September 2, 2014

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Oh, Super Bowl, wherefore art thou? PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, February 01, 2014 9:00 PM

Metcalfe's Musings

By JIM METCALFE

Sports Editor

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I have never really liked the two-week break before the conference championships and the Super Bowl.

Until recently, it only made for a less-than-stellar game.

Tuesday’s Media Day is a case in point: a lot of forced answers to questions the players would rather have had holes drilled in the tops of their heads and a stick of dynamite dropped in them than answer.

Like the female reporter who asked a player for a kiss or another who wanted to touch a player’s beard.

What does that have to do with football?

I know that it’s for the cameras and television — now the Internet, Twitter and other social media — and it has become big — did I write BIG??? — business.

Maybe I have answered my own question.

It’s not about the game but “The Game”: all the stars come out for appearances, all the so-called “fans” that could probably only identify the “beautiful people” on each team — Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman.

By the way, I stand by my column last week about Sherman: I heartily disagree with all those who called him a thug, especially when you hear the words he told Michael Crabtree after the game.

Maybe Crabtree is the thug? No, he isn’t, either.

I digress.

I realize I am exaggerating — some — to make a point but the Super Bowl has stopped being about the work between the lines and more about making points.

Call me a dinosaur, a dreamer, an unrealist, but I just want to watch the game — and yes, the commercials! — and hope that it’s a good one between the hoped-for two best teams in the world.

I don’t mind the pundits doing their jobs: breaking down the game as they see it; who might be the unsung hero; how this unit matches up with that unit; stories about guys like Champ Bailey — who I remember in his prime — finally making the Super Bowl, etc.

How many of us do the same thing, though usually not with the detail as the NFL Live guys — “I like the matchup between the slot receiver and strongside linebacker on 3rd-and-2 in the opponent’s territory”?

Oh well, the genie is out of the bottle!

——-

It will be interesting to see if Roger Goodell really pushes — along with the union — getting rid of the extra point in the NFL.

It’s as automatic as you can get in the pro game, so it’s very anti-climactic. I get that.

However, why then would you automatically force teams to go for two (one of the options), when that is inherently more dangerous and would lead to more injuries? Very few players get hurt on the extra point, though some still do.

One of the reasons noted for getting rid of the kick is to try and bring more excitement into the game on every play.

However, that contradicts what has been done with the kickoff return — all but neutering it in the name of safety.

The kickoff return can be one of the most thrilling plays in the game.

That reasoning makes no sense.

I suppose it makes more sense to just make touchdowns worth seven points — fantasy owners wouldn’t be hurt because all things are equal; all kickers would be punished the same, too — but I don’t think it makes sense to then say if you go for two and don’t make it, it’s only worth six.

Some touchdowns are worth more than others, especially if you are behind?

You’re messing with forces you cannot possibly comprehend!

————

I realize that the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito—Miami Dolphins fiasco was weeks ago but it was revived with his TV interview this week.

I think we all realize that the locker room is not for the faint of heart, that you’d better have a strong backbone to survive it, not only physically but mentally, psychologically and every “-ally” you can think of.

From what has transpired in the weeks since, things may not be necessarily as clear-cut as we were made to believe.

There are issues here that will be explored and probably should be: where does “motivating” become bullying, for instance.

I guess for me, the vulgar language inside the locker room that Martin alleges to have been one of the biggest reasons he left the team leaves me scratching my noggin.

You are dealing with men from all walks of life — both on your team and your opponents’ — and it’s an emotional, hard-charging, physical game.

My guess is that grown men feel they can let it fly amongst their teammates — remember the “what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room” mantra — and guys will understand where they are coming from and why they are saying it a certain way, or at least try.

For example, I probably would not like all of the music that might be played in a given locker room but that is the give and take of being a team.

Maybe I am wrong here, that there’s more to it than that: if it becomes physically threatening or really — REALLY — personal, that changes the game.

No one should have to put up with that. You should be able to trust a teammate to go to bat for you; after, this is a tough game and you need teammates to watch your back.

I am re-iterating a point here I made when it first broke: were they surprised Incognito was in the middle of this?

Whether Martin re-signs with the team or not, or whatever the NFL rules about it, why is Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross even hinting that Incognito might be back?

Will they never learn?

 

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