Am I mad? Yes. Do I blame the refs? Yes, to a point. They blew calls on both sides of the ball. I get it. The lateral, the missed facemask, etc. We get it. We are not the NFL’s whipping boys, but no helmet to helmet calls? Come on, people.
Is Tebow a good story? No.
Why? Because he’s what’s wrong with this league. The NFL is slowly becoming the WWE.
Hear me out.
Wrestling is an entertainment sport. It’s all about the drama and the showiness of the participants. The actual sport is an afterthought to the storyline.
The NFL is becoming an entertainment sport where QBs throw the ball for hundreds of yards for a game and never get touched. They’ve changed the rules to take out the violence and make it more marketable. It’s not about safety, it’s about longevity. Go back and watch those old NFL films from the frozen tundra of Lambeau field. The slow motion shots of snow falling on the line of scrimmage where a lineman stands at the ready with a broken nose and dried blood on their jersey. The crunch of helmets and the chance to see a running back barrel through a line to grab five yards and glory. That’s not there, anymore. It’s the hot dogging and pristine conditions and the Madison Avenue gloss of a game that used to be about something more. The will to win. The chance for glory.
But Tebow shows that it’s not about that. Tebow should have been on his ass for most of that game, not in praying position but in a fetal position. He’s a horrible passer who should have been picked off and pushed around. The Steelers stopped the running game and then dared him to throw and he did as if he was Brady or even a healthy Roethlisberger. And even still, you can say that in his first four seasons, Roethlisberger was an ugly passer and unconventional player whose face looked more like Bobby Boucher then Tom Brady. But the difference was that Roethlisberger took his lumps, he ran and was hit. He was down and dirty with the rest of the players. Tebow just stands out there, looks pretty, and throws horribly.
With that, I offer five things that need to be changed in the NFL by next year. Four for the league and one for the Steelers.
1. Fix the stupid rules of legal vs. illegal hits. We won’t hate what’s fair. Either a QB is a runner or a passer, but he can’t go back to being a passer when he tucks the ball and runs… even if he decides to get rid of the ball because a linebacker is coming right at him.
That being said, fine the Browns for putting Colt McCoy back out on the field when he doesn’t know what day it is.
2. Do something about social media and the ridiculousness of dumb people on smart phones. This goes out to Rashard Mendenhall from earlier last year and especially Maurkice Pouncey, who I lost a lot of respect for after seeing him implode on Twitter after the loss to Denver.
Sorry, but how does it feel to have young, impressionable fans see you drop the f-bomb and curse your followers? Not to mention, promoting a buddy’s rap album just after your team lost the AFC Wild Card game. Way to show solidarity.
3. Fix the officiating. Get all the officials into a refresher course, during the offseason, and retrain them on how to call a game. Officiating has been horrible this, all over the league. I know I’m one of those, “whiny Steelers’ fans” but the officiating stinks throughout the league. If they have other jobs during the year, then cover the cost. This crap needs fixed and refs make as much as any other mid level career man. There was a huge strike back in 2001 and it seems that the NFL has some extra cash this year from very lucrative television deals.
4. Enough with the marketing and capitalism of the game. Remember, Bubba Smith did spots for Miller Lite. Troy Polamalu, who I still think is one of the most aggressive and hardnosed players, does ones for shampoo. Granted, it’s not Joe Namath in pantyhose, but still. Stop making this league about the money and make it about the game. It’s football. It’s not entertainment. It’s a sport. It’s a rough and tumble sport. There are injuries. There will be blood. Stop wussifying this game for whatever reason you seem to be doing it and let the players play. If it’s too tough. They need to get a job elsewhere.
And this one goes out to the Steelers.
1. Get your shit in order. Figure out the clock management stuff better. Ben, you’re a hell of a QB but stop trying to be a damn hero and play the game. Be smart about it. You beat New England by out Bradying Brady. You have Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace, two of the fastest receivers on the planet. Give them the short drops and let them leg it out, because even when healthy, you have a tendency to inaccurately throw to them over long distances. And receivers and backs need to stop this juking crap you do when you square off with someone. Redman was doing his tornado stuff but that was after he was already hit. When you come up field and someone gets in your way, run over them. You’re liable to get a few more yards than by slowing your gait and trying to fake them out while three other guys are closing in on your position.