Monday, January 14, 2013

The Milk Bone Awards

Never heard of them? That's because I just made it up, and why not? They give awards away for everything else these days. Teachers, cops, firefighters, reporters, TV and movie actors, singers, authors, Broadway plays, business execs -- you name it and a bunch of people get a trophy or a plaque every other day or so. The sports world is probably the worst culprit of the bunch. They dish out more hardware than your average Home Depot. I heard there's even an award coming up for the best fictitious reality show. When you figure THAT one out -- let me know.

But nobody ever seems to have gotten around to handing out "bonehead" awards in that same world of sports. Don't get me wrong. This is not to disparage Milk Bones by any means. It's a terrific product. They clean teeth, freshen breath, are chock full of vitamins and minerals, and are wholesome and tasty. My household goes through at least a box a week, and I even let my yorkies have one occasionally, although personally I find them rather on the dry side.

Earlier tonight, yours truly saw a couple NFL coaches that deserved Milk Bone awards. Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons. Towards the end of the game, they both turned into boneheads. Seattle had the ball late in the 4th quarter with Atlanta leading 27-21. The Falcons went into what we have all come to know as a "prevent defense". That's another way of saying they were willing to give up big chunks of yardage on every play and hope the Seahawks wouldn't find their way into the end zone for a touchdown before time expired. How many times have we seen THAT so-called strategy backfire in the past?

The Seahawks readily took advantage of what was being given to them, easily marched down the field to score the tying touchdown, then kick the extra point to lead 28-27. Here's a Milk Bone for you Mike Smith.

There was only about 30 seconds left in the game when Seattle kicked off to Atlanta. After a decent runback and a couple quick passes, the Falcons were looking at a 52 yard field goal to win it with about 20 seconds still left on the clock. At that point, Pete Carroll had earned a Milk Bone for employing his own version of a prevent defense and allowing the Falcons to get within striking range. They were a long field goal away from ending the Seahawks' season.

The field goal unit trotted on, the ball was snapped, the hold was good, and the kick was away. It had plenty of length -- but sailed wide right. Game over -- right? Nope. Pete Carroll had decided to call time out in an attempt to "freeze" the Atlanta place kicker. The replays clearly showed Carroll standing next to a ref and calling the time out, but after the kick was wide, he protested like he never did it. Three more Milk Bones for Pete. One for the shameless con he was trying to put over on the officials, another for trying to get into the head of a long time professional place kicker over a kick that was maybe 50-50 to start with, and a 3rd for giving that same kicker a "practice shot".

The clock was reset, the ball was snapped, the hold was good, and the kick was away again. That time it sailed through the uprights. Atlanta was ahead 30-28, with just several seconds left on the clock. Surely, it was over then. Not so fast. Enter Falcons coach Mike Smith to earn his own Milk Bone. On the ensuring kickoff back to the Seahawks, instead of having his own kicker just boom it out of the end zone, so the Seahawks would have to gain at least 40 yards in a few seconds to get within field goal range of their own -- his kicker dribbled it off the tee and Seattle covered it at near midfield.

Then the Seahawks only needed one quick pass to a receiver catching the ball and going out of bounds to be in position for some last second field goal heroics of their own. That's exactly what happened, except instead of the 15 yard route they needed, the receiver ran a 5 yard route, which left them still hopelessly out of field goal range. Hang another Milk Bone on Pete Carroll's collar. Sure, his offensive coordinator likely made the call, but Carroll damn sure heard it on his headset, and could have overruled it if he wanted to. He didn't.

There were plenty of Milk Bone awards to be handed out in this game. Woof woof. It's going to be a long flight from Atlanta to Seattle for Pete Carroll, so he'll have plenty of time to munch on them while he meditates his bone-headed strategies that ended his team's season. No sympathy here for him. After all the shenanigans that went on under his watch at Southern Cal which left USC saddled with sanctions, Carroll bailed for greener pastures, rather than take responsibility. Even in week 3 of this NFL season, back on Sept. 24, on a nationally televised game, the whole country saw the Green Bay Packers get "jobbed" on a last second call by what were then "replacement" refs, only to see Pete Carroll, the ultimate shill-meister, later look straight into the cameras and claim the call was correct. He deserved a Milk Bone right then. Of course, the Milk Bone company churns out thousands, if not millions of their dog treats every day, but it's doubtful even THEY could keep up with the demand that was warranted by the scab refs back then.

Falcons' coach Mike Smith has to scarf them quickly, because Jim Harbaugh's crazed dogs are coming to his town next week. After the demolition the 49ers put on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers just the day before, the good Mr. Smith might be wise to start planning a few better strategies than those he employed against the Seahawks, else he and his team find themselves being chased out of their own house by a pack of rabid mutts.

Though unconfirmed, word has it the 49ers will try to eat anything they can get hold of. Perhaps the Milk Bone company should consider boosting production a bit so enough of their product will be available for the awards that are likely to come about next weekend.

Memo to the Milk Bone company. If it's not asking too much -- get rid of the green ones. Nobody wants a green bone. My yorkies take them outside and bury them. I've seen starving squirrels dig them up, check them out and -- rebury them. And besides -- dry I can handle -- but those things just taste BAD.

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