Welcome to the GRILL ROOM

November 23, 2009 7:30 AM

Good sports-writing takes a beating

scoreboard.jpgSo you are a beat writer for the Detroit Lions or the Cleveland Browns.

You know that you have never really worked a day in your life. You feign being put upon and miserable to your friends and colleagues, who unwittingly play along and bemoan the twisted fate that has lead to you bearing witness to some of the worst NFL football ever played.

You give 'em that grin-and-bear-it sigh, but deep down inside you know the only thing easier and more entertaining than covering a truly great team, is covering a truly rotten one.

So you headed to Ford Field yesterday after spending the week memorizing every synonym for the word, awful. You are prepared to unleash these words early, often and in no certain order to describe what will undoubtedly transpire when these two NFL laughingstocks stumble onto the field play.

You are loaded up on hot dogs, coke and a bucketful of sarcasm. Yours is a thankless chore, but you wouldn't have it any other way.
And then the unthinkable happens.

Brady Quinn and Matthew Stafford channel Joe Namath and Johnny Unitas and light up the stadium to the tune of 736 yards and nine touchdowns. You watch a game in which the Lions neither win in regulation, nor overtime.
Instead, they pull out a 38-37 thriller when they are awarded an un-timed play after a pass interference call on the Browns in the end zone on the last of play of regulation.

This last play is run only after Stafford is literally peeled off the field by his lineman after being flattened following the pass to the end zone. So the kid limps to the line and fires a missile to Brandon Pettigrew for the game-winning touchdown.

Like Jack Buck, you can't believe what you just saw.

Now your editor is on the phone asking for all kinds of copy. Even the news side of the operation wants in on this action.

You tell 'em both to calm down. The game wasn't that great.

Now onto a sampling of what the nation's sportswriters and columnists are saying about their football teams across every NFL city, because in the Grill Room we love the newspaper business, even if it hates itself.     

(1) Indianapolis 17
(12) Baltimore 15

(10) Dallas 7
(25) Washington 6

(32) Detroit 38
(31) Cleveland 37

(17) Green Bay 30
(21) San Francisco 24

(19) Jacksonville 18
(26) Buffalo 15

(28) Kansas City 27
(6) Pittsburgh 24 OT

(3) Minnesota 35
(24) Seattle 9

(14) N.Y. Giants 34
(11) Atlanta 31 OT

(2) New Orleans 38
(27) Tampa Bay 7

(8) Arizona 21
(29) St. Louis 13

(7) San Diego 32
(18) Denver 3

(5) New England 31
(23) N.Y. Jets 14

(30) Oakland 20
(4) Cincinnati 17

(13) Philadelphia 24
(22) Chicago 20

(*) denotes NFL 100-proof ranking

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