On the Nightmarish Debacle

Embed from Getty Images

That’s the view of Cincinnati as one approaches from the Kentucky side of the river on I-75. Paul Brown Stadium is on the left – home of the Cincinnati Bengals.

I didn’t plan this post, but events in recent days motivated this post. Some are curious on my take of the craziness that was the Bengals-Steelers game at the stadium this past weekend. After all, some readers told me they thought of me during and after the game. So, pardon me as I stray from my normal routine in order to get things off my chest. My audience isn’t sports-based, but they know I enjoy sports.

It’s been interesting to read and hear the trashing aimed at the team, it’s coaches and players, the city, and the fans. I try to go beyond the surface where most of the comments reside. Most of the national press doesn’t tell the reaction here … the reaction by the fans, players, coaches, and writers. Actually, the news here has been much deeper and profound than most of the commentaries from anywhere else … and certainly including the Pittsburgh paper that I’ve purposefully read.

To loyal fans, this loss not only hurt, it left us frustrated and embarrassed. After all, we’ve been waiting for the next playoff win since 1991. Bottom line – the Bengals lost, and the Steelers won. Since the game ended, the city, the fans, the coaches, the players, the organization, those attending the game, and anyone I’ve left out has been battered and bruised by many … as if losing wasn’t enough.  So here’s a Cincinnati perspective – a reasonable one – an honest one – and one not filled with fan bias.

Two Bengal players lost their composure. They let their emotions overcome professionalism. No excuses because one must take responsibility for their own actions. Take the Bengal who fumbled late in the game. He’s feels the weight of all the subsequent events on his shoulders – yet accepts the blame.

A Bengal player who made the flagrant hit on a Steelers receiver near the end of the game. Unnecessary and horrific! The NFL suspended him for three games – but for this fan, that is not enough.

Referees are responsible for controlling the game, enforcing the rules, and protecting the players. The referees tried to control the game, but they let get away from them by the judgmental decisions they make. There were two clear instances of Bengals being targeted with helmet-to-helmet, but neither called. Helmet-to-helmet contact is in the rules, but like any rule, enforcement is left to the judgment of the enforcer. These misgivings by the referees increased tensions, not defusing them.

Are coaches responsible for the actions of their players? Absolutely, but not totally. Coaches don’t run, pass, catch, or tackle. They don’t interfere, jump off-sides, or fumble. They try to teach players the right way. It’s important they create the balance for a competitive environment. In the end, it’s on the players to execute their tasks and be responsible for their behavior. Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis is a respectful coach, and he certainly isn’t about disrespectful and irresponsible behavior. I wonder if those head coaches even exist.

A certain Steelers assistant coach frequently harasses opposing players … and on the crazy play in the final 30 seconds, he was on the field around Bengals players (yes, a clear violation of Rule 13, Section 1, Article 8). For whatever reason, no penalty was called (another referee judgment that would have offset the second Bengal penalty during the incident.). Keep in mind that when this coach was a player, referees threw him out of a game before it even started.

The NFL has created a macho-fan culture that leads to disrespect, harassment, and even violence. It’s not just in Cincinnati, it’s league wide. Finding fan-on-fan incidents is easy, let alone the throwing of batteries, beer bottles, snowballs, and whatever is available – and let’s not forget verbal abuse. The NFL, in their ever-pursuit of maximizing revenue, scheduled a playoff game between two bitter rivals on a Saturday night – thus creating an opportunity for an all-day tailgating experience. Not a good idea.

The majority of the players on both teams are good people, thus are not representative by the stupid. Anyone thinking that the Bengals organization is a house for thugs is extremely misinformed. Outside of the game, more players make the news because of bad off-the-field behavior than good – but those players are a small percentage of the whole – and this is true in all NFL cities – so is the fact that the good guys get involved in the community. After their playing careers are over, many stay in that city and remain good examples. Others return to their hometowns to build a successful life.

The majority of the fans in the stands are good people, not represented by the people jeering or throwing objects at an injured player. Sports fans can be terrible, and anyone thinking that bad fan behavior in the NFL is limited to Cincinnati is either naive or misinformed. As do the majority of fans across the nation, Cincinnatians condemn the behaviors of the few.

In the end, I think about these what-ifs. What if the Steelers  assistant coach would have been penalized, and the Steelers lost the game?

