By updating RealClearSports I read hundreds of articles every week but sometimes there are particularly passages that need highlighting. And to make these passages more palatable I'm doing them in award form! The awards are completely random and will change weekly.
The end of the NFL season is approaching and for teams that either means the playoffs or looking towards the NFL Draft. As a Bills fan I was rooting for the Panthers, Bengals and Lions to improve the Bills draft spot. Things were looking good as the Panthers led the Seahawks, 14-3 at the half, the Bengals led in the closing minutes over the Saints, and the Lions took a lead into the fourth quarter against the Bears. But in the end I was disappointed. Each underdog lost and the draft order remained the same. So what does this have to do with the columns? Well, it brought about some very typical and similar angles among the winners and among the losers.
For the winners, the story was that they win these type of games. Contenders are able to "gut out" these type of games. They "found a way to win." Instead, how about you just say, "They played horribly but the other team was even worse." Because that's pretty much what happened in all three games.
And for the losers? It was about how they "don't know how to win." How about you try, "They're just not that talented." They were lucky to be in these games and eventually they couldn't overcome their flaws. Like Occam's razor, sometimes the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Now on to the awards!
Good teams win these games - Bears, Falcons, Saints,
And bad teams now should lose out - Dolphins said no, Panthers fans would like that, 49ers too.
For the second time this year, Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle grabs this award for his blind love of the Texans: They staggered around at the start, dug themselves a deep hole and came close to embarrassing themselves on national television.
And then the Texans did what they usually do. They fought back. They wouldn't quit. They did themselves proud, if effort and professionalism count for anything.
Did themselves proud? What about that embarrassing start? Where was their professionalism then? It's easy to come back when the other team thinks they've won the game already. The Texans are once again a huge disappointment. Accept it.
Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believes others think of Clevelanders (Clevelanites?) are neanderthals: It's probably a downer to some in the national media who arrived in town for Thursday night's game much like that ghoulish segment of fans who attend auto races hoping for a major crash.
After all, we are supposed to be the land of the Great Unwashed, where people still live in caves, killing dinosaurs for dinner and then eating them with our bare hands. Beer Night, Bottlegate and general ugliness is supposed to rule in this cultural wasteland.
Who has Pluto talked to? Do the people of Cleveland really have this reputation? I know the city itself has a bad reputation but I don't think people think this way about the people. In fact, I think people think favorably about them - especially the sports fans who have endured more heartache than any city in the U.S. No, Cleveland fans are fine people. It's not like we're not talking about Philadelphians here.
Stupidest Article of the Week
David Whitley of FanHouse isn't too impressed with the UConn women's winning streak: UConn has played nothing but lightweights in compiling its 85-game winning streak. The latest tomato can was USF, 80-54, Thursday night. ...Their tasks (comparing them to UCLA) were so different you might as well say that along the way UConn broke the Patriots' 21-game winning streak or Carl Hubbell's record of 26 straight pitching wins or Robin Williams' streak of 37 bad movies....
(I'll pause now to let the National Organization for Women add me to its Ten Most Wanted List). ...
Even with one frontal lobe usually tied behind their backs, the Huskies' margin of victory during the streak is 32 points. Thirty-one times they could have scored zero points in the second half and still won.
If John Wooden had it that easy, he'd still be coaching.
Is he just trying to get a rise out of people? This is one of the most inane articles I've ever read. Let's start with that lightweights comment. They already pulled out a nailbiter against No. 2 Baylor earlier this year and they always have to play Rutgers in Big East play who has perennially been towards the top of the rankings. On top of that, they have had to win six games in the NCAA Tournament as opposed to UCLA that had to only win four games.
He puts down their accomplishment by mentioning how easy games have been for them. Maybe that's because they are just that good. Why does their dominance diminish their accomplishment? If anything, it makes it that much more impressive.
And to top it off, he throws in a Wooden joke? Still be coaching? The guy died just six months ago; have some respect.
Attempt to Be Hip
Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press wrote about Minnesota's new hire, Jerry Kill (how cool of a name is that?): Remember all that big talk the day he announced Tim Brewster was history? Maturi said he would seek a "Tubby Smith-type hire."
LMAO over that comment.
Has it come to this? LOL? ROTFL? Ugh. If I wanted this type of stuff I'd go to Twilight chat rooms. That's what the kids are into nowadays, right?
Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union doesn't think Cam Newton should win the Heisman: Given what is now known beyond dispute, it's impossible for me not to penalize Cam for his father's sins. Is it not that way in real life? If a father breaks the law and goes to jail, do not his children suffer in lost income and lost quality time?
Wait, what? It's not like if a father breaks the law than the son goes to jail. The children don't suffer from others deciding they SHOULD suffer. It's like Frenette even believes Newton is innocent and yet he should still be punished for his lack of sins. I simply don't get it.
Haters Gonna Hate
Thayer Evans of Fox Sports thinks it has been an awful year for college football: The BCS battle cry that claims every week of college football is a playoff also fell flat on its face this season. We've known since late October that Oregon and Auburn would play in the national title game.
That made for another November of predominantly insignificant games. And this one was worse than previous seasons because of the drop in talent across college football.
Thayer Evans has been on a tear recently, especially ripping Cam Newton. I'm definitely not a BCS proponent but the argument that we knew who would play in the title game since late October is crazy. Insignificant games? Auburn went down 24-0 to Alabama before storming back to win 28-27. That same day, Boise State's chances ended when Nevada was able to win in OT, 34-31 due to a couple of missed field goals. And also in that month, Cal was able to slow down Oregon's offense and the Ducks just barely managed to pull that one out, 15-13. There were plenty of significant games and I don't think anyone would've been surprised if Auburn and Oregon had fallen out of the title game. And the fact that the two have been on the top for so long and are two of the most exciting teams in football (they score a lot) will make for a very exciting title game.
Hyperbole to the Extreme
Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe wrote about just how big the Jets/Pats game was going to be: "It's a regular-season game against a division opponent that's 9-2,'' insisted Brady, a.k.a. Mr. Pluggs and UGGs of 2010. "This is not the Super Bowl.''
He's right, of course. This is not the Super Bowl.
It's bigger. Tonight's game is in our backyard, not some generic grid in yahoo Jacksonville. There's no Roman numeral game that could support the hype and hysteria attached to this Jets-Patriots joust on "Monday Night Football.''
This is Brady vs. Mark Sanchez. Brady Gaga vs. The Sanchise. Who's got the better hair? Who wins the beefcake award?
Yes. Bigger than the Super Bowl. Two teams that will make the playoffs regardless of this result. That is bigger than who is crowned champion at the end of the year. You could say the fans will be more energized than at the Super Bowl. You could say it's the biggest game of the regular season. But bigger than the Super Bowl?
Oh, and I left the rest of that quote in there just to show you how stupid some of the rest of the column was.
WAY Off the Mark
Speaking of the Jets/Pats - I'd be remiss if I didn't include something about William Rhoden of the New York Times' article about the rise of the Jets and the fall of the Patriots just before the Pats' 45-3 beatdown. But I can't take credit for that finding. Check out Deadspin to read more about the gaffe.