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Monday, January 09, 2006


I started off the playoffs 4-for-4 calling the games. This, I will admit, was sort of lucky - I just pick against teams I hate and think are pointlessly overrated. As it turns out, this is a very good strategy. The Bengals are overrated because their defense sucks. They get a bunch of interceptions from crappy QB's, and people call them "opportunistic." And I guess when Brett Favre throws you a pass, it's an opportunity, but I don't know that that's what they meant. David Pollack is the only really good player on that defense, and he's still very inexperienced. It's sad to me that Carson Palmer got injured, since now everyone will pretend that's why the Bengals lost. That may be why they got destroyed, but they lost because they have no real running game and their defense can't stop anything. Kitna came out and went like 19 for 22 before end-game situations forced the two interceptions and a lot of crazy throws to try to get back into the game. Oh well.

A note about the Giants/Panthers game, since the Panthers are some sort of crazy Hulk that only decides to play when they're angry. If I were a team about to face them, I would just spend the whole week making soothing comments and playing Barry White. As it was, Osi Yourmenorah or whatever said that Peppers/Rucker was 'the second best defensive end tandem' in the NFL, obviously implying he and Strahan were better. And from the box scores, it's hard to say otherwise: 3 sacks to 1, advantage Giants. But sacks are horrifically overrated as a stat - while Strahan and Umenyiora were busy trying to get to the QB to pad their stats, the Panthers just kept running up the middle. You can aggressively persue the QB if you have a solid group of linebackers behind you, not so much if your team just signed three guys off the street. Every running play, it was up to the DT's to keep Foster and Goings from attacking the defense - something they just weren't going to be able to do well. If, instead of trying to go for the glamor-stat (sacks), they had played better at the line, maybe they could have helped their defense a little bit. Watch the Steve Smith end-around (note to announcers: a reverse is different than an end around) - whichever of the two Giants DE's is on the right side was completely out of position for that, and let Smith get past him without any trouble at all.

Jacksonville continues to blow. All of you people (I'm looking at you ESPN) who keep masturbating over the idea of an NCAA playoff for Div-IA football, look at the NFL. Do you really believe that the brackets here are going to give you the best teams? There are maybe two teams in the NFC who would make a 12 team playoff that wasn't broken down by division. Imagine if NFL teams got to choose their own schedules, like NCAA teams do. They would do nothing but play bad teams to try and boost their W/L standing, which would inevitably be the only thing that determines playoff seeding. Playoffs don't let you determine "a true champion" any more than the BCS does. The irony is, the sportswriters who hate the BCS so much hate it because it didn't let them hand-pick the team they wanted in the championship game. The argument was, there's too much objectivity, and therefore it is not objective. Playoffs are stupid for college.

The only other thing I want to mention here is Jo e Paterno decided to say something he probably shouldn't have. When asked about an FSU player suspended pending an investigation of a sexual assault charge, he replied, after talking about past Penn State incidents:
"There's some tough -- there's so many people gravitating to these kids. He may not have even known what he was getting into, Nicholson. They knock on the door; somebody may knock on the door; a cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do?"

"Geez. I hope -- thank God they don't knock on my door because I'd refer them to a couple of other rooms," Paterno continued. "But that's too bad. You hate to see that. I really do. You like to see a kid end up his football career. He's a heck of a football player, by the way; he's a really good football player. And it's just too bad."

Much like the Fisher DeBarry thing earlier this year, can you really say that any of what he said was wrong? Not unsavvy from a public relations standpoint, but actually incorrect? From what I can tell, Joe Paterno actually understands what these kids go through much better than the people reporting the story. It's accurate to say that many times, football players in college have girls basically throwing themselves at them. It's possible that, in this situation, the football player in question believed that was what was happening and the girl felt the exact opposite.

If it was a genuine case of sexual assault, then obviously the kid should be punished. But Paterno seems to recognize that people shouldn't demonize everyone who ever has an accusation lobbed their way, since in the vast majority of cases, it isn't as clear cut as people want to make it out to be. It's not the guy in the alley holding a girl down or the guy in the club with the GHB. Those things happen, but especially on college campuses, it's often a problem with someone stepping over the line and another feeling violated because of it. Even with the Kobe trial, people basically assume he's a rapist. Which is too bad, since the evidence really did seem to point towards the girl accusing him being very troubled and the case being pretty uncompelling.

All Paterno was saying with the comments that have NOW's collective panties in a twist is that it's an unfortunate situation any way you cut it, and that it's too bad that this has to be an issue. That's it. That's all he said. And they'll call for his resignation anyway, because he didn't publically condemn a 19 or 20 or 21 year old kid for an act about which he had no information, and which may or may not have taken place. What would NOW prefer? Every time someone is accused of any crime against a woman, the world ostracize them without even hearing their side? That people just assume that all football players are rapists? Please.

I'm sure I'll post again on NOW later today, since I hate them a lot and mondays are always very slow. But in this case, they need to take a step back and look at what actually happened rather than being kneejerk idiots who call for a resignation where it probably isn't appropriate.

cranked out at 5:03 AM | |

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