Winning & Musing…..Volume 4.12

On tap…a surprising amount of football talk for early spring, with a little Madness sprinkled into the mix.

 

 

I must admit that my money was on either Tennessee or the 49ers landing Peyton Manning. I didn’t think the Broncos had the hutzpah to pull the plug on Tebow, although when Broncos boss John Elway says about his now former starting quarterback that he’s the kind of guy he’d want to marry his daughter the team’s real feelings became obvious. Implicit in that seemingly very nice backhanded compliment is the idea that Tebow’s a great guy but a terrible QB (which has been my point for months!). San Francisco was so close to making it to The Super Bowl last season, and the idea of Manning throwing to the suddenly unretired Randy Moss and the newly signed Mario Manningham sounded solid. I am not sure what made Peyton shy away from such an intriguing prospect. Surely it had to be more than not wanting to be in the NFC competing against his little brother, right?? And then there are the Titans. It would have had a nice feeling of symmetry to see the former Volunteer great end his career back in the The Volunteer State. Who says you can’t go home?? In Denver Peyton Manning…who has always been the big man on campus wherever he has been…can never hope to escape the shadow of Elway. Maybe Peyton Manning’s ego really is that much in check and his self-esteem that solid. Or maybe we’ll have us some drama down the road. We shall see.

 

Congratulations to Hines Ward, not only for a stellar 14 year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but especially for doing the classy thing and retiring instead of tarnishing his image by squeezing out one final year riding the pine in another uniform. I understand that it is hard for a lot of these guys to walk away from a game they’ve been playing since grade school. No one wants to admit when they are getting older, slowing down, and can no longer do what used to come so easy just a few years ago. Ward’s legacy is secure, and though this ending is bittersweet, his courageous decision to do the right thing means it is more the latter than the former.

 

I am a little ambivalent about this whole New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. I suppose no one can argue that it is wrong, not to mention a little silly. You mean to tell me that a guy making a million dollars or more can be motivated to be just a little meaner & hit harder with a $10k challenge to take an opposing player out of the game?? That just doesn’t compute. It’s sad that this stupidity casts a shadow over what was a memorable & heartwarming run to a Super Bowl title for the Saints during the 2009-10 season, a championship that meant so much to the hurting city of New Orleans. I think this sort of thing has probably always gone on in professional football, and was likely more meaningful back in the days when players made the kind of paltry sum that still dictated that they find an offseason job. Under those circumstances the opportunity to make some extra scratch would atleast make some sense. The tyrannical reign of Commandant Fidel Goodell continues, under the politically correct auspices of making an inherently violent game “safer”, whatever that means. The punishment handed down to the Saints, especially the season long suspension of head coach Sean Payton, seems more about the commissioner making a statement of his own power & authority rather than punishing any legitimate wrongdoing.

 

ESPN’s Skip Bayless has done the impossible. He has made fellow blowhard Stephen A. Smith seem almost tolerable…maybe even likeable…in comparison. This makes me loathe Bayless even more.

 

Tiger Woods is back…maybe. It is probably a bit premature to rejoin the bandwagon, but atleast he has returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in nearly three years. I realize that may not be considered a good thing by a great many people, but I am the forgiving sort that tends to give people a second chance. Tiger has paid for his sins on many levels, probably more than any of us will ever truly know. His return to the top of the leaderboard is good for golf, which is good enough for me.

 

So…now we now have our Final Four, and as expected the pretenders that had their moment in the sun during the first couple of rounds have all fallen by the wayside and the cream has risen to the top. In this case that cream consists of Kentucky, Ohio St., Louisville, & Kansas. The 4th seeded Cardinals are the “Cinderella”, although I’d hardly call the 17th most successful program in NCAA basketball history with 2 national championships and 8 Final Fours an interloper.

 

Texas Rangers fans can apparently…if they so choose…shell out $26 for something called a Boomstick, which is a 2lb. hot dog with fixins’ that include shredded cheese, chili, sautéed onions and who knows what else. Good Lord.

 

I am not sure what to make of Tim Tebow’s trade to the NY Jets. The move raises more questions than it provides answers. From a football perspective, are the Jets a good fit?? I know there has been some restlessness with QB Mark Sanchez, but I just don’t think they are really ready to give up on him yet. No matter what his shortcomings may be, Sanchez is undeniably a better signal caller at this point. How comfortable will Tebow be with fiery, egomaniacal blowhard Rex Ryan as his coach?? There have been lots of reports this offseason about discord in the Jets locker room, and one wonders whether this trade was a PR move to improve that image, if Jets’ brass legitimately think Tebow will effectively bring about a culture change, or the problems will just multiply. In the media & cultural epicenter that is The Big Apple will Tebow-mania fade quietly into the background, or will it detonate larger than ever?? On the spiritual front, should one feel sorry for such an inherently decent fellow being dropped into the big city cesspool of debauchery, or is this just a bigger stage from which Tebow can spread The Good News to the masses?? If it is the latter, one cannot deny the Hand of Divine Providence in the midst of these snowballing events. I don’t know any answers, but I cannot deny that I am interested in seeing how things shake out.

 

 

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