Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ill and fatigued (sick and tired)

So, I'm listening to the ESPN football preview show this morning (Sunday, Dec. 2) and it strikes me they either know nothing or are telling me nothing that I don't already know. They must have attended the John Madden School of Football Analysis, where every degree is a B.A. (BOOM analysis).

Mike Ditka is telling America, in a discussion of injuries, that no player, in this case Donovan McNabb, should lose his job to injury, that when McNabb is healthy, he should get his job back, regardless of how well back-up A.J. Feely plays.

Perhaps Mike never heard of Tom Brady. And where's the guy he replaced upon injury (remember him, Drew Bledsoe)? Retired. Out of football, after being shipped off to Dallas via Buffalo.

Sorry, Mike, I love ya', but you're all wet on this one and I'm passing on my next opportunity to go to your restaurant. But keep socking it to the NFL over the veterans' injuries, insurance and monetary issues. Make sure you're comfortably ensconced in your restaurant whenever you do.

Or maybe what's not being said in that discussion is that Rush Limbaugh (remember him?) was right during his brief stint on the ESPN pre-game show several years ago - that the NFL does have a vested interest in promoting the success of a black quarterback. Even McNabb says black quarterbacks are under greater scrutiny that white QBs.

Anyway, Limbaugh's statement got him dismissed from the show. I'm no Limbaugh fan, and he can take his ditto-heads and ride off with them into the sunset as far as I'm concerned, but at an organization where greed is paramount, the NFL, an organization trying to pre-empt its own broadcast partners with its own cable network, Rush just may have been right about that (his only correct statement ever, maybe).

And, oh yeah, everybody, save your pennies - the NFL Network is coming for them. You're going to love watching the Super Bowl someday - on pay-per-view. Don't beleive me? Ask Peter Gent, the celebrated author ("North Dallas 40") and former NFL wideout who has been predicting this forever.

But meanwhile, if Rush was wrong, I wonder if the cumulative NFL ass-kissers on ESPN's pre-game show would've even been having the discussion about McNabb losing his job for any reason. And yes, Chris, TJ, Keyshawn, even you Emmit, are NFL ass-kissers, although I suppose for the kind of money you're making now and have made previously, I would be too.

Oh yeah, two more things: First, about the double-standard in your come the Cleveland Browns are 7-4 and having a "breakout year" but the NY Giants at 7-4 are on the bubble, about to burst, in trouble? Mike North of WSCR-AM 670 in Chicago, the all sports-talk network, is right - you guys really are the "Eastern Seaboard Programming Network" and any market west of the Hudson isn't worth talking about for too long, especially since there's no NFL franchise in L.A.

And about the death of the ground-breaking, brave and outstanding Bill Willis, one of the NFL's first black players, who broke in with the Browns, it was noted on this morning's show that today's Browns will honor him by wearing his initials plastered onto their helmets. That's fitting and appropriate, and a wonderful and deserving tribute.

Except he didn't play for "these" Browns. He played for the ones now in Baltimore going by the nickname "Ravens" and claiming "Baltimore" football records as franchise marks in their programs and media guides. I thought those belonged to the Colts. Who rewrote NFL history?

Second, the Sean Taylor killing: This is a tragedy, to be sure, but it has Pat Tillmon written all over it. Tillmon's death was tragic as well, but it took the better part of a year to uncover the government/military scandal that tried to conceal it from the public. In the meantime, the NFL honored his death as though he was John F. Kennedy and the networks swallowed it by the spoonful. I'm no fan of the war in Iraq, but shouldn't we have similarly honored every soldier who died in Afghanistan and Iraq? Tillmon shunned interviews when he went into the sevice - he likely would've also shunned such over-the-top observations of his death.

But now, as details surrounding the troubled Taylor's death start to emerge, we're learning of his and his family's and his girlfriend's ties to unsavory characters, previous break-ins at his house that left ominous signs behind and secrets on the level of the Tillmon disaster. Yes, we should mourn his death. But how about doing the same for people of far greater character who died in less mysterious circumstances, people who played high school football or coached park district football, people we've walked past on the street everyday, people with far-less checkered pasts than Taylor, who attended the University of Miami penitentiary - don't they deserve the same tribute? We'll soon discover if Taylor deserved any tribute. I hope I'm wrong.