  • Would there be talk about the Steelers head coach who couldn’t control two assistants who received misconduct penalties?
  • Would anyone be talking about the two Steelers players who danced on the field while a Bengal player lay motionless on the ground?
  • Would anyone be talking about the Steelers hits to the head if they were called?

I think not … but as I said to others starting the day after the game, there is a lot of blame to go around on this one – and they all should not be pointed to Cincinnati. Interestingly, Cincinnati has owned up to their role – something that none of the other parties have done – not the NFL, not the referees, and not the Pittsburgh coaches, players, or organization.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 194

On Politics
After allowing several major airlines mergers, the Justice Department is balking at the merger between American Airlines and US Airways. What a crock, well, unless they tend to order the others to breakup.

A good article about why Americans hate Congress.

Now this stat from a recent poll emphasizes partisanship: 29% of Louisiana Republicans polled blame President Obama on the Federal government’s poor response to Hurricane Katrina (2005). 28% blame President Bush, and 44% are not sure who to blame. (For foreign readers, President Obama was elected in Nov 2008.)

A friend of ours said he wishes President Obama would come out against eating yellow snow so he can hear FOX News defend eating yellow snow.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Washington’s Hobby Lobby Lobbies to Strengthen Hobbies
  • San Andreas fault feels terrible about what could happen
  • Riotous chanting Iowa State Fair Crowed Gathers for Annual Deep-Frying of Virgin (I love the accompanying pic)
  • Researchers Discover Female Frogs Prefer Mate Who Knows Way Around the Cloaca
  • Elmore Leonard, Modern Prose Master, Noted for His Terse Prose Style and for Writing about Things Perfectly and Succinctly with a Remarkable Economy of Words, Unfortunately and Sadly Expired this Gloomy Tuesday at the Age of 87 Years Old

Interesting Reads
The autobiography of George Orwell (a book review)
Alex’s post about the annual eclipse of Venus
About Mussolini (a book review)
Brief history of lobotomies
Microbakeries
Global divide about homosexuality
The Onion’s Point-Counterpoint about bellyrubs

On Potpourri
Security detaining David Miranda was big news from the UK this week. I suspect he intentionally routed his plans through London with hopes this would happen.

This week’s post about hot sauces received interesting reactions. For anyone interested, here are two sites selling many of these hot sauces: chiliworld.com and hotsauce.com.

Last week I posted about an Ohio school district’s take on evolution and creationism in the science classroom. Thanks to Tim, here’s a collect of essays from the New York Times around a question: Should Creationism Be Controversial? The comments are interesting as they are filled with both hope and ignorance.

American football season is about to start. As a physical sport, it has received much criticism in recent years. Here’s an interesting article from the opposite perspective.

Our first handbell choir rehearsal was earlier this week. Interestingly, we received news that we get to be the first to play a new piece. Yep, we’ll play a world premier by a big-named composer in handbell music!

Sorry, no Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend because of a prep-time shortage.

It’s on to the weekend. In the spirit of El Guapo adventurism, here’s a longboard coasting down a small hill. Enjoy the ride, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Party Onion Dip

I know, I know … I said I was taking a break, and I really am – BUT, with the Super Bowl this coming weekend, I couldn’t resist dipping into The Onion’s archives for some related headlines – or as I like to think – here’s some Onion Dip for your Super Bowl party.

For my non-US readers, the Super Bowl is one of the most-watched television events as many people gather for parties – thus the prices for commercials are quite expensive. Actually, the commercials will get considerable discussion – thus the inclusion of a video.

The game itself will be the first ever Super Bowl involving each team (San Francisco and Baltimore) coached by two brothers. Will you be attending a Super Bowl party?

No need to combine any headlines, so do you have a favorite from the list below? Meanwhile, this time for sure, no more new posts from me during my break … but I’ll reply here … well, for a little …. and I really do mean it this time – I’m taking a break.

NFL coaches admit having to punt sucks

ESPN shows family film of young Harbaugh brothers coaching together in backyard

Two dogs from same litter to coach 2013 Puppy Bowl

Pre-game coin toss makes player realize randomness of life

John Madden eats RV

Referee frustrated over number of commercials shown in replay booth

Super Bowl matchup rekindles smoldering resentment of San Francisco-Baltimore war of 1877

NFL player works out often

Commissioner proposes eliminating ball from NFL

Referee disallows touchdown after dropping ball handed to him by player

Mothers of NFL players concerned about binge drinking on bottom of pile

Area man thinking up funny things to say at Super Bowl party

Voices in headset calling coach “Idiot”

Hungry defense feeds on crowd

Super Bowl Party Tip: Pre-soak Doritos in beer

On the Approaching Traditions

NOTE: This post is about college football in the U.S., but there is something here for everyone!

