Almost everyone in the world has weighed in on Tim Tebow. His general manager—former Denver Bronco great John Elway—said a few weeks ago that he wasn't quite sold on the young gun as a franchise quarterback. Then there was Charles Barkley, coming out of the woodwork and publicly pleading the Chicago Bears to beat the Broncos. (By the way, they didn't.) The discourse even turns up in seemingly tangential corners, such as young-adult author John Green's Tumblr and the pages of Rolling Stone. So what has Tebow done to deserve, in either sense of the word, all the chatter? Let's review.
Tebow, as we see him now, is a two-time national champion from the University of Florida. He is a Heisman Trophy winner, and one of the rare college athletes who succeeded so spectacularly and still played all four years— instead of making the jump to the pros early. He is enthusiastic in his love for the game, and most of his former associates, whether they be coaches or teammates, are nothing but effusive in their praise for him.
He also just so happens to be over-the-top religious. This, for a lot of people, is a deal breaker. Tebow's parents were missionaries, and he was raised with those beliefs. He has given numerous interviews stating that his ultimate goal in the NFL is to make enough money so that he can live the same kind of lifestyle as his parents did. The religious viewpoint is not unique to the NFL, nor to the Denver Broncos, but Tebow seems to raise a fervent attitude to people on both sides of the issue.
The real crux of The Tebow Dilemma, though, comes when examining the Broncos' record since Tebow was moved into the starting position at quarterback. In the words of DJ Khaled, all the Broncos have been doing since is winning. Often in ridiculously convoluted, dramatic fashion.
The Broncos were an anemic 1-4 before Tebow was slotted in to start, and have gone 7-1 since. The schedule, derided by critics at the beginning of the win streak, has gotten more difficult. The wins, counted as lucky by those same critics, have only gotten more and more tension-filled and climactic.
By most measures, Tebow is not, and should not be counted as a good quarterback in the NFL. Objectively, most scouts looked at him two years ago, before the draft, and said that he would not amount to much. (There were, of course, notable exceptions, such as Jon Gruden.) Subjectively, though, those critics, along with those who doubted his starting position or his worth to the Broncos at all, have had quite a few words to chew on in the last eight weeks. The wins keep piling up and, as of now, Denver sits alone in the top spot of the AFC West.
Steering away from the personal reasons people may or may not like Tebow, it seems now is a good time to remind everyone that we truly do live in the Moneyball age. Will Tebow continue to defy the numbers, or do statistical averages rule all? Will he break the numbers, or eventually conform to them? A third path exists: Perhaps Tim Tebow is making his own numbers, improving as he goes along. For now, the most entertaining words that any football fan can hear on any given Sunday go something like this: "It's the fourth quarter. The Broncos are down. But Tebow's got the ball." Tune in. Something amazing is going to happen.
When the Ultimate Fighting Championship finally got its television deal with FOX, UFC put all its effort into making the Heavyweight championship a major event. So when UFC 139 aired a week later, most of the fighters on the card fell under the radar. Despite the lack of hype and promotion, the fighters delivered some awesome bouts for those who ordered the pay-per-view event. Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua was expected to end in a knockout, but instead it resulted in one of the greatest fights in MMA history. Henderson almost finished Rua several times with his signature right hand but Rua managed to survive. Shogun was bloodied and exhausted but had his moments over the former Strikeforce champion. When both men came out for the fifth round, Rua controlled Henderson with dominant positions and ground-and-pound. So when the judges rendered their verdict, most thought the epic war would result in a draw. Instead, they awarded Dan Henderson the victory and, he’s now earned a title-shot against either the Middleweight or Light Heavyweight champion. Shogun is looking for a rematch and may fight on UFC's Japan show in February. Regardless of the future, both men put on a performance that will be remembered forever in the MMA history books.
It went down to the wire with the Boys and the Skins.
