It’s going to be hard writing this without sounding like an old guy that mows the lawn in black socks and shorts, but here it goes with a few thoughts off this past weekend.
WHEN ARE THE OSCARS?
The NFL playoffs and the Golden Globes were both this weekend and who could tell the difference?
Celebrity gossip. Outrageous quotes. Comedy routines from the podium. The famous interviewing the famous. Red-carpet glitz and endorsement riches. Hollywood has always been closing in on pro sports ever since the days of Babe Ruth, but with the Jets playing the Steelers in Sunday’s AFC title game the NFL is now officially Hollyball.
How else can you classify a game between Rex Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger? We don’t need another week of back-page guffaws to realize that these two guys haven’t exactly worn the cloak of celebrity with grace. Between Ryan’s WWF pronouncements and Roethlisberger’s public boorishness, it’s hard to see where Lindsey Lohan ends and a league that once gave you icons like Paul Brown, Vince Lombardi, Gale Sayers and so on, begins.
And do we care that much if Jay Cutler is likeable? Remember when they judged quarterbacks on resiliency instead of likeability?
THE NIELSENS SCHMIELSENS?
Sure, you can put a lot of the onus on Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco for the way this thing has careened into Hollywood, although for a long time The Ocho was just plain unscripted fun and a breath of fresh air before he went Madison Avenue a few years ago. But let’s not get into a semester syllabus about the root causes of it all.
It’s more interesting to see where the co-stars of the T.Ocho Show are going to end up after a weekend of AFC playoff games it was damn hard to find a wide receiver that could consistently get separation. All the tea leaves point to Owens and The Ocho not coming back to the Bengals and with Baltimore and New England desperate on the outside at receiver, it’s going to be interesting to see how much the highly-regarded Bill Belichick and Ozzie Newsome think of them.
COACHING CONTROVERSY…IN BALTIMORE
A struggle for points. The quarterback struggling. The fans calling for the heads of assistant coaches.
This is what’s coming out of Baltimore, where they haven’t had a potent passing game, it seems, since Unitas. At the very least, since Bert Jones. And you could hear the roar of disapproval when Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is coming back.
When Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was rehired two weeks ago, he made no such pronouncements about anyone on his staff and it appears that he is still evaluating. The only announcement the Bengals usually make on their coaches is when the staff is finalized. With the current staff leaving to coach the Under Armour Senior Bowl Sunday, that announcement may still be a few weeks in the making.
The Baltimore situation is telling, isn’t it? They won 12 games and life still isn’t good. There is never pure happiness in 31 NFL cities. The assistants know that when they sign up, but it still doesn’t make the criticism easier to take.
When you talk about the Steelers’ resiliency Saturday in overcoming two first-half turnovers against Baltimore, you also have to include how they responded when they lost both offensive tackles at various points in the second half. Not one, but both, and while it looked ugly most of the time in letting Roethlisberger get sacked six times, it was good enough.
The Steelers and Ravens were two of the five Final 8 teams that had more games lost to injured starters than the Bengals. According to Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News, the Bengals lost 39 games while the Steelers missed 51 and the Ravens 45. Green Bay had the most of the 8 with 91 and the Pats were second with 62.
Tags: less glitz, More blitz
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