Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Grumpy Old Man Report No. 1: Bengals, Steelers kill football


Today begins a semi-regular feature that we’ll loosely title, “Grumpy Old Man on Sports.”

Its sole purpose is to shed a little light on how nothing today is as good as it used to be and how contemporary sport is in many ways garbage.

Of course, that brings to mind Saturday’s wildcard game between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The details of that particular contest belong more on a police report than a sports blog, but I will press on.

If there is any way to kill the monster that is the NFL, those teams provided the blueprint. But was it really football? Between the scuffles after the whistle, the cheap shots, the preening and posturing there was very little actual game being played. They held an AFC wildcard game and a prison riot broke out.

Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict provided the perfect symbolism for all that is wrong with the modern football mentality when he collected his interception inside the last two minutes and ran off the field, into the tunnel disappearing from view as if the game was done. Karma won the day, at least, when Pittsburgh prevailed on a last-gasp field goal.

Don’t blame the officials for losing control of the moment. How about demanding that the teams maintain some control of themselves? The farce was a reflection on both coaches, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis. With his team melting down, committing a pair of personal foul/unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the Steelers last, field goal drive, Lewis probably should be canned.

Here was a game that was an insult to all who watched it, a shameful production, the ultimate expression of the de-evolution of football into a “Walking Dead” battle for survival.

Just a few last grumbles, inspired by the events in Cincinnati.

Every tackle does not need to be considered an insult to one’s manhood. Just shut up, get up and run another play.

Every time you actually perform your job – be it make a tackle or acquire a first down – there is no need to break into a victory parade. Try to pretend that the seven-yard reception you just made wasn’t humanity’s greatest achievement, just edging the invention of an alphabet.

It’s called professional football. That at least implies the hint of professionalism. If accountants did their job like the Bengals and Steelers did Saturday, all ledgers would be done in crayon.

There, does that sound old and grumpy enough?

Now get off my lawn.


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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.