Monday, September 12, 2016

NFL hits

Week 1 is in the books. There have been some impressive and some no-so-hot events.

The New England Patriots were definitely impressive. Playing without Tom Brady. Jimmy Garappolo is basically a rookie quarterback. But he got it done and more.

Playing without the best tight end and one of the most formidable offensive weapons in the league -- Rob Gronkowski.

On the road.

As 6 point underdogs.

Against an Arizona Cardinal team many pick to go to the Super Bowl.

Like him or not, it's one more feather in the genius cap of Bill Bellichick.

Conversely, Robert Griffin III might as well be officially chalked up as a bust. Though the former Baylor hot shot had a decent rookie year with the Redskins, he's been pretty much worthless ever since. When he wasn't making bone-head plays, he kept getting hurt. The Skins had finally seen enough to part ways with him. Why keep paying a guy big bucks who, even when healthy, isn't any good?

There's a reason he wound up on the ever-bottom feeding Cleveland Browns. Likely nobody else would have him. If Brownie fans thought they'd been through the wringer with Johnny Manzeil, things just got worse. And sure enough, during the very first game, down and out went Griffin again. This time with a injury to his non-throwing arm. Why the media keeps trying to make RG III into something he will never be -- a good quarterback -- would seem to be a good question. This guy ain't no good. He ain't never gonna BE no good.

Other players around the league have picked up on Colin Kaepernick's little protest bit regarding the national anthem. Some are sitting or kneeling. Some hold hands like a girl scout troop. One even raised his fist in the old black power symbol from the 60's.

For those who would object, Roger Goodell and the NFL appear powerless to stop it. They can't issue a mandate depriving their employees of freedom of expression -- right? Or maybe they could. After all, they've fined players for various petty violations in the past. Like not having their uniform tucked in. Or how they wear their socks. If they can enforce a dress code, like many other employers, who's to say they couldn't insist on players standing for the anthem?

One NHL coach flat out told his players if they pulled such a stunt, they'd be benched immediately. Of course hockey is a whole different breed of animals.

In truth, any particular NFL team could do the same thing. Maybe. Surely they'd face a backlash from the Players Union, and might even eventually crash and burn in court down the road.

But it would be interesting to see one try it.

Personally, I think this is much ado about nothing. If a guy doesn't want to stand, why should anybody care? Different strokes and let it go at that.

Eventually, like most other so-called hot issue topics, the media will tire of this nonsense, stop fanning the flames, and move on to something else. That's the only thing that drove it in the first place. Unlike Spy, Deflate, and some other "gates" that could be construed as trying to gain an unfair advantage, this was no more than mere symbolism to start with.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Detroit Lions won their opener against the Indy Colts. Yours truly happened to wander into a local watering hole just as the game was getting over. Those exiting were delirious with excitement. This is finally the year, they claimed.

Sigh. They never learn. Their team will give the suckers just enough every year to keep them coming back. It's pyrite. Fool's gold. Always has been.

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