I am back from two weeks in Italy and only gained a half-pound; walking on those cobblestone streets and up the Seven Hills of Rome counteracted plenty of really good food and wine. Italian papers and TV carry little information regarding US sports, so here are some highlight things that I did learn about while I was gone and my commentary…
In the Skins/Cowboys game, Tony Romo ruptured a disk in his back; nonetheless, he led the Cowboys to a win with a clutch TD pass in the 4th quarter. That might have indicated two things:
1. This would be the year that the Cowboys would avoid their annual December doldrums and make the playoffs. It was a clutch play late in the game from the guy who has made so many bad plays late in games for the team.
2. The Redskins’ defense living up to its tradition of the last decade of giving up long drives late in games to seal a defeat was not even able to deal with a QB who had to be deactivated for next week’s game.
The next week, the Cowboys lost to the Eagles in the game to decide the NFC East championship. Kyle Orton was the Cowboys’ QB in that game and he had the ball with 2 minutes to play down 2 points. At that point, Kyle Orton threw and INT to seal the defeat. Consider:
Perhaps the jinx for the Cowboys is not Tony Romo but the jinx is on whoever is the QB for the team. Maybe someone put a hex on the whole franchise after Troy Aikman retired…
The Redskins did fire Mike Shanahan despite my suggestion that they not do so. While many Skins’ fans in the DC area applauded the move, consider that this puts Danny Boy Snyder and his GM, Bruce Allen, out on the trail to sniff out a new coach. Let me assess that situation for you:
Snyder is a PR and marketing guy. His football knowledge would not fit an elf’s thimble. He has tried every angle to get a new coach from proven NFL winner to hot college coach to former franchise legend to obscure assistant coach to proven Super Bowl winner since he bought the franchise. All of those machinations have produced a regular season record of 104-136 and a point differential over that time of – 467 points. So now, he is off to make another hiring decision that is sure to be marketed as the dawn of a new era in Washington football. However, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and so this decision process would appear to be doomed from the start.
But wait… This time Bruce Allen is part of the process and he is a “football guy”. That should make things a lot better, right? Well, Bruce Allen has been the GM in Washington for the last four years and he has made about as many meaningful appearances over that time as Punxsutawney Phil has made on February 2. Either Allen has been in hibernation all that time or he was complicit in the stupid personnel decisions that have left the skins with a roster full of substandard players. If he was in hibernation, then his value here should be minimal. If he was complicit…
The NY Giants finished their season with a disappointing 7-9 record. However, when you consider that the Giants started out 0-6 for the season and looked for all of September as if they could not beat a Pop Warner team; they held it together and finished the season on a 7-3 run. I am not trying to minimize the poverty of their season; it was a bad one indeed. Nonetheless, some teams that start out 0-6 fail to put the pieces together and wind up drafting at or near the top of the line come April. At least, the Giants avoided that ignominy.
A note from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot summarizes very well my sentiments about the NHL Winter Classic game held in Ann Arbor Michigan:
“Gimmickry sells. It’s hard to make the case that we’re evolving as a species when more than 100,000 pay to sit in frigid Michigan Stadium for a hockey game. Who told the approximately 80,000 who couldn’t see the puck what happened?”
Tim Tebow got a job. He will not be quarterbacking an NFL team or a CFL team or a team in Russia. Tim Tebow joined ESPN as a commentator for SEC football. Since he spent his collegiate days quarterbacking the Florida Gators, you would have to assume that he knows something about SEC football. Forgetting all of hype, adulation and criticism that surround Tim Tebow, the thing that will determine if he is successful as a studio analyst – or color analyst for a live broadcast – will be his articulateness and his ability to get his thoughts out within the time constraints of television. I only saw him do one extended television interview – he was on the set with the folks after a Thursday Night Football game – and he was “good but not great” on the mic that night. Remember, this was after a football game so he had to be tired there had to be some emotion bubbling in the background there; so, I would have to cut him a lot of slack.
Tebow seems like a genuinely nice person and one who has focused a lot of his time and energy to understanding the game of football. I wish him well in his new endeavor, which has nothing to do with being an NFL QB. Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times pointed out why being an NFL QB was not necessarily in the cards for Tebow:
“Stat of the Week:
“Tim Tebow has thrown 17 TD passes in his three NFL seasons — or two fewer than Peyton Manning threw in December.”
Finally, here is one more cogent observation from Bob Molinaro regarding the college bowl games:
“More appetizing: Next season, let’s merge the Beef O’Brady Bowl with the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. It may not make for a more interesting game, but it gives the appearance of a better-balanced meal.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………