The way Shaun Alexander was running at the mouth last year, the Seattle Seahawks were almost ready to forget how well he ran the football.
The season ended in disappointment, as it usually does for the 'Hawks.
But 2004 had an especially sour taste when Alexander complained about not getting the two yards he needed to win the NFL rushing title.
As another example of how winning changes the view of the world, everything is happy in the Pacific Northwest these days as the Seahawks are humming along at 7-2.
With 1,114 yards through nine games, Alexander has a healthy lead on the Colts' Edgerrin James (1,027 yards). Then it's a big dropoff to Atlanta's Warrick Dunn at 896.
Even more impressive, Alexander is in line to break a couple of league scoring records.
The explosive back is on pace for 30 touchdowns which would trump the 27 Priest Holmes scored in 2003. It would also give Alexander 180 points, four more than Paul Hornung's record 176 in 1960. (Hornung scored 15 TDs for the Green Bay Packers that year, but also kicked 15 field goals and 41 extra points.)
"We know we have a great shot to break some NFL records," Alexander said. "We have a great shot to break all the Seahawks records. We have a shot to do some great things that have never been seen or done in this city.
"Are we trying to accomplish them all? Yes, all of them. We are going to keep shooting for it."
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said the internal squabbles of last winter were blown out of proportion. Alexander, who is in the final year of his contract, hasn't let the business side of his job become a distraction.
"I think too much was made of what happened right at the end of last season," Holmgren said. "Shaun and I have a good relationship.
"To Shaun's credit, he's just kind of letting that happen and playing football. He is handling it perfectly."
BENGALS ROAD TRIP
With nothing to do on a Monday night last season, Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer and receiver Chad Johnson went on a road trip.
They drove the two hours or so from their hometown to Indianapolis to watch the Colts play the Vikings in the Monday nighter.
The reason? To observe how the Colts' dynamic duo of quarterback Peyton Manning and receiver Marvin Harrison handle themselves both on the field and on the sidelines.
"We wanted to see how they interact," said Palmer, whose 7-2 Bengals play host to the 9-0 Colts tomorrow. "Are they doing the same things we're doing, or are they doing something completely different.
"A lot of stuff that they were doing, we were doing previously. It just kind of gave us (the feeling of): 'All right, here are what the best two in the league are doing,' and what can we take from those guys."
CAUGHT IN A TRAP?
When Dallas Cowboys players returned to work after their unlikely Monday night win, there was a big blue mousetrap hanging from the locker-room ceiling. In the hallway was another trap with a piece of cheese.
The "cheesy" message from Cowboys coach Bill Parcells? Don't fall into the trap of taking the Detroit Lions lightly after the dramatic comeback over the Philadelphia Eagles.
"The way we've been winning, we're not in a position to be over confident," Jason Witten said of the 6-3 'Boys who share the NFC East lead with the New York Giants.
Parcells is known for such motivational tricks. When he was with the Jets, the coach once put an empty gas can in linebacker Brian Cox's stall with a question: "Do you have any left in the tank?"