James Harrison got a little snippy with Roger Goodell about the fines Harrison's gotten for helmet-to-helmet contact, and Ron Cook of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette didn't like it. While I understand the frustration some defensive players feel about how strictly these hits are being monitored by the league, they have to be disciplined. We can't lose sight of how tough it is for a defender to be instructed to go all-out and at all times and lay the big hit, but if you come in a little bit too high, suddenly you've got a penalty and a fine. I don't think players who deliver these hits are necessarily deliberately dirty, but the league is right to demand tackling technique be enforced to an extreme degree, given how much health damage a helmet-to-helmet can do. It would even be more impressive if Goodell took his concern for players' health a step further and dropped the notion of an 18-game regular season.
Cook's Post-Gazette colleague Gene Collier pokes fun at the media obsession with covering every last moment of the Super Bowl. I suppose it's the consequence of having a two-week break in between games, but I still like taking a week after the conference playoffs. The years they've played the Super Bowl a week later it just feels like the back-end of a four-round tournament, like the ACC tournament final in college basketball, only sans Dick Vitale screaming. Of course the Super Bowl is the last game of a four-round tournament, but separating it from the rest of the postseason gives it a unique feel and I like that. If you don't like the media crush, watch college basketball.
Scott Brown of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that CBS commentator Terry Bradshaw has made peace with Ben Roethlisberger, something apparently almost as important as Israel and the Palestinians making peace on the West Bank. The latter being almost as important as Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers singing Kumbaya together again one day. Bradshaw and Roethlisberger are the two greatest quarterbacks in Steeler history, so while I may poke fun at it, this is something that does matter to those who care about the Steeler heritage.
It's ironic that the first Super Bowl in Dallas has two teams that Cowboy fans grew to hate. When Dallas was first getting good in the late 1960s it was Vince Lombardi's Packers that always stood in the way. Then Pittsburgh beat Dallas in the 1975 and 1978 Super Bowls. Jeremy Brown at The Tribune-Review finds out what the locals are thinking about this. The folks in Big D should remember it could be worse--the Redskins, Eagles or Giants could be there.
Image from skohrboard.com
Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary on the NFL playoffs and coverage of college basketball.