The Dallas Cowboys have looked like a roller coaster ride more than a Super Bowl contender this season. But with Tony Romo regaining his confidence, “America's Team” might have their swagger back. Whenever the Redskins and Cowboys face off, records usually go out the window and the rivalry takes over. Washington had their chances to spring the upset, but when the game went to OT, a missed field goal by Graham Gano gave Dallas new life. Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey hit a 39-yard field goal and gave Dallas the 27-24 victory. With the Giants and Eagles appearing mediocre every week, the Cowboys are poised to make a run towards a division title.
Despite the UFC 137 main event changes, BJ Penn and Nick Diaz delivered an exciting bout featuring a back and forth, crowd-pleasing battle. In the first round, Penn was very aggressive by getting the better of the striking and momentarily taking Diaz' back. But in the second and third rounds Diaz' conditioning enabled him to give Penn the worst beating of his career. Diaz demonstrated pinpoint accuracy by nailing Penn with lethal combinations to the head and body. Despite Penn bleeding for the first time in his career, he still showed fighting spirit by not allowing the former Strikeforce champion to finish him. But getting beat up by Diaz forced BJ Penn to unexpectedly retire from the sport. No one knows for certain if Penn has truly retired, but if he has, Penn doesn't have anything to be ashamed about. Meanwhile Diaz’ performance was enough to convince UFC President Dana White to grant him a title shot against George St. Pierre. While GSP vs. Diaz will be a money maker for the UFC, Albuquerque fighter Carlos Condit lost his title shot and will be forced to climb the ladder again to regain his spot.
It wasn't all bad news for Albuquerque fighters as Lightweight contender Donald Cerrone destroyed Dennis Siver on the Spike TV prelims. Cerrone has gone 4-0 this year and can make a case to fight for the title. But his main goal is to stay active and now is rumored to face Nate Diaz at UFC 141.
Ray Rice had three TD’s.
Last Monday night, the Baltimore Ravens went through a nightmare when they got embarrassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. So when the Ravens welcomed the Arizona Cardinals, many thought Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis would take out their anger on one of the worst teams in the league. Instead, the Cardinals humbled the Ravens defense by taking a 24-6 lead into halftime. But Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin’s seven receptions for 145 yards and running back Ray Rice’s three touchdowns helped fuel a 21-point comeback. The Cardinals tied up the game in the fourth quarter but Flacco’s pass to rookie Torrey Smith set up a Ravens game winning field goal.
Steelers vs. Pats
It's rare to see the New England Patriots get bullied by any team in the NFL. Often Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick push around and frustrate their rivals. But when New England traveled to Pittsburgh, the Steelers turned the tables and dominated the Patriots defense. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made Belichick’s defense look amateur by going 36-50 in the air with two touchdowns. Despite having long offensive drives, New England was unable to finish off their longtime AFC foe. Brady threw a red zone touchdown late in the fourth quarter to cut the lad to six. But a botched onside kick and a safety sealed Pittsburgh's 25-17 victory. With Roethlisberger finally finding his rhythm, the Steelers have recovered from their opening day disaster against the Ravens and look primed for a deep playoff run.
To say it’s been a difficult season for UNM is a massive understatement. With former coach Mike Locksley getting axed and battling another controversy, dealing with rival New Mexico state looked impossible, to say the least. To UNM's credit, 30,091 fans showed up to support interim coach George Barlow’s chance to salvage the rest of the season. The new-felt optimism quickly disappeared as New Mexico State quarterback Matt Christian dominated the Lobo defense with three passing touchdowns in the first half. When the second half started the Lobo offense showed some signs of life, scoring 21 points. But the defense was unable to stop NMSU as the Lobos suffered its third loss in a row to the Aggies. Despite the lopsided 42-28 loss, the Lobos showed some positive signs, with quarterback B.R Holbrook making decent decisions and moving the ball. There's not a lot of positive signs to take away from an 0-5 start to the season, but the Lobos need to focus on the fundamental basics in order salvage something out of the disaster.
The Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks engaged in a slug fest during game two of the National League Divisional Series. The teams combined for 22 hits, in a game marked by shifting momentum. During the fifth inning, Arizona seemed set for a comeback victory with Justin Upton tying the game with a two-run homer. But in the sixth, a Jonathan Lucroy bunt and Nyjer Morgan's two run single contributed to the Brewers scoring five runs in that frame. With the 9-4 victory the Brewers take a commanding lead in the series as they head to Arizona on Tuesday. Milwaukee is not exactly used to success of this kind, as the 2-0 series lead is the first in franchise history. If the Brewers can pull of its first sweep in its history, it might give them the momentum needed to move toward a World Series victory.
When Rex Ryan was coaching the Ravens, Baltimore was the most dangerous defense in the NFL. Ryan continued improving the defensive side of the ball with the New York Jets, but on Sunday the Jets got a rude awakening. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez looked like he was in a horror movie, suffering multiple hits and giving up three defensive touchdowns. The Ravens defense caused so much havoc, it covered up Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s mediocre 10-31 throwing performance. With the 34-17 loss, the Jets are now on a two-game losing streak and have a date with their heated rival the New England Patriots. The Ravens proved they're one of the top teams in the AFC, while the Jets looked terrible and should set the stage for another memorable Rex Ryan tirade.
When word broke that the Philadelphia Eagles were going to make Michael Vick a hundred million dollar man again, commenters on the Internet immediately dug into their trenches and started lobbing grenades at the other side. After all, this is Vick we're talking about. If the hype on either side is to be believed, he's either a vicious, unrepentant dog killer who deserves nothing, or he's one of the greatest quarterbacks of the modern era.
All this controversy came on top of an earlier explosion, this one being totally out of Vick's control. On Thursday of last week, ESPN ran a piece that will appear in the September 5th issue of ESPN the Magazine titled "What if Michael Vick were white?". The author of that piece, Touré, says that he asked ESPN not to title it as such, but obviously that request went unfulfilled.
Touré's article was actually a nuanced piece on how asking such a question is, in the world we live in, impossible. However, the title was what a vast majority of people saw. Those who did not see the title nor read the piece, though, had plenty to take away. Accompanying the piece, ESPN commissioned a photo illustration, literally depicting the titular question. All subtlety and nuance from a gifted writer went out the window.
Instead what we were left with was very reminiscent of the political landscape of today. The aforementioned trenches were dug, opinions were honed to an even finer point, and pithy, five- to ten-second commentary abounded. No one's mind was changed by Touré's article, nor by the comments that followed as it was reposted on site after site. Those who thought we live in a post-racism world before reading the article still do. They hold up the article as an example of minorities harping on a problem that no longer exists. Those who were sympathetic to possibilities of racism in the world finished the piece by shaking their heads, finding yet another textbook case of proving their viewpoint right.
It's difficult (nigh impossible) to honestly discuss these sorts of issues nowadays. If you want to talk sports, you've got to be able to get on TV and give a thirty-second opinion. If you're not screaming, you've got to be issuing some sort of fierce rebuttal to the person who screamed before you. If you want to discuss things at length, you're an academic: out of touch with the world and only interested in perpetuating ideas, refusing to deal in reality.
There are serious questions that are raised by the Touré piece, including but not limited to: race and racism, black style and black lifestyle, the ever-changing morals of bringing up children in America—regardless of race— but keeping in mind how that race (something no person has a choice on) affects that upbringing. There are questions on the American judicial system and the penalties that any person should have to pay for any crime, whether it's against human, animal or another form of life. There are questions on how worthy any thought experiment really is.
But, at the end of the day, instead of those questions being discussed, most people saw the picture, read the headline, and started screaming.
NFL commish Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith squash the lockout
On Monday morning, the good news started pouring in for fans of American football. The lockout which had threatened the country's (true, modern) pastime finally ended. The focus now turns to the actual start of the season, currently slated for September 8.