Saying that college football is big in the U.S. is an understatement. Not only is it popular, it is also big business – actually ginormous! Nonetheless, with the 2012 season starting toward the end of this month, fan excitement is building.

I like the traditions of college football – and oh my, there are many – but one post cannot capture them all. Much like politics, one’s favorite traditions stems from their loyalties. Simply put, here are some of my favorites.

Colleges have their collection of spirit songs, fight songs, and alma maters. Here’s mine – a song that I played many times in my time as a member of the BGSU Falcon Marching Band – Forward Falcons. (Yes, that’s me on the album cover here.) BTW – Here’s a site where one can find a plethora of college spirit songs.

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From the Michigan’s “Big House” hosting 110,000 to the small stadium holding 4,000, fans file into colossal venues across the land to watch their gladiators. One of my favorite venues is also one of the oldest in college football. Nippert Stadium , located in the center of campus at the University of Cincinnati, is a cozy place with great site lines for fans. Given a full house and a raucous crowd, it’s a tough place for opponents. (My past post on Nippert) The band racing down the old concrete steps is always a risky venture, but a traditional pre-game entrance.

More on Nippert

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Avid fans help create an atmosphere that seems unique to college football. Some say that game day in Madison is the place to be because those fans know how to have a good time while intensely supporting their Wisconsin Badgers. I’ve been there once, and what an experience – and witnessing their eruption in song was both a surprise and a treat!

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Teams have nicknames (my past post) and mascots, such as Herbie Husker, Bucky Badger, Freddie Falcon, Puddles the Duck, Tommy Trojan, Benny Beaver, Buster Bronco, or single names as Smoky, Cocky, Testudo, just simply The Bearcat … animals as Bevo (longhorn steer), Uga (bulldog), Ralphie (Buffalo), Tusk (bore hog), Traveler (horse), and many more.

Before you get to the video, here are a few other links about mascots: Wikipedia list of mascot names , a photo gallery of mascots , a video of bad mascots, and my post on nicknames. Meanwhile, I gotta love this short video about Puddles, the Oregon Duck.

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As the home team finally enters the field shorting before kickoff, fans erupt! I’ve never been to Clemson University, but someday I want to be in the stands as their Tigers enter the famed field known as Death Valley.

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Pregame and halftime is for the college bands, which add to the atmosphere and have historic traditions of their own. I may live in Ohio, but that does not mean I root for Ohio State. Nonetheless, as a former band member, I respect their long-standing tradition of Script Ohio.

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Meanwhile, the college football season starts by the end of this month. Good luck to your favorites, and if my team plays yours, I wish you the best with the other games.

They’ve Earned It Rankings: Week 2 2010

Two weeks into the season and a few surprises have notched knots on the heads of many pundits. Meanwhile, I continue to base rankings on the old fashion way – they earn it by playing someone noteworthy and winning.

From Last Week

  • Up – Michigan
  • Down – LSU, Utah
  • Out – Boise State, TCU, Maryland, BYU, Fresno State, Notre Dame, Kansas State
  • New – most of the list

What? How can Boise State be out? It’s simple: last weekend they did not play and Va. Tech lost to James Madison. Maybe they’ll return in a few weeks.

They’ve Earned It Rankings: Week 2

  1. Michigan (2-0) (UMass)
  2. South Carolina (2-0) (Furman)
  3. LSU (2-0) (Mississippi St)
  4. Ohio State (2-0) (Ohio U)
  5. Oklahoma (2-0) (Air Force)
  6. Utah (2-0) (@ New Mexico)
  7. Alabama (2-0) (@ Duke)
  8. Oregon (2-0) (Portland St)
  9. Auburn (2-0) (Clemson)
  10. Texas (2-0) (@ Texas Tech)

Good news for the week 3 weekend as only five games involves non-D1 teams. The games below are some of the more interesting out-of-conference games.

  • Cincinnati @ NC State
  • Maryland @ West Virginia
  • Air Force @ Oklahoma
  • USC @ Minnesota
  • Nebraska @ Washington
  • Tulsa @ Oklahoma State
  • Clemson @ Auburn
  • Iowa @ Arizona
  • Houston @ UCLA
  • Notre Dame @ Michigan State