The Right Result

As punishment for its bounty system in which defensive players received cash awards for injuring opposing players the NFL has suspended New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season without pay and indefinitely suspended the Saints former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. I agree with this punishment, although I think Williams–who was closest to the program and admitted that he knew at the time the bounty payments were wrong–should be barred from the NFL for life.

An Historic Performance

The first 11 responses to a Google search one minute ago of <historic collapse>–not  <historic collapse Boston> or  <historic collapse baseball> or  <historic collapse sports>–concern the Red Sox’ failure to make the playoffs after holding a 9-game wild-card lead 26 days ago.  Under the first response, from NBCSports.com–“With historic collapse, Red Sox miss playoffs“–Google helpfully provides a link to “6309 related articles.”  One need not dive deeply into this echoing tale of woe to read that “Boston became the first team to miss the postseason after leading by as many as nine games for a playoff spot entering September . . .”  The story line is familiar.  Before 2004 it’s what Red Sox fans expected, just one more way for the team to shatter objectively-reasonable hopes. Now the 2004 ALCS comeback over the Yankees, the World Series Sweeps of the Cards and Rockies, the hype about this being the “best team ever”look like feints to set up the biggest sucker punch yet: “the greatest choke in baseball history.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, your 2011 Boston Red Sox.

Ski Jumping

How can skiing down a steep hill, launching into the air, and flying hundreds of feet be boring to watch?  Yet it is.  Thanks to ski jumping I’ve caught up on my email, looked at Josh’s pictures on Facebook from his deployment to Honduras, ordered office supplies and a new computer for Judy from Staples, brought the trash to the curb, and done laundry.

‘Aints No More

We love underdogs, and N.E. Patriots fans love just about any team that beats the Colts, so the Saints Super Bowl victory is sweet.  After many years of boring blowouts most recent Super Bowls have been just fun to watch.  The Colts looked unstoppable early but three plays and a spirited final defensive stand sent Payton Manning home ringless.

  • The Saints onside kick to start the second half was one of the gutsiest Super Bowl coaching calls ever.  If the Saints don’t recover the ball they give Manning a short field and are down by 11 points.  The kick and Saints’ recovery stunned the Colts–I think Jim Caldwell’s nostrils even flared for a nanosecond.  That play knocked Indy back on its heels.
  • Lance Moore’s airborne, parallel-to-the-ground all-in-one-motion catch, twist to break the end-zone plane, contact with the field, and firm two-handed motionless display of the ball to the referee–who blew the call when a Colts player knocked the ball from Moore’s grip with his knee–was a wondrous display of athleticism, presence of mind, and flawless execution, topped off by the end-zone camera capturing every nuance to prove, irrefutably, that Moore scored the two-point conversion.  The replay showed Moore showing the ball to the ref like it was the prize catch in a bass-fishing derby.
  • Tracy Porter sat on the route, perfectly jumped Manning’s pass to Reggie Wayne to intercept the ball, let his blockers clear the path, then blazed to the end zone for the touchdown the killed Indianapolis.

Great game, great result, and a great reason for a week-long pre-Mardi Gras party.