Tag Archives: Denver Broncos

Yes, they should ‘fear’ CTE

Terrell Davis used to be a great football player.

The newly inducted Hall of Fame running back for the Denver Broncos now says he lives in fear — along with other former football players — of a disease he might get later on in life. It’s called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Davis has reason to be very afraid.

The young man took a battering while carrying a football for the Broncos. He took many hits to the head, as did so many other professional football players. Indeed, studies have revealed recently that more than 80 percent of former NFL players are — or will be — afflicted by CTE, which ultimately diminishes cognitive ability.

“We’re concerned because we don’t know what the future holds. When I’m at home and I do something, if I forget something I have to stop to think, ‘Is this because I’m getting older or I’m just not using my brain, or is this an effect of playing football? I don’t know that.”

Read more about Davis’s comments here.

What does the NFL do about this? It already has taken steps to penalize players who hit other athletes on what they call “helmet-to-helmet contact.” The league has been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to players afflicted by CTE.

The NFL is now dealing almost daily with reports of athletes becoming afflicted with CTE at various stages of its progression.

The term CTE only recently has become part of every-day language, sort of like HIV/AIDS and ALS have become over the years.

Do these grown men stop doing what they do? Do we make football an illegal activity? Must the NFL resort to retooling the game into a two-hand touch football game? No, no and no.

But I surely can understand the fear that Terrell Davis and other former football players are expressing as they advance in years toward elderly status.

I suppose it would be imperative that the NFL do all it can to (a) protect the players on the field with improvements in the equipment they wear and (b) spend whatever it takes to care for those who are permanently damaged by the sport they choose to play.

So what if Cam Newton likes to dance in end zone?

cam_newton_afr_usatsi

I need to get out more . . . I guess.

All this discussion about a professional football quarterback and whether criticism of him is based on his race has gone way over my head.

The QB in question is Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. He’s going to play in a big football game Sunday. The Super Bowl. He’ll be facing another pretty good quarterback, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos.

So what’s the big deal?

I keep hearing about Newton’s end zone antics after he takes part in a touchdown for the Panthers. He’s a bit of a show off, or so I’m led to believe.

So what? The National Football League is full of guys who like to dance, strut and carry on.

Personally, I prefer that they not do such things. Remember when Earl Campbell or Bo Jackson would score touchdowns? They’d hand the ball to the official and go back to the sideline and accept salutes from their teammates. Someone once said — maybe it was Vince Lombardi — that football players should act “as if they’ve done this before” when they score touchdowns.

As for whether Cam Newton, a Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn University, should do it . . . well, it doesn’t matter one damn bit to me whether a black guy does it or white guy does it.

It must have something to do with the position he plays. Are quarterbacks not supposed to be, oh, emotional? Is there some unwritten code of conduct for these guys that prohibits them from carrying on? I’m unaware of any such behavioral mandate.

I suppose all this discussion about a particular athlete’s on-field conduct betrays a sad truth, which is that we haven’t come as far along as we had hoped regarding issues involving race.

All that said . . .

I am not a particular fan of Newton, but it has nothing at all to do with his behavior on the field. It has everything to do with the fact that he led Auburn to a national college championship victory over the Oregon Ducks.

But if he dances and prances after scoring a touchdown on Sunday, that’s fine. I wish he wouldn’t do it, but it’s not the kind of thing that’s going to make me angry.

 

Brazilians show class in defeat

Just when I thought the world had spun off its axis and that a great Latin American country had suffered from collective apoplexy over the defeat of its national soccer team, I came across this story on CNN.com.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/09/opinion/bass-brazil-germany-rout/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

It turns out the Brazilian soccer fans — stunned beyond their ability to comprehend — cheered the German team that beat their beloved men in the World Cup semifinal match.

The Germans won that game 7-1 in what’s being described as the most astonishing performance in the World Cup … ever! That they beat the host team in that fashion gives extra punch to the Germans now as they get ready to play the winner of The Netherlands-Argentina match for the World Cup championship.

I’ve also been wondering about this passionate love of the sport that seems to transcend anything with which I’m familiar in the U.S. of A. When the Denver Broncos lost the Super Bowl this year to the Seattle Seahawks, did the Mile High City’s fans go into the kind of collective funk that has fallen over Brazil. What happened in Miami when the Heat got blown out by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA finals? I think folks in South Florida went about their business.

Granted, the U.S. doesn’t have a national soccer team that’s able to compete — at least not yet — on a consistent level with Brazil or Germany.

But the craziness is beyond anything I can quite grasp.

Still, I was heartened to know that despite their grief, the Brazilians had it within them to pay proper tribute to the young men who gave their guys a good, old-fashioned whuppin’.

And yes, the sun rose this morning over Brazil.

Clues to Bronco Super Bowl collapse revealed

I have discovered the reason for the shocking collapse this past Sunday by the Denver Broncos at the Super Bowl.

Get set for this stunner.

It’s the Sports Illustrated jinx. The jinx did in the Broncos, just as certainly as it has torpedoed other teams and individual athletes over many decades of the vaunted sports magazine’s publication.

You know about the SI jinx, yes? It’s known as the kiss of proverbial death for any team or individual athlete who graces the cover prior to a big sporting event. You’re on the cover and you’re bound to lose. The jinx is infamous in sports and media circles.

The Broncos were featured on SI’s cover not once prior to The Big Game, but twice, for criminy sakes!