When the new NFL season begins, there will be a couple important differences, but most of them will be invisible. When it comes to the changes that both sides were pushing for, there was compromise instead of hard manifestation—at least to this point. The schedule will remain a 16-game affair —for now. Owners will be getting more money than they were previously. Practices will change, and there is already grumbling from those who are attached to the old schedule.
These differences, however, are inevitable when two sides are fighting for every inch. All told, in the process of negotiation, the NFL was officially locked out for more than 4 months, the longest lockout in NFL history. However, the good news is that no official games were lost to the labor dispute, save an exhibition game which had been scheduled for August 7.
A great summary of the winners and losers of the draft has been written up at espn.com. In regards to that article, though, I'd defy anyone to go out and talk to a football fan. There is a reason that this was the top story on ESPN for the last three days, and why it continues to get mentioned on CNN. In times like these, when people are looking toward August 2 as a potential for the United States government defaulting on its debt, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, took the time to point out that if football can get a deal done, certainly the bureaucrats in Washington should be able to follow suit; especially when the matter is of such increased gravity. For those who prefer their sports without politics, there's a handy comparison, too: The NFL lockout being resolved in a timely fashion gives hope to the fans of the NBA, which is still engaged in a lockout of its own.
At the end of the day, though, despite lists of winners and losers and total amount of time lost to this lockout, the easiest proof is in the pudding. Next time you're out and about, ask a sports fan—whether it's at a bar, at work, or even just at a stoplight—"Hey, how do you feel that the NFL lockout is over?" Chances are, they'll gripe a bit. They'll mention how it was millionaires fighting with billionaires. And they'll say how ridiculous it was to have to slog through the news. But, at the end of that conversation, most people, as Americans who love football above all others, will smile and say, "Hey, I'm just glad it's back."
Late June to early August has always been a tough time. There are years when we have the Summer Olympics to get us by. There's a brief respite for the Tour de France, although it's lost some of its luster recently. And yes, I am excited about both the upcoming Women's World Cup as well as the 15th WNBA Season. But there's no denying these are dark times.
The NBA, NFL and NHL are all done with their seasons. MLB, for those who care, hasn't really picked up any steam yet by this point in the season. But most importantly, for now, the two behemoths of American sports, basketball and football, seem to be on a collision course with no righting in sight.
The NFL is already locked out and the NBA appears to be heading in that direction. As though sports fans weren't already mired in what is traditionally the worst time of the year, that slog is now compounded by the fact that it might stretch on even longer.
There's already been extensive coverage of why this is happening in both of these leagues, so for now, let's focus on the positive: There are reports that the NFL sides might be close to reconciliation. The NBA can learn from this NFL experience and perhaps avoid actually locking out.
But even more importantly, we can shift our focus from those leagues to the alternatives. The aforementioned Women's World Cup features not just a strong U.S. team, but a hungry one. The Tour de France, free from those Americans that some claim the French love to hate, might have a chance to stand on its own, as opposed to being hounded by the WADA for violations; focusing on the actual sport and its real winner could prove to be a successful formula. And the WNBA is becoming a refined product on its own, not merely the little-sister-league of the NBA.
The WNBA is trying to make summer–the ironic winter of sports–its time to shine: By celebrating 15 years of existence, the league gets to simultaneously advertise its product as well as remind viewers that this league is no longer an experiment. Love it or hate it, the WNBA appears to be here to stay. The human aspect of sports is really what captivates people, and the inclusion of fan voting on the top 30 WNBA players of all time seems a great place to start.
Bicycling Magazine says that of the 200-plus riders who will take place in this year's Tour de France, Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer, two Americans, are some of the most worthy riders to watch. Perhaps America will once again have riders come from seemingly out of nowhere to challenge for the yellow jersey, enabling us to focus on the sport and the will of those who participate.
