You can’t escape the hurricane of bad publicity that’s been swirling around the NFL for the past few weeks. I never thought I’d say this but I’ve actually gotten sick of football coverage. The league is criticized for every misstep, real or perceived; and if they somehow get something right, they’re slammed for doing it at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons. It’s all gotten rather tiresome. Of course it didn’t help that, through the worst of the storm, the commissioner was evidently busy hiding under his desk. Where’s the leadership? Where’s the authority? With an alarming number of the games’ biggest players getting in trouble for various forms of domestic violence, isn’t it time for the NFL to take a serious stand? The answer is a resounding YES, and that’s why San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was recently fined over $11,000… for swearing. Sure, it’s bad to beat your kids with a switch and it’s definitely frowned upon to choke your wife and drag her around by the hair; but if there’s one thing the NFL absolutely will not tolerate it’s potty mouth. Kaepernick claims he never said anything. The player supposedly victimized by the verbal assault backs up that story. When asked for his take on the situation, New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said, “What the #%^#?”
Incidentally, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did finally stick his head out of his shell long enough to make a public appearance and a few comments, all of which he’s being condemned for. But hey, you’ve got to give him credit for one thing. He’s done an outstanding job taking the heat for the people who caused the mess in the first place.
You may have noticed that I have discontinued the tradition of naming a Loser of the Week. This season in particular, there’ve been so many losers that it’s nearly impossible to narrow it down to just one. Don’t worry, though. I’ll keep giving discredit where it’s do. Did anyone watch Thursday’s game between the Buccaneers and Falcons? Tampa Bay was absolutely dismantled. They fumbled five times and, at one point, were trailing 56 – 0. The final score was 56 – 14. For most of the game, the Falcons had more touchdowns than the Bucs had first downs. That’s just plain sad. There were plenty of highlights, at least as far as Atlanta was concerned. The most memorable moment came when Devin Hester set a new NFL record with his 20th return touchdown. The previous record was held by friend and mentor Deion Primetime Sanders. Sanders was at the game, and Hester paid tribute with the classic Deion-style high step. That was a nice touch and nfl.com immediately posted the video, tagging it “Must See TV.” They may have stolen that phrase but I’m good with that. It was worthy of celebration. Unfortunately, the officials didn’t see it that way. Hester was flagged for taunting and the Falcons were penalized 15 yards.
With everything else that’s been happening, you might wonder why the league would even care whether or not a guy does a little celebrating. It’s a fair point. So what if I told you it’s all about player safety? Sure, you can laugh; but one person who isn’t laughing is Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch. He sacked quarterback Aaron Rodgers, celebrated a little too excessively, damaged his left ACL and now he’s done for the year. It’s called the Bill Gramatica Effect and it can be devastating. Remember when quarterback Gus Frerotte head-butted the wall and gave himself a concussion? Yeah. Don’t be that guy. Make the play. Hand the ball to the ref. Act like you’ve been there.
When last seen, the Jacksonville Jaguars had been outscored 75 to 10 over six quarters of play. By halftime on Sunday, they’d given up another 30 points and scored nary a one. Hmm… I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever used the word nary. Here are a couple more firsts. The Giants won a game in September for the first time in their last eight tries. The Cowboys, for the first time in franchise history (878 games) won a game in regulation after trailing by 21 or more. We saw a Super Bowl rematch on Sunday and the Broncos turned the ball over on their first offensive play for the first time since… uh… the Super Bowl. And while all that was happening, the Buccaneers continued to suck.
Three weeks are now in the books so I think it’s time to take our game day recipes up a notch. I give you Mexican Corn Dip. I made it over the weekend and it was great, although I think I will try to jazz it up a bit next time. In addition to the listed ingredients, you might want to add black olives, red bell pepper, pickled jalapeno peppers and/or red onion.
Mexican Corn Dip
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (11 ounces) yellow and white whole kernel corn, drained
1 can Mexicorn, drained
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 can (4 ounces)chopped green chilis
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon sugar
Additional chopped green onions, optional
Tortilla or corn chips
In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, and sugar; stir into corn mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle with additional green onions if desired. Serve with chips.
*Note: it’s always wise to wear gloves when chopping, slicing, dicing or doing anything else involving hot peppers.
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