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Of bowls and firings and changes, oh my! PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, January 03, 2013 1:32 PM

The College Football Bowl Season — it deserves all capital letters because it is almost like a prehistoric era of time, it takes so long! — is winding down.

In actuality, I don’t mind the number of games — you can pick and choose which ones you watch and generally they have been good games — if you have a sponsor, a reasonable number of people in the seats and a network willing to carry them on TV for those of us who cannot go for such tawdry things like a job, families, etc.

An aside here but I was perusing some forums and one person suggested that if we were real fans of our teams, we’d go to the games live — no matter the expense — or we should be happy to only rely on next-day coverage. I did respond to this person with a message such as what was he smoking or how rich he must be or some such words. (This is why I call it Metcalfe’s Musings because you never know what will jar something, even as I write these columns!)

Anyway, the only real beef I have with the present bowl system as it is constructed is that there are games that simply should not be played after Jan. 1. We have the New Year’s Day games, the Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta and Cotton bowls and then the National Championship, all pretty good matchups of teams with solid records and importance.

Tell me, why do we have the BBVA Compass Bowl with two 6-6 teams, or the Bowl with ... Arkansas State ... between the Cotton and BCS National Title game?

Those games — which are not part of the BCS format — should be prior to Jan. 1.

Let’s hope the new playoff format will address some of these issues.

Again, this is no slight to the teams playing in those games — the players and coaches on those teams work hard, too, and have done what they needed to to qualify for a bowl. I just think these are head-scratchers as to why they are considered, in essence, more important than the far-more established bowls.

The annual “Black Monday” of the National Football League season was even more ferocious. Seven head coaches got axed but you get the feeling they all really knew it was going to happen.

We still don’t really know for sure about some others: I for one wonder about Dallas.

I know some are sighing, “here he goes again,” but I think this situation mirrors a lot of others in the NFL. How many fans of others teams can fill-in-the-blank here.

Jerry Jones has promised changes in the off-season; I hope one of those changes is firing himself as everything-but-owner, as well as his son, Steven, as whatever-he-is.

Supposedly, both are well-respected by the players but the results of the past two decades suggest “it ain’t there.” Yes, you are going to “respect” the guy that signs your big-time checks and his son but do the players really “respect” them as football guys?

Again, the results — and former coach Jimmy Johnson — suggest the answer is NO.

Every year, the Cowboys are listed as one of the most talented teams in the NFL and every year, well, they haven’t won a Super Bowl since

“Bootlegger Boy” Barry Switzer — and pal of the owner — picked up Johnson’s third Lombardi Trophy in 1996.

I know a lot of fans of our teams in Ohio can commiserate — or could.

As I wrote before, especially about Andy Reid, don’t weep for these men. They will turn out just fine; they are too good of coaches to not land on their feet somewhere.

Still, I don’t understand this need to purge every two years.

Take the Browns, for instance.

I understand that they have a new owner and he has a right to do as he pleases by bringing in those he is comfortable with. Still, does he do this for every business he buys?

Plus, professional football is just a little bit different because of how tough it can be to put a good product on the field. Pat Shurmur has had the Browns going in the right direction — in my humble opinion — but they don’t have the depth of some other teams to overcome the injuries that inevitably happen.

That team was so close to having things go their way; heck, they were still in the playoff hunt as of two weeks ago.

Now, you are going to what — bring in a new regime to establish “their system”, blow up what you had started and in two years, need to find another new coach because this one didn’t work?

I’m not assuming that this won’t work — stuff happens — but I think football fans can look back at history and see that this pattern generally always ends in disaster. As I wrote last week about the Steelers — and could write about the Patriots, among others — there is something crucial about stability and consistency to building winners over the long haul.

It’s not perfect, by any means, but we have the pleasure of hindsight to see that it generally does work.

Are you going to draft another quarterback number one, for example, because Weeden didn’t get you into the playoffs?

The Bengals may actually have stumbled on this fact: owner Mike Brown stayed the course with Coach Marvin Lewis a couple of years ago and has been rewarded with back-to-back playoff berths for the first time in franchise history.

Who’d have ever thunk that owner Mike Brown was willing to pull back and allow his “people” more freedom and that is paying off?
I think Daniel Snyder in our nation’s capital has also learned that lesson: let your football people do their jobs because that’s what you hired them to do.


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