Superbowl XLVII

The day may come when reckoning time according to the birth of Christ will give way to numbering our years according to the Roman numerals of the Superbowl.  That’s basically what the ancient Greeks did when they counted their years according to what Olympiad it was.   Anyway, we need to recognize our de facto national holiday, which happens on Sunday:  The Superbowl.  It has acquired its own rituals:  assembling not with family but with friends; feasting on finger foods; watching commercials.  Maybe it’s time to ask of this festival day what we ask of other holidays:  What is the true meaning of Superbowl? [Read more...]

Relationships with virtual human beings

You have probably heard about Manti Te’o, Notre Dame’s Heisman Trophy candidate, whose dying girlfriend turned out to involve an on-line relationship with a woman who didn’t exist.  Now he is being accused of knowingly participating in the hoax to take advantage of the sob-story to give him publicity.  Some people are saying this is going to hurt him in the draft, with NFL teams not wanting to take him with this humiliating  baggage.  Finally Te’o has told his side of the story to ESPN.

I have no problem believing that the young man started an online relationship with someone he thought was sick and calling her his girlfriend, even though he never met her in person.  And that it turned out to be a prank by an acquaintance of his–well, this is the virtual world that many people live in. [Read more...]

Penn State and collective guilt

The governor of Pennsylvania is suing the NCAA for its harsh punishment of Penn State, hitting the entire university because of Coach Jerry Sandusky’s molestation of children:

Pennsylvania’s governor, in a challenge to the NCAA’s powers, claimed in a lawsuit Wednesday that college sports’ governing body overstepped its authority and ”piled on” when it penalized Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Gov. Tom Corbett asked that a federal judge throw out the sanctions, which include an unprecedented $60 million fine and a four-year ban on bowl games, arguing that the measures have harmed students, business owners and others who had nothing to do with Sandusky’s crimes.

”A handful of top NCAA officials simply inserted themselves into an issue they had no authority to police under their own bylaws and one that was clearly being handled by the justice system,” Corbett said at a news conference.

The case, filed under federal antitrust law, could define just how far the NCAA’s authority extends. Up to now, the federal courts have allowed the organization broad powers to protect the integrity of college athletics.

In a statement, the NCAA said the lawsuit has no merit and called it an ”affront” to Sandusky’s victims.

Penn State said it had no role in the lawsuit. In fact, it agreed not to sue as part of the deal with the NCAA accepting the sanctions, which were imposed in July after an investigation found that football coach Joe Paterno and other top officials hushed up sexual-abuse allegations against Sandusky, a former member of Paterno’s staff, for more than a decade for fear of bad publicity.

The penalties include a cut in the number of football scholarships the university can award and a rewriting of the record books to erase 14 years of victories under Paterno, who was fired when the scandal broke in 2011 and died of lung cancer a short time later.

via Pa. governor sues NCAA over Penn State sanctions – Yahoo! Sports.

Here is an example of ascribing collective guilt.  Sandusky is certainly guilty, as are other coaches and administrators who overlooked and covered up his crimes.  But how far does that guilt extend?  Does it make sense to punish the entire university?  Does it make sense to void 14 years worth of victories, erasing them as if they never happened, even though none of the players who won those victories had any involvement in the scandal?  Or is the crime of Sandusky tied to the culture of the school, to its very football tradition, to the attitudes of the students, alumni, administration, faculty, and staff so that the whole institution has a collective guilt?

HT:  Trey

NFL reaches agreement with Refs

The NFL reached a tentative labor agreement with the professional referees.  There will be no more replacement refs, as of the Thursday night game.  The Packers were a sacrifice that caused the reconciliation.   I was afraid President Obama would assure his re-election by sending out troops, not to break a strike, but to break the owners and their lockout..

Sorry about that, NFL chief says of replacements – CNN.com.

The worst call in NFL history

And my beloved Packers were the victim.

Replacement ref furor grows after Seattle Seahawks’ wild win over Green Bay Packers – ESPN.

This all comes from the regular referees being locked out.  The replacement refs have been the scourge of the whole season so far, not only blowing calls but failing to control players when fights break out.  This is the first time, though, an actual game hinged on the call, as the interception was ruled a last-minute game-winning touchdown by Seattle.

This has even Paul Ryan–who, as a Wisconsinite is a Packer fan before he is an anti-union Republican–calling for the NFL to cave to the Referee’s union at all costs.  (By the way, why isn’t the players’ union refusing to play, in support of the refs?  What happened to the solidarity of the labor movement?)

Trash talk

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler illustrates why talking trash against an opponent is not wise.  Before his team played the Packers, he preened, he bragged, he taunted.  And then he got sacked 7 times and threw 4 interceptions:

When you talk trash to the opposing team before the game, and then throw a bunch of even more odiferous garbage around the field in a loss … well, you have what amounted to a very bad week for quarterback Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears. Not to mention, the other team has every right to talk right back at you.

Packers defensive back Charles Woodson put it best after the game. “Same old Jay. We don’t need luck — we just need to be in position. Jay will throw us the ball.”

Clay Matthews spent more time in Chicago’s backfield than Matt Forte did. (Getty Images)It started on Tuesday, when Cutler, fresh off an impressive Sunday outing against the Indianapolis Colts, stirred things up by saying that the Packers’ defense could bring whatever it wanted.

“Good luck,” Cutler said to his future tormentors. “Our speed guys are going to get around them and our big guys are going to throw and go … We invite press coverage. We invite man. And if we get in that type of game, our guys outside have to make some plays for us.”

“It’s all about matchups,” receiver Brandon Marshall said on the same day. “I’m 6-5, 230 pounds and there’s not too many DB’s walking around that big. If they want to get physical, I do welcome that.”

The Bears did not make plays, nor did they win any matchups, in a 23-10 disaster that was nowhere near as competitive as the score indicated — the Bears had zero net yards at the end of the first quarter, and Cutler was 7 of 18 for 70 yards and two interceptions after three quarters were done. He finished the game with 11 completions in 27 attempts for 126 yards, one touchdown, and four picks.

via Jay Cutler talks trash, throws picks, gets sacked in embarrassing loss to Packers | Shutdown Corner – Yahoo! Sports.

Here is the lesson in life, boys and girls and student athletes:  If you diminish your opponent, that diminishes your victory if you win.  And if you lose, you look oh, so foolish and pathetic.

Far better, even if you are playing a weak team, is to build them up and say how good they are and how you hardly have a chance.  Then if you beat them, you come across not only as a good sport but as a team that has accomplished something significant.  And if you lose, well, that’s understandable.

Also, you wouldn’t have fired up your opposing team and inspired them to wipe you off the field.


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