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February 1, 2011 8:30 PM

Column Awards of the Week (1/26-2/1)

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 (though some may become reoccurring).

Column Awards for slide.jpgHow to write a Super Bowl article: Look at the two teams. Find a common link between the two. Write about how to win you need to have that common link. The proof? These two teams that made it to the Super Bowl have it in common. You like that circular logic? This year the common threads are a new age QB (one that is a threat to scramble) and hiring a young unknown head coach. There are other common threads such as having good defenses that force turnovers or having better offensive weapons than other teams but those are a little too obvious to write about.

Roethlisberger and Rodgers are both quite good at extending plays and making something out of nothing. With the new rules meant to protect QBs, how many times have we seen a defender let up on Big Ben and he escapes to make a play? Throw in Michael Vick's superb year and we've got a trend! But how big of a trend is this? The other two QBs in the conference championship games, Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler, are much more typical pocket passers. Does that prove the point that these "new" QBs are the wave of the future? No. Just take a look at last year's Super Bowl. Drew Brees and Peyton Manning hardly ever run the ball and this year, Tom Brady had the best season of all QBs. Sure, it's an added bonus to have a quarterback who has that extra dimension, but it also poses a bigger risk of injury and is definitely not the biggest factor to a QB's success.

The NFL is a copycat league and there has been a trend of hiring young coaches. But there are a lot of contributing factors to this trend and it is in no way a guarantee of success. For every Tomlin and McCarthy there are a dozen Cam Cameron's and Jim Zorn's that haven't worked out. It's not that teams aren't interested in hiring former coaches, it's that coaches like Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden have been very selective and quite pricey. With the pending lockout, teams are buckling down and aren't willing to shell out big bucks for big name coaches. Hiring a young coach might work...it also might not. There's no surefire formula for winning a Super Bowl despite what columnists might have you believe. On to the awards!


Idea That's Easily a Month Old and Still Stupid
Roy S. Johnson wrote on ESPN about players demanding trades (a really new topic!) and how they're so ungrateful (brand new angle!): Tomorrow, go tell you boss you've had enough. Say that despite her best efforts through the worst economy in our lifetime, despite her vision for the company you work for, it's not working for you and you want out. In fact, you demand out. You want to be "traded" to your company's competitor, or at least to another company in the same or a similar industry.

This is probably the worst analogy I've read yet. You don't get "traded" to a competitor. In fact, if the NBA were like the corporate side, these players would be constantly wooed and wouldn't even have to confront their boss. They'd be offered anything they'd like and all of a sudden would just quit to work for another company. So this analogy really makes no sense. It really just wreaks of jealousy. If you think athletes are getting paid too much maybe you should stop watching. Otherwise, stop complaining. 

Preemptive Strike on the Media

Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is a man who seems just as sick of cliches as I am. On Thursday, he wrote about all the cliches you will be hearing/reading in regards to the Steelers possibly winning their seventh Super Bowl: "At the gates of seven" was certainly a solid, worthy and playful headline on Monday of this week, but by Monday of next, let's hope that the next four thousand usages of classic rock imagery unleashed by "Stairway to Seven" and "Knock knock knockin' on Seven's door" haven't led us over the edge of an even slipperier slope.

It's the job of bloggers to make fun of you guys! You can't make fun of yourself! Now what do we have to make fun of??

Most Confusing Athlete Quote

Tim Bradley defeated Devon Alexander on Saturday and after the fight his promoter, Gary Shaw, had this to say about who he'd like to see Bradley fight next: "I think Mayweather is the single best fighter in the world that I've seen. If I'm going to fight, why fight Avis when I can fight Hertz?"

Is it really that well-known that Hertz is better than Avis? Am I wrong or does this seem like a weird analogy? Just because Hertz picks you up they're the best? I really didn't know rental companies were all that different but I guess Mr. Shaw has strong opinions.

Most Inane Roethlisberger Column

This is just a preliminary award. It could easily be surpassed in the next few days. The columns on Big Ben keep coming in. Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: But as I listened to him, I could not help but think of beleaguered Eagles QB Michael Vick. Every good game, every new city brought questions about the dogs and dogfighting and the sincerity of his contrition and his worthiness for a second chance. And seeing all of this Ben R redemption talk, without Vick disclaimers, begs the question:
Do we value dogs more than chicks? Do we value man's best friend more than our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces and grandmothers?

Is anyone suggesting this? The media has been trying to grill Roethlisberger on these allegations for months and did even moreso the first Super Bowl media day. But he just deflected all questions. That's why you don't really have a redemption story and why Vick has had one. Vick has been very vocal by speaking out about cruelty to animals and talking to the youth about making the right decisions. But that's because he HAS to. It's not like Roethlisberger could come out and start to talk to college students about not sexually abusing women. He has never been convicted of sexual assault and if he can't exactly become an advocate and talk about his past problems without everyone then assuming he's guilty.

Although I'd note that, if dogs had the same burden of proof that women had in sexual assault cases, it is unlikely Vick spends a day in jail. You can almost hear the arguments so often used by the lawyers in rape trials applied to dogs.
"If the dog did not want to fight, why did he?" "That dog had fought in the past. He had a rep for fighting." "Did you see what that dog was wearing?" "The dog enjoyed it."

Really? That's what you think would happen? I know she's trying to make a point about how women are treated in rape cases and how they are practically liars until proven they are telling the truth but again, these situations are far too different. You really think Vick wouldn't have been convicted if dogs were put on trial? Have you seen the pictures of those dogs?? Vick pleaded guilty and everyone could see the horrific physical evidence of his deeds. If that girl in Milledgeville had had any sort of physical scars that case would've played out a whole lot differently. I'm not saying Roethlisberger is innocent or anything of the sort but public opinion would've been swayed tremendously by that kind of evidence. Everyone is trying to compare these two stories but they really are too different to weigh against each other.

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