The Women's World Cup, taking place in Germany, presents a similar opportunity for the American women to take on the shadow that's been hanging over their program–in this case, for the last twelve years. In 1999, Brandi Chastain sealed a victory for America with her iconic penalty kick and celebration, but Team USA has been mired in mediocrity since then. The U.S. is ranked first in the world currently but needs to perform in order to maintain the enthusiasm that is beginning to dwindle.
So while the millionaires of the NBA and NFL fight with their billionaire owners, take some time in this traditionally dark period to try to get back to the great storylines that make us truly care about sports.
Road games continue to be the Lobos' kryptonite. The Wyoming Cowboys aren't known for dominating the conference but it doesn't mean the Lobos could overlook them. UNM senior point guard Dairese Gary was the only player in double figures scoring 24 points and adding six assists. Gary gave the Lobos the lead by hitting two free throws in the final seconds. The Cowboys had to final possession and eventually finished off New Mexico with a fade away floater by Wyoming's Francisco Cruz. If the Lobos want an invitation to the big dance in March, Phillip McDonald, Kendall Williams and Drew Gordon need to step up. Despite losing three out of their last five games, the Lobos have a two game home stand against Colorado State and #6 San Diego State.
If New Mexico can sweep both games, it can be a major momentum boost for the rest of the season.
Four teams went into the weekend with Super Bowl Dreams, only two survived. No one gave the Seattle Seahawks any shot of beating the defending champs, New Orleans Saints. Despite having the home field advantage, the Saints were an 11 point favorite. Instead of a one-sided beating, the game turned into a back and forth battle. Seattle's Marshawn Lynch touchdown run in the forth quarter destroyed the Saints defense and sealed the victory for Seahawks. The Seahawks 41-36 victory became one of the biggest playoff upsets in the history of the NFL.
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan seemed determined to ruin Peyton Manning's playoff legacy. Ryan wanted revenge for the Colts beating the Jets in last years AFC championship game but the only way he could get it was to trust his quarterback Mark Sanchez. After Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri gave Indianapolis the lead, the game rested on Sanchez's ability to be clutch in crunch time. Antonio Cromartie kickoff return took some pressure off of Sanchez and enabled him to throw a 18-yard pass to Braylon Edwards. Jets kicker Nick Folk nailed a chip shot and gave Ryan his much need victory over Peyton Manning. Now the Jets look for payback against their hated rival, the New England Patriots.
In Sunday's games, the Baltimore Ravens defense forced five turnovers and dominated the Kansas City Chiefs, 30-7. With Joe Flacco two touchdowns passes, the Ravens have a steady offense to compliment their hard hitting defense. Later that day the Eagles tried to overcome a Packers defense who injured the Eagles original starting QB, Kevin Kolb. The Eagles seemed destined for the comeback victory in the 4th quarter. Instead ,Vick threw a interception, crushing their playoff hopes. Vick may have thrown the game ending interception but he doesn't deserve all of the blame. Hopefully the Eagles can improve their offensive line to protect Vick. Meanwhile Aaron Rodgers will try to add to his frist playoff victory when the Packers face the Atlanta Falcons.
The Lobos had a rough start to begin 2011. The Dayton Flyers won the 2010 NIT tournament and have put themselves in a position to make the 2011 NCAA tournament. With the Lobos barely beating Texas Tech the game before, New Mexico had to overcome the Flyers three-point shooting. The game was sent into double overtime with strong performances by Dairese Gary and Kendall Williams.
Williams had 14 points and had a chance to send the game to another overtime with a three-pointer, but it bricked the top of the rim. The 76-73 loss sends the Lobos to 11-3 and searching for a win against Cal State Bakersfield at home on Wednesday, Jan. 5.
Many fans were dreading the UFC 125 main event between Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard. After all, both men fought to a boring decision in which Maynard dominated Edgar with takedowns. However the rematch played out very differently, and Maynard hit Edgar with huge punches, almost finishing the fight in the first round. Somehow Edgar survived and responded by pushing the bout to a judges decision. With both men having strong moments in the fight, the judges ruled a draw.
