VERO BEACH, FLORIDA – Some MAS musings on a number of early season NFL developments:
■ If you’re buying Tom Brady’s innocence in the much-to-do-about-nothing Deflategate “scandal,” then I’ve got some ‘gator-infested swampland in the nearby Everglades that you’d probably want to snap up as well.
There is no way in Hades that, at some point in time, either Tom or an intermediary did NOT pass the word on to the two locker room attendant lackeys (who ended up taking the fall) that he preferred his balls slightly deflated.
Really, on their own, the pair decided “Hey, I think Tom would like a softer ball”?
Then, I swear on Tom Brady, the alligators on this property don’t chow down on humans. You’ll be perfectly safe.
Alas, without an attendant dropping a dime on Brady or a smoking gun tape recording, Mr. Gisele Bundchen skated on charges he was involved.
No doubt the recently reinstated pair of deflators were compensated handsomely for clamming up.
But, really, why all this fuss — and the resultant stupid media overkill — in the first place?
Slightly deflating balls is a common practice. Heck, even MAS’s bro, a fellow former high school head coach, did it for his quarterbacks because it gave them a better grip.
It’s not as if Brady’s balls were Nerf-like. It’s just that they simply did not measure up to a silly — and mostly ignored — minimally impactful NFL rule.
Still, a rule is a rule . . . zzzzz.
This, of course, necessitated the “lie and deny” Brady tactics which ensued.
And, man, did Brady flash the most irritating “I’m not only getting over on the Commish but all you clueless, gullible fans as well” smirk on his face or what?
For his annoyingly smug countenance entering and exiting the courtroom alone, and NOT for any culpability in the whole nonsensical affair, you can scratch MAS’s name off the list of Brady admirers.
■ Let’s switch from a guy who should have been suspended to one who didn’t deserve to be, yet was — Adrian Peterson.
The Minnesota Vikings running back missed last season because of dubious child abuse charges, thanks in part to gutless NFL and Vikings honchos acquiescing to PC police pressure.
MAS hopes it’s just rust and not a diminishing of his rare explosiveness (power + speed) but Peterson currently seems to lack the burst he had before sitting out.
Now 30, Peterson may have been unfairly robbed of a precious year in the brief window of opportunity that running backs, who take a heavy pounding, possess.
MAS feels it’s a sad day when the perverse power of the PC police can spread to the domain of sports and affect goings-on there.
It’s another sure sign of the beginnings in the U.S. of a Roman Empire-type decay and collapse-from-within.
■ After just two games, it’s obvious to MAS that Peyton Manning’s legacy may end up being tarnished further as a result of his playing one more season.
Last campaign, Manning’s greatly decreased arm strength became more obvious as the season wore on. Teams played their defensive backs close to the line of scrimmage, daring Manning to throw deep.
And he never could. Successfully, anyway.
Now Peyton’s accuracy is deserting him as well.
And ol’ number 18 senses it, too. Manning no longer possesses the tremendously self-assured demeanor he has always been known for.
There is a look of self-doubt creeping into his bearing.
Yes, Denver is 2-0, but in last week’s gift win over Kansas City, Manning’s more-often-errant-than-not aerials showed that not only can’t he throw the bomb any more, he can’t thread the needle consistently either.
It’s sad. Sort of reminds MAS of the endings for greats Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath — each of whom hung around too long.
Both suffered heartbreaking-to-watch declines in performance late in their otherwise fantastic careers.
If Peyton’s Bronco teammates force him to be a one-man show again, this could end up being an ugly farewell season for the QB who made the city of Omaha famous.
■ Statistics show that only 12 percent of teams that start off 0-2 make the playoffs. This means a number of surprise winless teams (defending NFC champ Seattle, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore) now find themselves in a position where they must overcome some daunting odds.
The other winless teams that have dug an early hole for themselves are the New York Giants, New Orleans, Houston and Chicago.
Thus, Seattle is in danger of not having an opportunity to erase the bitter taste left by its play-calling gaffe that cost it the last Super Bowl.
Conversely, ballclubs that start off with two victories reach the postseason 63 percent of the time. There are currently nine unbeatens, six of whom were prime playoff candidates coming in (Green Bay, Denver, New England, Cincinnati, Arizona and Dallas) and three semi-surprises — Carolina, Atlanta and the New York Jets.
■ The NFL extra point kick no longer presents an opportunity to make a quick visit to the loo to take care of biz or a kitchen trip for beverage and snack refills.
The PAT boot has been moved back to a distance of 33 yards and is no longer near-automatic.
Need proof? There were only eight missed kicks for the single point-after all of last season. Already, in just the first two weeks of this campaign, that number has been surpassed — NINE have gone astray thus far.
But in addition to making the PAT kick more of a challenge, more teams are trying earlier in the game for the two-point conversion via the run or pass.
Case in point: in the Pittsburgh-San Francisco contest last weekend, the Steelers went for two points after their first two TDs and were successful each time. They decided not to push their luck after their third touchdown and their kicker then shanked his PAT boot.
Go figure, eh?
Bottom line: the NFL got it right with a rule change for a change. Further proof that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in awhile.
Contact MAS at: email@example.com
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