The Jan. 27 edition featured full-page photo of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. This was SI’s Super Bowl preview edition. I cannot recall how the magazine called the game. Doesn’t matter. The Seahawks came to play, while the Denver Broncos, well, didn’t.

Then we had the previous week’s SI cover. Who do you suppose graced that page? None other than Denver wide receiver Wes Welker, the Texas Tech University standout who played several seasons for the New England Patriots before joining Manning and the Broncos this year.

It was as if SI wanted to ensure that they doomed the Broncos by putting them on the cover on consecutive weeks prior to the Super Bowl.

What’s most amazing of all is that I haven’t heard much — if any — mention of this phenomenon biting the Broncos in the backside.

I think I’ve scored a scoop.

Hope for thrilling game goes ‘poof’ on first snap

Well, I watched most of the Super Bowl, managed to skip the halftime show because I don’t particularly like Bruno Mars or the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I had hoped for a thriller, thinking in advance the Seattle Seahawks’ defense would win the day over the high-powered Denver Broncos’ offense. I guess I was half right.

Seattle’s defense was all that it was billed as being: tough, relentless, opportunistic, aggressive … what am I missing here?

I didn’t expect the Seahawks’ offense to be so strong.

Maybe the omen was delivered on the game’s first play from scrimmage, when the Denver center snapped the ball over Peyton Manning’s head, resulting in a safety for Seattle, and setting a record for the quickest score in Super Bowl history.

So, you might be wondering: What does a shellacking like this do to Peyton Manning’s place as one of the greatest pro quarterbacks in history? Not a single thing, as the announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (no slouch himself as a QB) pointed out.

Manning will go down as a Top Five quarterback when his career is over.

Agreed. Dan Marino’s failure to win a Super Bowl didn’t diminish his standing as an all-timer. Besides, Manning’s already won one of those Lombardi trophies, back when he played for the Indy Colts.

The Super Bowl has produced a number of thrillers over the years. This one didn’t make the grade.

Too bad. Hey, maybe next year?

Immovable object vs. irresistable force

First, allow me to state the obvious: Football and baseball are vastly different sports, requiring dramatically different skills from those who participate in them.

Now let me declare one similarity: It is that teams with great offensive weaponry can be defeated by teams with great defensive skill.

One baseball axiom holds true, which is that “Good pitching usually beats good hitting any day.” I’ve seen it over many years watching baseball games. The 1963 World Series is my favorite example, when the powerhouse New York Yankees were shut down by the Los Angeles Dodgers; the Yanks had Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris swinging big bats, while the Dodgers had Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale throwing heat from the mound. LA won in four straight.

Now, about today’s Big Game, the Super Bowl. The Denver Broncos possess the NFL’s top offense. The Seattle Seahawks own the league’s best defense. One is irresistible, the other is immovable.

I am now venturing into something about which I know nothing, but the laws of physics seem to suggest — to me at least — that the immovable object is harder to move than it is to shut down the irresistible force.

It pains to me say this, given that I’m a long-time American Football Conference fan — going back to the days of the old American Football League, of which Denver was a founding franchise — but I’m thinking the Seahawks have the edge here.

My friends might say, “Oh, sure, but you’re from the Pacific Northwest. You’re going to root from the team from that part of the country.” Hold on. I grew up in Portland and there existed then — and perhaps it remains — a huge civic rivalry between the cities. Portlanders think little of Seattleites. We see the Queen City as snobby and full of itself. Seattle residents look down their noses at Portland, even though the Rose City has become every bit as cosmopolitan and trendy as Seattle.

But I’m thinking now, just a few hours before kickoff, that the immovable object is going to dig itself in and hold the irresistible force to perhaps just a couple of touchdowns.

Final score? Please, don’t hold me to this. Let’s try 20-17, Seattle.

Turns out Sherman isn’t such a punk after all

One week from The Big Game — aka the Super Bowl — and I’m feeling a bit embarrassed by my first reaction to a sideline rant by one of the game’s bigger stars.

Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman made a great play at the end of the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. The Seahawks won the game, after which commentator Erin Andrews asked Sherman to comment about his team’s big win.

Sherman then launched into a tirade against 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, against whom he made the big play. He woofed and hollered all kinds of smack against Crabtree. Andrews cut the interview short.

My thought then was: Who is this clown?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/sports/football/seahawks-richard-sherman-is-much-more-than-just-talk.html?ref=sports?src=dayp&_r=0

It turns out Richard Sherman is quite the young man.

The New York Times article attached to this blog post notes that (a) Sherman graduated second in his class at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif. and (b) received a football scholarship to attend Stanford University and (c) earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and is now working on his master’s degree.

My bad for thinking ill of the young man.

Did he behave like a gentleman, a sportsman in that sideline interview? No. He got caught up in the moment, I suppose, of his team winning a game that puts them into the biggest game of the year. Adrenaline can make one say and do amazing things, which appears to be the case here.

His personal story, though, is compelling. Sherman came from a tough neighborhood. He could have fallen into the gang life. He could have made a wrong turn at many points along the way. He appears to have made many correct decisions.

Do I want this young man’s team to win the Super Bowl? Fat chance. I remain an AFC fan and will be pulling for the Denver Broncos.

I do feel better, now, for coming clean on my false first impression of a man who’s achieved many good things in his young life.