Before last week all I knew about NFL indoctrination came from George Plimpton's best-seller "Paper Lion ('66)" (NFL "compels" participation but can't compel this fan to watch faux-reality "Hard Knocks"), later adapted to film and starred Alan Alda ('68). George's rookie welcome? A pile of mashed potatoes strategically positioned on Plimpton's cafeteria seat. Good...clean...fun.
From high school-like hi-jinx in the 60s to today's (allegedly) organized, big-money shakedowns, how times have changed. And the more we're learning these past few days about NFL cliques, the creepier it gets. Roger must be scrambling.
Storm's been building over Nation NFL and at its center are 2nd-year Miami Dolphins' OL Jonathan Martin and veteran Rich Incognito, the later suspended (latest: "He's done" / SI / "Report" / 11-4 / CB (Herald / Salguero / "ranking club source")) pending an NFL / PA investigation into stories Incognito, among others, may've bullied Martin into leaving Miami last week. On Monday, report from J. La Canfora (CBS) detailed racist & threatening texts Martin alleges were sent him by Incognito ("Dolphins" / SI (CBS) / 11-4 / Burke).
Muddying the waters somewhat is an earlier report (NFLN / 11-3 / Darlington) that had Martin absolving Incognito of "blame" in a text Jon had sent the suspected wrong-doer shortly after the '(stuff) hit the fan ("Report" / SI (NFL) / T&R / 11-3).'
No need rush to judgment here, best wait & see, but if anything indicates duty-bound personnel, such as Dolphins' head coach Joe Philbin, were aware of the alleged on-going state of abusive, criminal-like behavior in Miami events and then turned deaf-ear, maybe explaining it away as harmless shenanigans, any such person should be summarily dismissed...with prejudice.
The bully on the block, HUAC (1938-75), college & secondary coaches, why do they do it: weak constitutions, painful childhood? In Jon & Rich's case it's not about $$$ nor hazing, it's about brattiness, prejudice, maybe even HGH that still goes untested (See; DeMaurice Smith). And not just the racial variety, but prejudice towards intellect & lifestyle. Tattoos v. freedom of thought or individuality, you might say. It's an old fight.
How to stop it: lex talionis ("an eye for an eye"). Sensitivity training? Don't be daft.
And learn from the best. The Welsh know how to hobble a bully, or as Mom Morgan (Sara Allgood / "How Green Was My Valley ('41)") called 'em, "sanctimonious hypo-crites." Fight back, like little Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall), who got stuffing beat out of him in school and then family friends Cyfartha (Fitzgerald) and Dai Bando (Williams) instructed the young lad ("Marquis of Queensbury," of course) on the art of boxing, to a just end.
So Tony Romo finally played a blinder (clutch) (27-23 (MN), 34-51, 2-1). Good show. But be clear, this is a small feather in Romo's and Garrett's collective capage. Late wins are always "sweet!," but this one was at home and against a not untalented but nonetheless pretty hapless purple gang in the Minnesota Vikings (1-7).
Are Tone's days of carelessness behind him ("spent my life trying not to be careless (D. Corleone)")? Trick or treat, we'll know soon enough.
Best & Worst Halloween '13
We had a plethora of happy-go-lucky, trick-or-treaters grace our doorstep this Halloween and candy to spare once fun faded (chocolate's fine but those Smarties satisfy). Only downer: silent high-schooler in zentai drag (Canucks green man), and me a Blackhawks' fan.
This past NFL weekend reminded us again that, while we love the games, what's most important has less to do with "winning" and more to do with living good and long.
Well wishes go out to Texans' Gary Kubiak who's reported stable and "in good spirits" (ESPNt) after collapsing on-field Sunday when suffering a TIA, while Broncos' John Fox was hospitalized pre-game with aortic-valve trouble, having corrective surgery Monday. Treatment of heart ailments has seen tremendous advancements in recent decades and Jon is no doubt in good hands, as he will find his mustangs were upon his return (Del Rio).
Worth noting are the 'High School Harry' questions Denver's John Elway and Jack Del Rio had to suffer through in their Monday press conference. A sampling:
To Elway: "Have you considered coaching the team?"
To Del Rio: "Was this an emotional weekend for you (Jack)?," and then, "Do you plan on coaching the way John Fox would or your own way?" Oy vey.
Fitting that earlier in the week Franco Harris and former run 'mate Rocky Bleier appeared on Sportscenter talking football and concussions. Franco revealed part of his daily diet to stay healthy: "two bags of berries, everyday," known beneficial to brain health, among other benefits. Kudos, Franco, for doing your part & passing it on.
Sunday Best (Quote)
NFL GameDay Scoreboard's Darren Sharper and Jamie Dukes perfecto descripto of the reigning MVP Adrian "All-Day" Peterson's bulldozer imitation into the Dallas end-zone to put Vikes up, briefly, 24-20: "That's a full grown man!"
And if there's a better football montage on TV than NFL Network's Game Center & GameDay Scoreboard, I don't know where that would be.
Cherry Picks Week 10
Detroit Lions (5-3) @ Chicago Bears (5-3): 11-10 Fox 1:00 EST
Lions off bye and if '13 pattern holds, an L at Soldier. Bears high off fortunate win at GB but with Jay still out, CHI doesn't match well with DET (O6). Pattern breaks, Lions win.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-5): CBS 1:00
Dalton won't make it easy this time (4T/Os MIA: QB tag for tipped-INT has gotta go) for befuddled Baltimore. Bengals, like Lions, get talent edge & prevail in Crab Cake city.
Carolina Panthers (5-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (6-2): Fox 4:05 (GOTW)
All eyes on flash QBs (Cam & Colin: #2 rushers), I'm watching stick-men at the Stick: Davis (shldr) & Kuechly, Bowman (wrist) & Willis (groin). Niners 5W> on so-so slate, while Cats 4W> on so-(what?). Kaep's Tebow-esque but learning and rested SF wins.
Denver Broncos (7-1) @ San Diego Chargers (4-5): CBS 4:30
Though Chargers smarting (L-W9) & home, Denver's off a bye, on a mission & win.
Dallas Cowboys (5-4) @ New Orleans Saints (6-2): NBC 8:40
Southern Supremacy at stake now that ATL & HOU outta the mix. If Saints run sputters, Drew, like Tony, goes OCP (obsessive compulsive pass (50+). NO presses Romo (26S), works run (PT / KR), cuts INTs and gets W v. Dallas team that eked-by 1-6 Vikings.
NFL Hunch Line
Photo Credit: R. Incognito / wc.cca / J. Rivera / 9-16-12