The passing of Joe Paterno leaves the world of NCAA athletics in a poorer place today than it was last week. Until and unless there is credible evidence that he aided and abetted the alleged – - as of this moment – - sexual abuse of children by his former assistant coach, his legacy with regard to collegiate athletics is in the pantheon of coaches and administrators. To all who assert that with regard to the scandal swirling around Penn State at the moment he “should have done more”, let me say that those folks have set an unusual standard for their own behavior for the duration of their time on this planet. “Should have done more” is a standard that one might achieve in only the rarest of circumstances …
Rest in peace, Joe Paterno.
Here is a comment by Bob Molinaro from his column last Saturday in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot – - the day before the NFL Conference Championship games:
“The way it is: This Sunday, not Super Bowl Sunday, is the best day of the year in the NFL. This Sunday is for actual fans, not dilettantes who go to parties because it’s the fashionable thing to do. Sunday is about football, not fondue or chicken fingers or how many guests you can fit into your home. It’s about watching two games from start to finish and avoiding idle chatter with people you ordinarily wouldn’t want in the same room when the game is on. Super Bowl Sunday is a party that turns into a distraction. This Sunday is pure football.”
Indeed, yesterday was about football and not any kinds of distractions that might impose themselves from fancy food or a room full of folks who do not know a football from a fire truck. Other than fans of the Ravens and Niners or folks who had losing wagers on the games or people related to the Harbaugh family, it is difficult to see how a football fan could not have enjoyed those two games. Here are three observations from the telecasts:
1. Steven Tyler’s rendition of the National Anthem in Foxboro was painful. He sounded just like some of the talentless dolts who embarrass themselves during the auditions for American Idol. Just saying…
2. Conspiracy theory alert! During the Ravens/Pats game the NFL and NBC had a promo for the Pro Bowl game next weekend. It said it featured the NFL’s best players – - obviously with the exception of those on teams playing in the Super Bowl two weeks from now. And who were the three featured players shown in action? Drew Brees, Ray Rice and Aaron Rodgers. Say what? Rice and his team were still playing to go to the Super Bowl. So, was the fix in…? Enquiring minds – - and all that stuff …
3. The SF 49ers are the best tackling team I have seen in a very long time. No highlight reel head shots, just hit the guy with the ball at or below the numbers and wrap arms around him and take him to the ground. It works; I wonder how long until other defensive coaches copy that style of play…
I cannot leave the subject of yesterday’s football games without giving you an item from Greg Cote in Sunday’s Miami Herald. Here is a prime example of foot-in-mouth syndrome exhibited by a career politician:
“Vice President Joe Biden, appearing in San Francisco, drew boos when congratulating the Giants “on their way to the Super Bowl.” He either meant the San Francisco Giants and mixed up sports or meant the New York Giants and forgot where he was — whichever you consider slightly less dumb.”
The truncated NBA season is almost 25% done. As of this morning, 12 teams – - 40% of the league – - are winning 40% of their games or fewer. In this shortened season that would project to having 12 teams finish with records of 26 – 40 – - or worse. Two other things to note from this morning’s NBA standings:
In the Atlantic Division, only one team – - the Sixers – - has a record better than .400.
In the Southeast Division, two teams – - the Bobcats and the Wizards – - have records worse than .200.
Here are comments from three sports columnists regarding NBA happenings that are self-explanatory:
“And how about [Dwight] Howard’s free throws? Is that a follow-through or a karate chop? He’s like a golfer who has a marvelous game, tee-to-green, then putts with an umbrella.” [Scott Ostler, SF Chronicle]
“D-Wade celebrated his 30th birthday and gifts included a 2012 McLaren sports car worth $250,000. My last birthday gift was a dress shoe. The right one. To go with the left one I got for Christmas.” [Greg Cote, Miami Herald]
“According to TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal, Timberwolves rookie Ricky Rubio is ‘the Italian Pete Maravich.’
“No wonder Shaq had so much trouble finding the Coliseum the first time he visited Madrid.”[Dwight Perry, Seattle Times]
Finally, here is one of the “Keys to Victory” proposed by Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle prior to the Niners/Giants game yesterday:
“Establish the run, in order to set up your passing game.
“If that doesn’t work, establish the pass, in order to set up the running game.
“If that doesn’t work, establish the punt.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………