Sam

Tough guys don’t have tattoos

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2012 at 3:08 am

Well, the Super Bowl is next week and I must admit that I am looking forward to it – simply because I like the idea of a New York team beating a Boston team. But I really have no interest anymore in professional football as several of my blog posts have made clear. Last weeks Giants-49ers game was a case in point why have I lost interest in professional football. At the onset of OT the head referee explained the new the new OT rules to the captains at mid-field. But the rules were so complicated and the referee’s explication so labyrinthine that I don’t think anyone, not the players on the field, nor anyone watching at home understood him. I certainly didn’t understand him. In fact, all I understood was the part at the end where he asked, “heads or tails?” It was a comic performance by the NFL. The days of “Gentlemen, the first team that scores wins the contest” are officially over.

At one point during the OT the FOX camera panned the 49er bench where four linemen were resting during a Giants possession. Each player had tattoos that ran the length of his arms. I could not see any ectodermal tissue that was not covered in ink. It is as if tattoos are now part of the unwritten uniform code in the NFL (and the NBA I would add). And the code says that linemen should have more tattoos than QBs and receivers – for that is the impression I got while watching the game. Nowadays tattoos symbolize toughness. Funny but in my book it is just the opposite. The truly tough guys in the NFL were those who played a generation or two ago and who simply donned a uniform and a few pads. They didn’t need tattoos to prove they were tough. They just showed up, broke their share of bones against other tough guys and collected a paycheck every couple of weeks. Those days are long gone.

Regrettably.

Enjoy the game !

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The Hall of Fame and the “Steroids Era”

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm


Upon his election to the Hall of Fame recently, Barry Larkin was asked about some of the controversial players of his era including Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds and whether they should also be elected to the Hall of Fame. Both will be eligible for election next year. Larkin’s reply ? He said: “All I know is playing and competing against some of these guys, they’re the best—period.”

Barry Larkin is not mistaken. During the “Steroids Era” there were few players on the same level as Bonds and Sosa. But do these players belong in the Hall of Fame when their achievements were clearly not the result of pure athletic skill and training ? In fact, there is no better example of what steroids did for one player’s career than Sammy Sosa. Sosa played for 18 seasons in the Major Leagues. Over his first nine seasons he hit a total of 211 hrs. Over the last nine seasons – including what one would normally consider years in decline because of age – he hit almost twice as many home runs (398). I would add that after his first five years in the majors Sosa had only 74 career hrs and a career batting average bobbing pathetically around .230. He had as much chance of getting into Cooperstown as Joe Azcue.

Which all makes one wonder why Barry Larkin is speaking up for players like Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds ? I suspect it is because the higher regard his peers are held in, the higher regard Barry Larkin is held in.

Except by people like me.

If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway.

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2012 at 5:36 am

I was keeping one eye on the score of the Broncos- Steelers game today as I was working on my computer. Not that I am particularly interested in the NFL anymore. In fact, I have not watched a game all year. But I am a lifelong sports fan. What can I say. A few minutes after the game had ended I saw a clip of the winning TD catch in OT and heard CBS broadcaster Jim Nance refer to a new rule change which stipulates that in the playoffs a team on its first possession in OT has to score a TD in order to win the game. Taking the ball the length of the field to settle for a game winning FG is no longer allowed. Since I rarely watch the NFL anymore I had heard nothing about this change (which applies to the playoffs only) and I was predictably aghast. I read the game recap where the explanation of the new rule was provided. In addition to the rule that says a team must score a TD on their first possession, another new rule guarantees each team at least one possession in OT. In other words, sudden death overtime is now sudden death overtime with qualifiers.

The new rule dilutes the considerable drama that is synomous with overtime in professional football. One of the more exciting things in sports is to watch a team drive down the field in OT to get into field goal position. What is more American than a field goal to win a football game. But now some field goals are not allowed. Go figure. There is no justification for this rule change whatsoever. It is just a blatant attempt by the NFL to lengthen games so they can sell more advertising during the period when most fans, including myself, tune in: the playoffs.

But the NFL is just following every other institution in America in which tradition is considered boring and where the mis-guided powers that be see a need to change the product or watch it die (what they perceive will happen). Sports is now just like every other consumer product in the US. It has a life cycle.

Still you wish they would leave some things alone. Like sudden death overtime.