To cut or not to cut. That seems to be the question. Cincinnati players are supposedly up in arms about the injury to defensive tackle Tony Williams that occurred Monday Night’s game against the Denver Broncos. Williams had surgery Thursday to repair his ankle which was, according to reports, both broken and dislocated by Bronco offensive lineman George Foster during a cut block.
Can you say “Oh hell that had to hurt?”
While legal, there is plenty of discussion as to the ethics of cut blocks. John Madden said as much during the broadcast and was staunch in his disdain for the practice.
I have no doubt the players are upset, especially that they lost a starter and a friend. The media has played it up, thanks in part to Madden’s comments on national television. Personally I am ambivalent. If it is bad for the game, rule it out of the game. If it’s part of the game, guys need to be aware of it and deal with it. The media needs to stop whipping the players into a frenzy, as that kind of negative attention causes bad things to happen on the football field.
Football is a brutal sport. That is in large part its appeal. Football is modern day Lions and Christians, blood and gore, crushing hits and broken bones. Football players know this, the public knows this and the media knows it, so stop bickering about it and either accept it or dump it.
Great White Shark Game of the Week – Baltimore @ Philadelphia
Sunday October 31st @ 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Speaking of brutality, there are some brutal games this weekend. Leading the way is the long-anticipated matchup of TO’s teams. The Baltimore Ravens thought they had Owens locked up until he did one of his shake and bake moves, leaving the Ravens grasping, like so many defensive backs, at nothing as he loped into the City of Brotherly Love.
Philadelphia fans have reason to welcome this prodigal son with open arms, as the McNabb-to-Owens Express provides new hope for this city tired of being a bridesmaid but never a bride. Owens, and with him McNabb, carry the entire city’s hopes for glory and a Super Bowl ring squarely on their shoulders.
Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense see it as payback time. Ray welcomed Owens to “his house” and feels they got the shaft and a fat hunk of disrespect when TO bailed. Lewis, Chris McAlister and Prime Time are planning what they hope will be the equivalent of Halloween Horror Night for Terrell this week. The game has plenty of drama and will be trumpeted all weekend by the media as the Grudge Match of the Week.
Shark Sighting – Expect Deion Sanders to play cherry picker against the Eagles. McNabb and Owens are sure to be ready for it, but Sanders has proven he still has the highlight reel moves that provided his self-made moniker.
Whale of a Game – New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday October 31st @ 4:15 pm ET on CBS
Any other week and this is the Great White GOTW and probably runs as 1A to the Raven Philly game regardless. The undefeated Patriots carry their record-setting twenty-one game winning streak into Heinz Field, site of their 2001 AFC Championship victory over these same Steelers and the game that launched the Patriots to their first of two Super Bowl seasons this decade. In his young career Tom Brady is 2-0 against the Steelers and goes up against another quarterback prodigy in Ben Roethlisberger who interestingly was thrust into the starting job when former starter Tommy Maddox went down in the second week against Baltimore. Spooky coincidence on Halloween as Brady got his start very much the same way, with similar results.
Roethlisberger is undefeated as a starter and has won the job with a commanding performance on the field that belies his youth and inexperience. This week will be the ultimate litmus test for both Roethlisberger and the 5-1 Steelers as they seek a place in the history books…namely as the team who stopped The Streak.
Shark Sighting – Corey Dillon has been everything the Patriots could have asked for and is on pace to set a single season rushing record for New England. This is a battle for AFC supremacy, so expect both teams to come out like two high speed locomotives heading for the same point on the same track. There’s gonna be a train wreck, its just a matter of who plows who off the first.
Chumming the Waters – Arizona @ Buffalo in the Who Cares? Game of the Week
Sunday October 31st @ 1pm ET on Fox
Arizona must take exception to being the Chum game of the week. They’ve been profiled twice and both times have proven me wrong. The first time they gave the Patriots all they could handle, and last week took Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks down with an impressive defensive performance. Denny Green has these guys playing well over their skill level, and that will get a boost this week with the return of Anquan Boldin. So why are they, for the third time, being profiled in this column?
Well, Denny’s check cashed. Ok a guy can dream a little, right? Actually it has more to do with the offensive, as in stinky, performance of the Buffalo Bills. With the exception of Eric Moulds, who is having his typical even-year success, the Bills have been anything but exciting. Buffalo has lost at least three games by a field goal this year due to an inept offensive line that can’t open a soda can much less a hole for their running backs. Bledsoe has been particularly rotten and risks being tossed over Niagra Falls in a wooden barrel if he doesn’t throw more passes to his own receivers and less to opposing defenses. In the last 22 games Drew has thrown a measly 17 touchdown passes while presenting opposing defenses with 19 picks.
Shark Sighting – Emmitt Smith feels like a young man. That should change this week as the Cards run into a tough and desperate Bills defense. Boldin may be back, but don’t expect an immediate return to super stud status. He broke a wheel and will need some time feeling comfortable that it isn’t fragile. Buffalo isn’t exactly the defense he wants to face his first game back.