UFC President Dana White at first stated Anthony “Showtime” Pettis would get the next shot but then changed his mind and booked an immediate rematch.
It was also a good night for Jacksons MMA fighters Brian Stann and Clay Guida. Stann knocked out the strong favorite Chris Leben and moves up the middleweight rankings. Guida had an impressive submission of Pride lightweight legend Takanori Gomi in the second round.
The last week in the season resulted in some anti-climatic results. The Jets, Steelers and Patriots destroyed their opposition and look ready to make a impact in the postseason. The Indianapolis Colts provided the only drama of the day, defeating the Tennessee Titans with a game-winning field goal. Colts lock up with AFC South and now face the cocky New York Jets in the wild card game.
Whenever the Lobos and Aggies collide, you can forget about records or standings. Overtime was needed to decide who would win the first of two meetings of the season. The Lobos had a 17-point lead in the first half but the Aggies eventually tied the game. Kendall Williams had a chance for a game winning shot but it rimmed out sending the game into overtime. The Aggies had all the momentum when the extra period started but the Lobos stepped up and came away with the 84-78 victory. Besides the second straight road win for New Mexico, the experience of playing a close game against a rival will prove to be very valuable when Mountain West Conference play starts. In the meantime the Lobos get a well deserve break until December 11th when they face the Aggies in a rematch at home.
Now that the college football season has ended, it's time for fans to get disappointed and watch pointless bowl games until the BCS national title game in January. As expected Auburn and Oregon disposed of their opponents, setting up what should be a every entertaining title matchup. It'll be interesting if either team's defense can create a gameplan to avoid an offensive spectacle. TCU plays Wisconsin in a consolation game disguised as the Rose Bowl. At least TCU gets to prove why they deserve to be considered for the national title.
After the Cowboys nailed the game winning kick in overtime against the Colts, many are wondering if Peyton Manning run of consecutive playoff appearances has come to an end. Manning threw four picks in the 38-35 lost causing many critics to question if Manning has lost his mojo. But keep in mind the Colts have a .500 record and play well at home despite many injuries to key positions. Now the Colts may miss the playoffs, but it doesn't mean Manning has entered into the last days as a premier quarterback in the league. Instead of labeling Peyton Manning as 'washed up' lets wait until he has all of his weapons back before giving the final judgment.
In the history of comebacks, Michael Vick on Monday night has got to rank high up there.
As previously discussed, Michael Vick made some bad, bad choices. And when he went to jail to pay for those choices, a lot of people were writing him off. In fact, as he was getting started with the Eagles last year (reportedly at the behest of Donovan McNabb, it's worth noting!) many people still were willing to write him off.
They claimed that he'd lost a step, that his time away from the game would irreparably damage the way he played. He ran the ball too much to begin with anyway, people said, and he'd never amount to much more than a decent back-up. This was quickly proved wrong.
However, what he did on Monday is on another level. If Michael Vick continues to put up numbers at this clip, there'll be very little debate about the MVP of the National Football League this year.
Vick's performance on Monday night immediately qualified him for the best individual line of the season, and it thrust him into a tie for the third spot on the top fantasy performances since 2000! Beyond the fantasy line, though, the pure numbers were gaudy: Vick threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns. Vick wasn't the rushing leader for Philly—that honor went to Jerome Harrison—but he did carry for a mere 80 yards and two more touchdowns.
All this on the same day the Washington Redskins announced a contract extension for Donovan McNabb, the quarterback that's at least partially responsible for Vick's second chance in Philadelphia, and it adds up to a fairytale Monday Night Football game. The two teams may be done with each other, but Vick's story, to some people's great surprise, is seemingly just beginning.
