Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Saturday Gang Tackle

The Saturday Gang Tackle is where the Fan Child waxes poetic about the NFL season. Today we will expand upon Bob Costas' Sunday Night Football halftime rant. The rant, which is really quite funny, lambasted endzone celebrations (see video at head of page) and wistfully wished for simpler times, when players like Barry Sanders handed the ball to the ref after touchdowns. In other words, back in the day when players let their football do the talking.

But I'm not so sure we want that anymore. I think that, in this ratings-mad society, we'd turn off the TV if the NFL's stars were a bunch of humble servants to lord pigskin.

I don't think that the celebrations need to be singled out here. The celebrations are fine; the problem is the penalties.

Let me put it this way: If you go out and get a stupid penalty that hurts your team, or you get arrested during the week for firing a gun in a nightclub and end up getting suspended, or if you fumble nine punt returns in a row, you are always going to draw the ire of your teammates, your fans, and the football-watching public.

The message? Don't do stupid stuff to hurt your team. I don't care if you dance, stick the ball inside your jersey so that you look like a pregnant woman, or praise Allah. I only care if you cost me yards on the field. So don't fumble the ball, don't get penalized, and don't get arrested either.

***End of rant.***

In case you haven't kept up with the narrative leading into week 13, here are some of the prevailing storylines:

1. Tebow: We are talking Tebow?? -- of course we are! What did you think we were doing? Read this Atlantic piece on him, if you'd like to read something a little off the beaten path. With Tebow facing the very beatable Vikes on Sunday, don't expect this Tebowmania stuff to die down any time soon.

2. Is Fairley ready for prime time? First-round draft pick Nick Fairley will have to step up in the absence of Ndamukong Suh when the Lions travel to New Orleans this week. Can he? Read this to know more.

3. Where's Kyle Orton? Are the Chiefs really going to let Tyler Palko take a crack at Soldier Field? Really? Are they looking for a higher draft pick? I thought the Suck for Luck thing was over. Here's another Palko post. (P.S. Palko's not that bad, but this is simply too big of a challenge for him at his current level of ripeness.)

4. Sad news for the Raiders: My take on Rolando McClain's arrest? Ideally, you don't put yourself in a position to get arrested if you really care about your team. You just don't. The situation is no longer ideal for the Raiders, but they have been resilient all year. This a team that dealt its future away for Carson Palmer, so they are pretty heavily invested in 2001. But the Raiders have a serious dilemma now. What are the odds of coach Hue Jackson suspending McClain? He is Oakland's defensive signal caller, a pretty important cog in the Raider machine. That said, the details of McClain's trip home to Alabama aren't pretty

5. Brees chasing Marino: On a lighter note, Drew Brees is tearing NFL secondaries to shreds, and with a banged-up Suh-less Lions team coming to New Orleans for Sunday Night Football, he should remain on pace to break Dan Marino's all-time yardage record. With Rodgers and Brady getting all the pub, Brees could end up having the best season at QB.

P.S. the best season is determined by the guy that wins the Super Bowl in my book.

6. More gun news: Getting back to guns (I know, it's sad), the story of Josh Freeman cutting his thumb firing a pistol during his bye week is another shining example of why guns are the NFL's worst enemy. Concussions are bad, but guns are SO UNECESSARY. Freeman hasn't missed any time because of the injury, so there's your happy ending.

7. NFL to make bank, and soon: For those of you that are interested in the business side of the NFL post-lockout, things are on the up and up. With three of the league's massive TV deals set to expire in 2013, the NFL is preparing to cash in. Rankings are good (Steelers-Chiefs beat out Dancing With the Stars last week), so why shouldn't they cash in? Let's just hope the players are poised to profit as well, since they are the dudes truly sticking their necks out on NFL gridirons.

See you next week!