George Blanda died yesterday. He played NFL – and AFL – football for 26 seasons; and while in his 40s, he led the Oakland Raiders to conference championship games as their QB and their place kicker. He started his career with the Chicago Bears in 1949.
Rest in peace, George Blanda.
As I watched last night’s Green Bay/Chicago game on MNF, my mind vacillated between two thoughts as one of the more poorly officiated contests of recent memory unfolded on my screen. The first was that as a tribute to George Blanda, the night needed a win by the Bears. The other was a flashback to Dan Jenkins’ novel, Rude Behavior, and his fictional referee Ernie “The Spot” Kennerdine and his crew – - known around the league as The St. Valentines’ Day Massacre. Check this out for details on Ernie The Spot…
In Rude Behavior, someone opines that Ernie The Spot and his crew are all a couple of payments behind on their mortgages and have made an investment in the outcome of their game. I am confident that was not the case last night. HOW-EVAH, if some investigative reporter ever produced evidence that the NFL Referee’s Pension Fund had invested in a future’s wager on the Bears going OVER the Vegas win total for the year, I would have trouble dismissing it out of hand.
First, the Bears won the first game of the year against the Lions on the “Calvin Johnson TD That Wasn’t”.
Last night, the Packers were buried in an avalanche of yellow flags that all appeared at the most inopportune times. I believe three interceptions by the Packers in the fourth quarter were called back.
I said to my viewing companion after the first interception was nullified, they have to do a make-up call for that one later. When the next call for a 15-yard penalty went against the Packers just moments later, I said that the Bears could not possibly lose. It went down to the final play and a winning field goal, but my prediction was on the money.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I had no wager on the game; I have no future’s wagers on the Bears or the Packers win total for the year; I have never lived in or near either Chicago or Green Bay so I have not natural rooting interest for or against either team. Having said that, if the officials continue to rule in favor of the Bears at the most opportune times for a couple more weeks, you can pencil the Bears in for a trip to Dallas in February as the NFC representatives to the Super Bowl. When all the yellow flags wind up going in your direction, it is hard to lose.
Women’s college basketball had two strange stories hit the streets in the past week involving coaches. The coach at IUPUI – - Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis – - was fired after an internal investigation revealed rules violations regarding recruiting and practice times. The strange aspect here is that IUPUI had gone 74-105 during the period where this coach was improperly recruiting players and making them practice too much. The coach should have been fired more for “cheating incompetence” than just for “cheating.”
At UNC-Wilmington an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team received an “undisclosed disciplinary action” when it came to light that she had forced one of the players to roll the length of the court for 30 minutes – - resulting in three reported barfing episodes by the player.
Memo for Assistant Basketball Coach: You were trying to teach the player how to defend the pick-and-roll not the puke-and-roll.
It is not unusual to find strange doings in the Mets’ clubhouse. Last week, I read that Oliver Perez has asked the team’s permission to play winter ball in Mexico this year. I cannot see any reason why the Mets would object since Perez did not exactly wear himself out playing summer ball for them this year…
The NFL has suspended Tampa Bay Bucs’ safety, Tanard Jackson, for a full year because Jackson is now a three-time violator of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Memo for Tanard Jackson: You do know that passing a drug test is one of your options, right…
Trent Edwards won the training camp competition to become the Bills’ starting QB. After two bleak games, the team sat Edwards down and started Ryan Fitzpatrick. Then they cut Edwards. In the span of 8 days, Edwards went from starting QB to unemployed. The back-up at the moment on the Bills’ website is Brian Brohm and there are no QBs on the Bills’ practice squad. I do not think Trent Edwards is a top-shelf QB by any means, but this is strange enough to make me believe there is a LOT more to this story.
Chiefs’ DE, Shaun Smith, has been accused by opposing players two weeks in a row of groping/grabbing opposing players in the “man region”. Here is why I am only marginally surprised:
As a defensive end, I am sure he has a bonus clause in his contract regarding the number of sacks that he gets this year Ergo…
Somewhere, Conrad Dobler and a whole bunch of Oakland Raiders’ bad-boys are smiling and nodding their heads knowingly as these grasping/groping reports make their way into the headlines.
Finally, here are two items from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald regarding motorsports in South Florida:
“NASCAR might move its season-ending races from Homestead (Florida) to Las Vegas starting in 2011. That is so hard to fathom! Why on earth would you move your signature event to one of the most exciting cities in the world when you have a perfectly good setup right on the far edge of the middle of nowhere?”
“Racing’s IndyCar series will run this year’s season-ending race at Homestead, but we will be off the IRL schedule starting in 2011. The local group, People Who Give a Crap, will be meeting Monday at the Waffle House. Corner booth.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…