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July 3, 2012 2:30 PM

Column Awards of the Week (6/26-7/2)

By updating RealClearSports I read hundreds of articles every week but sometimes there are particular 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.

Column Awards for slide.jpgRamses Barden. Jim Cordle. Bear Pascoe. Tyler Sash. Don't know who those players are? They are all members of the 2011 New York Giants and they can all call themselves Super Bowl champions. A player that cannot call himself a Super Bowl champion that you have heard of is LaDainian Tomlinson.

Tomlinson was recently asked, when given the choice between the Hall of Fame and a Super Bowl ring, what would he choose and he responded, "Hall of Fame player without a ring, because you've got to sacrifice so much individually just to be good. They draft you individually and you've got to back them up and make them right. I think at the end of the day, even though I didn't win a Super Bowl ring, I felt like I backed them up for drafting me. I backed up the San Diego Chargers for picking me with the fifth pick."

Tomlinson caught some flak for his answer but anyone who disagrees is an idiot. Winning a Super Bowl is a tremendous accomplishment but it's not something an individual can control. As the names at the start of this rant show, there are a lot of players that win rings that hardly contribute.

It is all about circumstances and relying on teammates. Tomlinson did what he could do to try and get a title in San Diego but it didn't work out. Is he to blame for that? I guess you could put some blame on him but what GM wouldn't have wanted LT on their team any time between 2001 and 2010? He had over 1,500 yards from scrimmage for 8 straight seasons while scoring double-digit touchdowns each year. Would you rather be known as one of the best running backs ever or have been a bench player that never even played in the Super Bowl but still got a ring?

I'm sure Tomlinson wishes he had been in a better situation and I'm sure he'd give up plenty to have accomplished a lifelong goal of winning a Super Bowl but would he want to be a lesser player in order to achieve that? No. He worked his hardest and gave the Chargers his all but it wasn't enough. He can rest easy knowing he tried as hard as he could and will be rewarded with a bust in Canton in 2017.

Key to Saving NCAA Football? Stop Making Money.
Mike Lopresti of USA Today isn't too keen on a college football going to a playoff system: I mention the unsavory deeds that have blotted the landscape of college football by athletes, coaches and boosters, in the pursuit of cash or check. ... Did we just see a horrific child sex abuse trial in Pennsylvania, partly because a football program was so powerful that no one asked enough questions?

Is he really saying that college football could become even more corrupt? So much more corrupt that we could have something worse than the Sandusky coverup? Not to mention that that particular coverup happened about a decade ago when there was no playoff system. How much more corruption will there really be going from a multi-billion dollar industry to a multi-billion dollar industry making a few billion more?

Underestimating Phelps
David Whitley of Sporting News believed Michael Phelps should've tanked the 200-meter individual medley to allow Ryan Lochte to win: Phelps competitive instincts won't allow him to ease up on the gas. But if he'd listen to his public relations instincts, Phelps would realize the advantage of second place.
He'd still qualify, and it would help recast him as the Comeback Kid. Not only is that a better storyline heading into London, the underdog role is more realistic.

You know what's also a good storyline? Becoming by far the greatest Olympian of all-time. Phelps already holds 14 golds. Second place for most all-time is 9. He has a chance to win 7 more golds this year. Does he really need the underdog angle? And how risky is it for Phelps to slow up and coast to second place in these races where an Olympic appearance and missing out can be the difference of a second or two? Luckily, Phelps didn't listen to Whitley and he defeated Lochte by .09 seconds.

Andy Rooney Award of the Week
Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press believes baseball is just fine without instant replay: Foul balls, sure, but how about bang-bang plays on the bases where umpires can study five different replays for 15 minutes and still not figure out the call?
Imagine instant replay for balks. Can a manager throw a red flag on the field on a pickoff move when figuring out what is a balk really is remains subjective to even umpires?
And, of course, balls and strikes. No one knows what the strike zone really is, but we do know it's a moving target between umpires and leagues that has resisted definition even after more than 60 years of televised games.

Ah, good old slippery slope argument. We're not talking about instant replay for balks. Why extrapolate out that far? And, we don't know what the strike zone is? Does he know umpires get assessed based on how they called those balls and strikes? The league definitely has a definition of the strike zone. And would that really be so wrong if the strike zone was completely left up to science? Can you imagine every ball or strike called correctly? What would be wrong with that?

It's part of the beauty of the game, just as the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium and the Green Monster at Fenway flout the idea of perfect symmetry across baseball. Things aren't always fair, but it's baseball and they tend to even out over time. ...
Sure, instant replay may right some wrongs. But it takes away some of the magic of the game; some of the things that are as traditional about baseball as hot dogs and cold beer.

Varying ballpark dimensions has nothing to do with umpires making bad calls. And it takes away the magic? The magic of teams getting screwed? How about we go back to the steroid era. Without steroids some of the magic has gone out of baseball as well.

NBA's New Villain
Greg Cote of the Miami Herald believes Dwight Howard is taking the mantle from LeBron: Howard has had "The Indecision," months and months of waffling and conflicting intentions that have torn apart Orlando and turned fans against him. In terms of public image the Magical powers have left the player who calls himself Superman. Dwight still has one of sports' great smiles, but now you see deceit and disingenuousness behind it.

I love "The Indecision." Just in the word alone it implies it's worse than what LeBron did. LeBron made a choice. It might not be one a lot of people liked but at least he decided. All of this waffling back and forth is so much worse. When is Dwight Howard going to realize he can't be loved by all? By attempting to do that he no longer has any fans. It's going to take at least a ring for him to turn his reputation around.

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