A Bunch Of Stuff Today…

Long-term readers of these rants know well that I admire the writings of Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle. Based on a comment in one of his columns last week regarding the things he is most thankful for, I have to conclude that his verbal artistry exceeds his culinary artistry:

“[I am thankful] For my family’s traditional Thanksgiving turduckin, which we wrap in a giant anchovy pizza, deep fry, dip in a nacho-cheese fondue trough and smother with low-cal cranberry sauce. Served a la mode, you betcha.”

I am anything but a “fussy-eater”. Nonetheless, I would have to pass on a serving of that concoction…

Last week, Miami announced that it would not participate in any bowl games this year despite the teams’ eligibility for a bowl game. This decision is fallout from the Nevin Shapiro mess which came to light several months ago. While this self-imposed punishment will not obliterate the sordid details of the scandal that afflicted the Miami football program, the folks in charge deserve positive marks for this decision. This shows that there is indeed some adult supervision there and that the adults are going to try to make this right.

I mention that decision by the folks at Miami because I truly believe that the adults in charge at both Penn State and at Ohio State should do the same thing. Scandals of a completely different nature than the one at Miami have afflicted both of these Big Ten schools in the last year. Like the one at Miami, the scandals have necessitated the removal of a long-term coach who enjoyed success at the school. Even though the three “scandals” are completely different in terms of their details, it would serve the institutions of Ohio State and Penn State to follow Miami’s lead here.

My long-suffering wife and I have a good friend who has worked at NASA for about 30 years. This morning, she sent along this link with the comment:

    “Taking sports to new levels!”

New levels indeed; who knew that one could play baseball at an altitude of 200 miles…?

I really like Mike Mayock as the color analyst on football games – - both for college games and on NFLN. He has no shtick; he does not try to morph the telecast into something other than the football game happening on the field in front of him and in your view. In a calm – yet authoritative – tone, he simply explains the why and the how behind what you are seeing on the field and does this without any long, didactic impositions on your eardrums. When networks hire new guys to do color analysis in football broadcast booths, they could do a lot worse than having the “newbies” watch and listen to Mike Mayock’s work as a template for how the “newbie” will approach the task.

If you did not get to see the Raiders/Bears game last weekend, you missed an unusual ending to the game. The Bears had the ball and trailed by 5 points with no timeouts left. The clock was running down with less than 10 seconds to play and QB, Caleb Hanie was under center to spike the ball for one more play. Nothing unusual about that…

However, when Hanie took the ball from center he took several steps back from center and looked to the side – - possibly to see if a defensive back had relaxed and let a Bears’ wide receiver get behind him on the sidelines – - and then spiked the ball. The problem here is that he did not spike it immediately and seemed to be in a “real passing position” and therefore his spike into the ground was flagged as intentional grounding. And that ended the game because with the clock running in the final 2 minutes and with the Bears out of timeouts, the rules call for a 10-second runoff and there were only about 5 or 6 seconds left in the game. Talk about ending with a whimper and not a bang…

If you are a fan of the NFL and follow the sport as opposed to following only a single team, you have to be reaching your saturation point on the “debate” surrounding the question:

    “Is Tim Tebow a good quarterback?”

I do not think that there are any more nuances to be added to the “debate” simply because there were not a lot of subtleties contained in the debate to begin with and sports commentators have bludgeoned the subject to death. Nevertheless, you can find every once in a while a comment that adds some humor to this subject such as this one from Bob Connolly in the Bronx Times Reporter:

“I’d hate to see QB Tim Tebow ever become afflicted by a kidney stone.

“Everybody knows that he can’t pass.”

Finally, here is a comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“Manchester United has added Charlie Jackson, a 5-year-old soccer phenom, to their development squad.

“As for rookie hazing, guess who has to bring the halftime orange slices?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Rich  On November 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

    …..then why isn’t it intentional grounding when the quarterback spikes the ball? The nearest player is the center, who would be an ineligible receiver. I never thought about this?

  • Brian  On November 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Rich: I’m not an NFL rules geek, but I believe the rule is written in such a way that the QB must take the snap from center (not via shotgun) and *IMMEDIATELY* spike the ball. No movement behind the line of scrimmage, etc. Just spike the ball. Otherwise, intentional grounding.

  • Rich  On November 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    The NFL has for decades instituted rules that help the offense, and I suppose this is why the game has gained in popularity so much. Spiking stops the clock, which is akin to giving an extra timeout to the team with the ball. But they do sacrifice a down, which helps the defense. I wonder when the rule first came into effect?

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 30, 2011 at 9:40 am


    For a much more authoritative rules interpretation, contact FOX sports and perhaps they can get Mike Pereria to address the background here. My understanding is that spiking the ball is specifically written into the NFL rules as an allowable offensive play thereby making it immune from the intentional grounding rule.

    Back in the 1960s, the way offenses would stop the clock would be to snap the ball, a wide receiver would take one step downfield and the QB would throw it over his head out of bounds. It was clearly “intentional grounding” with the purpose being to stop the clock; but since the throw went toward an eligible receiver, it could not be called intentional grounding.

    My recollection is that spiking came into existence in the 1970s – - but I am happy to be corrected on that – - and as I recall, part of the reason for the rule was that those WRs waiting for the pass to sail over their heads became fair game for DBs who clobbered them because in fact a pass was heading in their direction. It did not matter that it would have been an incompletion had Wilt Chamberlain been standing on a ladder; the pass was headed in that direction so the WR was “fair game”.

    Hope that helps…


    You are correct that spiking has to happen with the QB under center by rule.

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