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Self-inflicted team distractions are a staple of NFL conference championship weeks and Super Bowls. The 49ers Monday became the first conference finalist to stumble when defensive lineman Charles Omenihu was arrested for misdemeanor domestic abuse following an alleged altercation with his girlfriend. We’ll see where this leads.

The four conference finalists share many characteristics and tendencies. They all run the hell out of the ball. With the occasional exception of the Chiefs, they don’t blitz very much. They all can really get after the opposing passer with a four or even three-man rush.  

The 49ers and Eagles are particularly similar. That game will look a lot like ‘Niners-Cowboys last Sunday. With this exception. Philly will get more pressure on ‘Niner rookie QB Brock Purdy than Dallas did.

We’ve all heard the football bromide that, “It’s really hard to beat a good team three times.” Remember, the Bengals will be trying to defeat the Chiefs for the FOURTH straight time.

If Mahomes pulls this off despite that high ankle sprain, he will be elevated from legend to mythological god.

While he says he has not made up his mind, it appears to me that Brady is going to play next season, albeit with a different team.

Rodgers will play, period, IMO. He now says he is open to re-working his gargantuan contract, whether that is to provide the Packers with some salary cap relief or perhaps to help facilitate a trade.

This could be the end of the road for Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas, despite Jerry Jones’ longstanding tendency to hang on to spent, overpaid players. Zeke says he’s willing to take a pay cut to stay in Dallas. He has already taken a large “yards per carry” cut.

Tony Pollard’s surgery to stabilize his high ankle sprain and fractured fibula reportedly went well. He should be fully healed well before training camp. Remember, though, that he is scheduled to become a free agent in March. I see a franchise tag in his future.

Remember that after Pollard left the 49ers game late in the second quarter, the Cowboys rushed for only 21 yards in the second half.

Bill O’Brien is back in the NFL after leaving Alabama to take the Patriots’ offensive coordinator job. That should restore some direction for a Pats offense that in 2022 often appeared to be stumbling around with a blindfold, a cane and a guide dog.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.