There are people — far, far too many people — who were once associated with the game of football in some way, and they’re now paid handsomely to spew idiocy to you through the moving pictures on your TV. The common assumption is that this exercise peaks right now, during the five months of the NFL’s regular season and playoffs. Sadly, that’s wrong, because what the hell are we supposed to talk about from mid February until late July, and especially between the end of the draft and the start of training camp?
Tim Tebow, because of course. And we can just complain about stuff.
This cult of talking heads breeds and multiplies every offseason as coaches are fired, and players retire. They seek to entertain you, and in doing so they become intolerably annoying. For example: if you put yourself through the pre-game show tonight, a few minutes prior to kickoff as it’s wrapping up four grown men will make grotesque faces on your TV while screaming something about a BEEEAAAASSTTTTTT.
Mostly, though, talking heads seek to make you angry with epic, Skip Bayless-level trolling. That’s why I try to ignore them, but sometimes their idiocy can’t be walled off.
With that I present to you Ron Jaworski, king of the curmudgeons.
First, some review. During yesterday’s highly entertaining Bucs-Giants game in which New York outscored Tampa 28-10 in the second half to come back and win 41-34 powered by Eli Manning’s 510 passing yards, the game concluded with some old school stupidity. Seeking to affirm a message he’s drilled into his team, rookie Bucs head coach Greg Schiano instructed his players to remain aggressive and keeping rushing the Giants’ offensive line until the last second ticked off the clock.
Normally that would be an applauded mantra. But normally defensive players don’t pass rush when the opposing team is kneeling down, and the game is essentially and quite clearly over. That’s why this happened….
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was quite understandably displeased, while Schiano immediately looks like the rah rah college coach who threatened to rip every scholarship away from his defensive players if the obey the standard and understood football principle that you don’t charge the line on a kneel down. During his post-game press conference Coughlin elaborated, saying that the Bucs’ conduct was simply unacceptable.
“You don’t jeopardize the offensive line, you [don’t] jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn’t get anybody hurt … that I know of.’’
Now Jaworski wants him to apologize, because head coaches should always accept the fact that defending common sense is not their job. Here’s what he said during an ESPN appearance this morning:
“Tom Coughlin owes Greg Schiano an apology. I’m disappointed in the response. The Giants mantra has always been ‘Finish, Finish, finish’ . . . I don’t want to hear Eli and Coughlin whining.”
That’s not even the best part, because once the string is pulled on the talking head, there’s hours of fun to be had. Jaws then compared the play and the potential for the Bucs to force and recover a fumble to the famous Miracle at the Meadowlands play in 1978. There’s just a minor difference between the two plays, even if the Bucs forced that hypothetical fumble.
The Miracle at the Meadowlands is regarded as one of the worst and most inexplicable coaching decisions of all time. Why? Because during that late November game with the Giants leading and the Eagles out of timeouts, the home side simply needed to kneel down and the game was theirs. Instead they RAN THE BALL.
I’m keyboard screaming not because of the idiocy around the Giants’ decision to run — a play that resulted in Herm Edwards picking up a fumble and returning it for a game-winning touchdown — over three decades ago, although it’s certainly deserving of a voice that’s several octaves higher than normal human volume.
No, I’m a little, how do I say it…bewildered at Jaws’ failure to understand the fundamental difference between the two plays in question here, and therefore why Schiano is carving out his niche as the league’s newest and greatest douche coach. One play was a kneel down, and one play wasn’t. On one play, the offense was trying to advance the ball, and it’s the defense’s job to stop that advancement. On the other play, the quarterback is taking a fraction of a second to give himself up, and then the play is over.
Charging on a kneel down isn’t a display of toughness, aggression, or bitter determination. It’s stupid, and it’s a reflection of being a sore loser. Head coaches who accept losing are head coaches who won’t be head coaches for very long, but once there’s a kneel down situation the game is over and you’ve lost, and you’ve also lost all available avenues to change that outcome.
Be mad, be frustrated, and even be livid. But go shake hands, and save it for next week.
Pic via Lord of the Dribble