laying massive eggs and Drew Brees bottling the opportunity to set a league record by genuine means. I don't know about you, but I expect a lot more from my regular season finales.

3. I Wish That People Would Get Off Josh McDaniels' Back

Some might say that the Broncos completely blew the second half of the season. These people forget that this is a side which outperformed themselves for six weeks. The bubble had to burst sometime. The final defeat and failure to reach the playoffs has nothing to do with the coach doing the right thing and benching two players for insubordination and everything to do with the team as a whole not being good enough. Leave the man alone.

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