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Celebrate Good Times, C’mon!

NFL Penalty FlagIn the early 1980’s, Kool & The Gang urged us to “celebrate good times” in their #1 Billboard hit “Celebration”. Back then, the NFL and it’s players took that message to heart with some of the most entertaining post-score frolic ever displayed at a sporting event. The Billy “White Shoes” Johnson end-zone dance, Ickey Woods’ “Shuffle”, the Fun Bunch jump, and others, delighted crowds and TV watchers alike, helping to propel the league to the top of the American sports popularity charts.
Today, while the iconic disco hit continues to get regular radio airplay, and is a staple of every wedding DJ’s playlist, the NFL has decided to take the opposite approach and secure it’s moniker’s definition as the “No Fun League”. For example, any type of group celebration, or multi-player choreographed revelry is verboten … very odd for the ultimate TEAM sport. Any use of a prop; including the ball, goal posts, or pylons; is forbidden. Further, anything that the officials deem inappropriate or found to be remotely taunting can evoke the dreaded yellow flag indicating a 15 yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty.
Granted, the TD hoopla was getting out of hand with the likes of Terrell Owens and his antics – which included carrying a sharpie in his sock to autograph the ball and hand it to the defender, taking the ball to mid-field and spiking it on his opponent’s logo, and taking a nap on the ball in the end-zone on his opponent’s painted name. His celebrations were more taunting in nature, forcing the league’s honchos to reign in his potentially volatile-reaction-inducing acts.
However, as usually happens, the chieftains let the pendulum swing too far. Just this season alone, we’ve seen the penalty flag fly for two players who have imitated shooting an arrow into the air; three players who gathered and waved their arms in the air; and, just yesterday, a player was flagged for shooting the football into the air as if it were a basketball! Players can’t even remove their helmets on the field without incurring a penalty.
It’s time for the NFL to wake up! TV ratings are falling; teams are having trouble selling out; and the air of a fun, and even outlandish, player pool filled with mesmerizing personalities which helped lift the league to unprecedented heights is seemingly disappearing. The powers that be need to allow the hilarity of an Antonio Brown hugging the goal posts, the joy of a Cardinal team dancing, or the delight of a Michael Crabtree throwing the ball 50 feet into the air, to occur WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE. They need to allow their players to “celebrate good times … C’MON!”.

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I Will Miss “OMAHA!”

Peyton Manning Says GoodbyeHe knew it. We all knew it. But, Peyton Manning was too classy to make his team’s championship moment about him. No … he waited until nearly the last minute possible to announce he was taking that proverbial stroll into the sunset on his brilliant NFL career in order for his teammates, coaches, and organization to bask in the glory of the rare feat of becoming Super Bowl champion. Oh, I’m sure we could all name a player or two (dozen) that would have stolen the spotlight in their post-game interviews and taken center stage in the media circus. But, not this ring leader.
Nor should it be surprising that the ultimate on-field leader would take the high road off-field, as well. He has spent his entire career trying to deflect the well-deserved attention to others; like colleagues Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas; coaches Tony Dungy, John Fox, and Gary Kubiak; or even team owners Jim Irsay and Pat Bowlen. So, when it came time to answer whether the 50th edition of Super Sunday would be his last in the NFL, he decided to merely say he was going to enjoy the moment “with some Buds” (we can only hope that there may have been some Spicoliesque double entendre intended).
In a word, Peyton Manning is “class”. It’s been the mantra of the way he has handled himself his entire time in the limelight of football. No outrageous attitude, no sense of entitlement, no diva behavior (can’t say the same for his QB sibling). Yet, he dedicated himself completely to his craft, honing his gridiron IQ and skills to the very end. If one was to ever search for the penultimate blueprint for success, Peyton Manning’s work ethic, attitude, and approach should certainly be considered.
I will miss Peyton Manning. I will miss the example he set, not only for his fellow football player, but for every fan of the game. I will miss seeing his magician-like play-action fakes, his pinpoint passes under ponderous duress, and his artful last-second audibles. Most of all, I will miss, as the play clock winds down to it’s last few precious ticks, the loud yell of “The Sheriff” preparing the other ten for the impending snap: with the accent on the third syllable … “OMAHA!”

Redskins Win Title …

WARNING:  THIS BLOG MAY CONTAIN EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AND/OR ADULT THEMES! (Sorry, no porn)

Redskins

… as the NFL’s most accommodating team.  That’s right … the most accommodating!   If you need a win, just play against the Redskins.  The Carolina Panthers hadn’t won a game this season until facing the Skins.  Kansas City had lost 9 straight games, dating back to last year, before gaining a win against Washington this week.  Detroit had to go back three seasons and 18 games before avoiding defeat at the Redskins’ behest.  The Skins even tried their best to accommodate the Tampa Bay Bucs and the St. Louis Rams, 10 and 16 straight losses respectively, who each came up only a field goal short of a victory dance.

Many will argue that this dubious record by the Nation Capitol’s hapless football team makes them the “worst team” in the league.  It is hard to argue against that epithet.  But, I try to be as affirmative as possible in the face of such incredible negativism.

So, in the interest of putting a positive spin on the Skins’ dire situation, I am giving them the title of “most accommodating”.  Anyone who desires to taste triumph might consider making the Washington Redskins their next opponent … they are very likely to oblige.  John McCain, Bernie Madoff, AIG, and the Tennessee Titans … are you listening???

Why all the fuss, Rush?

October 16, 2009 6 comments

The incredible noise surrounding Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to be part of a group seeking to buy the NFL’s St. Louis Rams has become quite deafening.  He is claiming that he is being discriminated against and, in essence blackballed, from owning a National Football League team.  He bases that claim on the fact that his proposed inclusion in the bidding process by this particular group of investors was going to be opposed by the Player’s Union, as well as some of the more powerful minority groups in this country, for his numerous off-color and even racist comments in regards to the NFL and it’s players.

We could sit here and debate the man’s First Amendment rights, or whether or not a known drug abuser is fit for NFL ownership. We could argue if the NFL is a closed organization that has the right to determine who is part of their “club”.  We could talk about whether or not he has ever truly recanted his intolerant comments towards the players and the league.

But, all of those subjects, which Rush has been wrapping himself up in the last few days, are not and have never been moot.  That’s because the right-wing talk-show host has created this huge media morass after he was withdrawn from the interested investment group, by the group themselves.  That’s right … his own peeps didn’t want him anymore!  It wasn’t a liberal/minority conspiracy or lack of “American convictions” by the league and it’s ownership.  It was simply that Rush’s own people couldn’t afford the liability he represents if they were to make a successful bid … or perhaps they were just tired of hearing him talk.

So, we can spend all our time deliberating these hypothetical rhubarbs.  Or, we can devote our attention to some of the more pressing matters facing our country like jobs, the economy, healthcare, energy, or the recent story that the Arctic ice cap will possibly fully melt this coming summer.  Somehow, I think Rush will stay with the more selfish debate.  I just hope the rest of us can rise above the din.