It seemed fate was against the New Mexico Lobos before they even took the field on Saturday when starting quarterback B.R. Holbrook was sitting on the bench. Holbrook's hurt knee gave Brad Gruner the opportunity to lead the Lobos to their first win against the Utah Utes. But the Utes proved why they're the 14th ranked team in the country by shredding the Lobos defense for 428 yards of offense. With the defense unable to stop Utah and Gruner leaving the game with an injury, Utah's 56-14 victory seem inevitable. Despite another lopsided loss, the Lobos showed some positive signs by the performance of freshman quarterback Tarean Austin. Austin made some typical freshman mistakes but showed potential and playmaking ability. The Lobos could finally have their first victory season when facing the UNLV Rebels next week, but they'll have to win on the road to do it.
Notre Dame and Michigan State are guaranteed excitement and Saturday was no exception. Everyone including Notre Dame thought Michigan State was looking to tie the Irish in overtime. But a fake field goal play called “Little Giants” fooled Notre Dame and continued the Spartans’ undefeated season. Unfortunately, Michigan State couldn't enjoy their victory as Head Coach Mark Dantonio suffered a mild heart attack Saturday night. Dantonio is expected to make a full recovery—but how will the team react to Dantonio's absence?
The wheels are slowly starting to fall off the Dallas Cowboys bandwagon with another loss to the Chicago Bears. Three turnovers including two Tony Romo interceptions prevented the offense to fully get on track. All the credit toward the loss shouldn't fall on the mistakes of the Cowboys but instead should be given the the Bears. For the first time in their history, the Chicago Bears have a powerful offense to go along with their always tough defense. If Jay Cutler continues to throw multiple touchdowns and not turnover the ball, the Bears can easily be a NFC contender. Meanwhile the Cowboys continue to search for ways to keep their Super Bowl dreams alive.
When the Vikings went into the locker room after losing 14-10 to the Miami Dolphins, Viking players were probably wishing Brett Favre would have gone to training camp. Favre's patience and accuracy of last season has disappeared and desperation has taken over. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had 145 rushing yards and a touchdown, but three interceptions was too much for the Vikings to overcome. Even though the Dolphins won, they shouldn't feel satisfied because the Vikings had a chance to steal the victory despite four turnovers. Nevertheless, Miami's 2-0 record puts them in a great position to be the surprise winner of their division.
Reggie Bush just became the first Heisman Trophy winner in history to give the trophy back. This will not put an end to the cloud of scandal surrounding the University of Southern California. Nor is that cloud limited to the football program and now-departed (but not fired, he just got a job in the NFL) head football coach, Pete Carroll. The USC basketball program, meanwhile, is dogged by accusations that its star around the same time, O.J. Mayo, who now plays in the NBA, engaged in essentially the exact same behavior.
But is this really new? Are these things that didn't happen before? Are we living in some kind of deadly dark era, where athletes are misbehaving at a never-before-seen level? Is there something wrong with our generation?
Or, is it simply a reflection of the sped-up era in which we live? There have been numerous suggestions that the 24-hour cable news cycle makes it appear as though we live in a more violent world than is actually the case. With athletes hopping onto social networks like Twitterwe get an unfiltered look at them and their lives. Few people will dispute that this is an interesting and probably positive wrinkle to the fan-entertainer relationship.
However, there is always a price to pay for closeness. (Remember the phrase about meeting your heroes?) With the media going full-tilt around the clock and the specialization of news organizations, we get revelations that we might not have in the past. Shaq's Twitter account is funny, but it's kind of sad to read about him stealing ideas for TV shows from teammates.
All this is merely to say: It's a shame about Reggie Bush. It's a shame that he essentially had to give back one of the most prestigious awards in the sport. It's a shame that there were suspicions about his time at USC since he was there. But the biggest shame of all is that the defending Super Bowl champs—the New Orleans Saints—are tainted, even if it's ever so slightly, by yet another negative news story about a sports star.
What's the solution? We refuse to live in blissful ignorance, and that's a good thing. But it feels like it keeps getting a little harder to watch sports, root for the same old kind of star, and read the same kind of story when they inevitably slip up.