NFL Week 6 Recap: A Study in Sportsmanship

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I’m going to throw something on the table and you’re welcome to try and debate it if you’d like.  The Chicago Bears are the best professional football team in the entire greater Chicago area, and I’m not just saying that because I lost a bet and now I have to come up with nice things to say about a team I despise.  Okay, that is why I’m saying it but that doesn’t make it any less true.  The Bears are better than the Bulls.  They’re better than the Blackhawks.  They’re better than the Cubs and White sox.  I know none of those are football teams.  I don’t care.  Put them on a football field and I say the Bears win almost every time.  The one team that could give them trouble is the Chicago Sky of the WNBA.  Still, give them home field advantage and my money is still on the Bears.  They proved their toughness in Week 6 with a nail-biter victory over the now 0 – 6  and unbelievably bad New York Giants.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are another team still seeking their first win.  They traveled to Denver on Sunday, a miss-match if there’s ever been one.  The Jags were a 28 point underdog.  That’s easily the largest point spread I’ve ever seen for an NFL game.  However, if I were betting, I still would have taken the Broncos.  They scored as many points last week (51) as the Jaguars had scored all season long.  Hell, Denver was averaging 46 points per game.  Still, you’ve got to give Jacksonville credit.  They kept things interesting for almost three quarters.  In fact, going into half time, they were a failed two point conversion away from a tie game.  That was about the time the Jaguars were flagged for taunting.  Winless. losing, and clearly outclassed and they’re taunting?  You’ve got to be kidding.  I don’t want to say C’mon Man every week but… C’mon Man!

The Kansas City Chiefs are 6 – 0 for the first time in over a decade.  The fans love their new coach.  They love their new quarterback.  They even love the guy that sells ridiculously over- priced beer.  What a difference a season makes.  In 2012, things weren’t going so well for the Chiefs.  They won just two games all season long.  The darkest moment came when embattled starting quarterback Matt Cassel, now with the Vikings, suffered a concussion in a game against the Ravens and the home town fans cheered.  They were widely and deservedly criticized for their actions.  You’d like to think we wouldn’t witness that sort of behavior again. .. except we did on Sunday.

The Houston Texans were not only among the favorites to win the AFC South but were serious Super Bowl contenders.  It’s safe to say things have not gone according to plan.  They’ve won just two games and have allowed almost twice as many points as they’ve scored.  Quarterback Matt Schaub set an NFL record by throwing a pick-six in four consecutive games.  A pick six, for those who don’t know, is when an interception is returned for a touchdown.  It’s the worst thing a quarterback  can do, and Schaub did it four games in a row.  The Texans were trounced by the Rams on Sunday.  Matt Schaub was sacked three times.  The last sack resulted in what could be a serious ankle injury, and the home town fans cheered.  T.J. Yates took Schaub’s place… and immediately threw a pick-six.  Not to be outdone, during Sunday’s game between the 49ers and Cardinals, the San Francisco faithful started doing the wave while a Cardinals player lay injured on the turf.  Classy.

Sadly, this lack of sportsmanship isn’t limited to fans, nor is it limited to the NFL.  I have an eleven-year-old daughter playing football for the first time.  I’m not going to sugar coat this.  Her team stinks.  They didn’t win a game all season.  I would like to  point out that my daughter’s one interception was the defensive play of the year.  Her team obviously didn’t make the playoffs, but they were scheduled to play a post season “consolation” game in Susquehanna, a small town right over the Pennsylvania border.  The game was a rematch, and my daughter’s team would have snowball santawon the first one had it not been for a series of blatantly bad calls.  At one point, a player on Susquehanna’s offensive line leveled a defender before the ball was snapped.  That, if you’re wondering, is a penalty.  No flag was thrown because the official said he “wasn’t ready.”  My kids have been playing soccer in Susquehanna for years and that type of thing is unfortunately nothing new.   But this past Sunday, they really outdid themselves.  Even the announcer got into the act.  I’m sure this was a total coincidence but he blasted music anytime the visitor’s had the ball but was respectfully silent when the home team was on offense.  My daughter’s team scored a meaningless touchdown on the last play of the game.  There was no time left on the clock but, by rule, you still have to attempt the extra point.  The Susquehanna coach apparently didn’t want  to be bothered.  He pulled his defense off the field.  When the two-point try was converted, the points were never put on the scoreboard.  I want to believe this was an isolated incident, that the  lack of respect, sportsmanship and common courtesy was limited to that one little town and not representative of the entire state, but weren’t the Pennsylvanians the ones that, years ago, threw snow balls at Santa?  I guess things haven’t changed much since then.

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