TAC Pro Football Rankings: Week 4

Tuesday, October 5, AD 2010

Is anyone any good? Jeesh, I know Texas is a horrible place to visit, but surely the Superbowl is worth the incursion? After all, Louisiana is right next door.

Last year was year of the Titans, with the Colts, Vikings, and Saints clearly in another league. This year, everyone has significant problems. The Colts have dropped 2 games. Favre wants to go back to Miss. The Saints have a plethora of injuries and the offense hasn’t looked great.

Each team seems to have an inexplicable loss on their record. The Jets opener against the Ravens, the Pack’s loss to the Bears, etc. After Week 4, you have a pretty good sense usually of where everybody stands. Everyone has significant improvements that need to be made; the question is who can make them in time to get into the playoffs, as it seems that unlike last year, once you’re in the playoffs it’s anybody’s game.

To the rankings!

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6 Responses to TAC Pro Football Rankings: Week 4

  • I don’t believe the pro-football rankings are as popular as the College football rankings.

  • Rankings don’t determine the championship in professional football. The pro league relies on a ridiculous, arbitrary system called “playing football” to determine the national champion.

  • The pro league relies on a ridiculous, arbitrary system called “playing football” to determine the national champion.

    Truly preposterous system.

  • Well, Tito, I think it has to do with this season. hard for anyone to be really passionate about their team right now; everyone looks yucky.

  • The pro game sucks by comparison. Keep your damned playoff.

  • “… I think it has to do with this season …”

    Of course it has to do with the season. The season is way too long. (And they’re actually going to make it longer by expanding to 18 games. 18 games!?!) They’re already playing the Super Bowl in frickin’ February.

    Half the teams in the playoffs are playing at or just above .500. Compelling stuff, that.

    There’s no tradition. There’s no pomp. There’s no pageantry. The cheerleaders leave absolutely nothing to the imagination (unlike their college counterparts, who seem far more attractive despite showing far less skin).

    I grew up living for Sunday afternoon. Now I could give a rat’s.

    All my football watching is done on Thursday night and Saturday, where the REAL drama lives. And, yes, they do “play football” to determine the National Champion in college football. They play it EVERY week of the season, where EVERY game counts.

Why Is This Bad?

Monday, October 4, AD 2010

Rookie hazing is common to all American professional sports.  Normally it amounts to rookies carrying veterans’ bags, being dressed up in women’s clothing for “fashion shoots,” or simply having to buy dinner for the veterans.  Well last week Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys was subjected to the latter.  Unlike most rookie hazing incidents this caused headline news.  Why?  Because the bill came out to just under $55,000.  That’s a lot of steak.

This has led to all sorts of outrage.  I think this nugget from Peter King’s (never-ending) column fairly represents the typical media reaction to the story.

This doesn’t deserve a monumental amount of coverage, but one thing should be said to the Cowboy veterans who delighted in spending about $2,500 per man (one estimate I heard for the 22 to 25 men who attended this dinner) as most of America struggles to pay for weekly groceries: Stop being pigs. It’s disgusting.

This comes from the same column in which Peter King discusses his three-hour meal with Texans running back Arian Foster.  People are struggling with the grocery bills and Peter King is out carousing with football players?  What a pig.

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24 Responses to Why Is This Bad?

  • It is bad because, as the Catholic Church has consistently taught, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. When one indulges in it, one is doing evil. It is still evil even if one of the side effects (unintended from the looks of it) is to create jobs.

  • I’m probably going to regret the title of the post because it doesn’t really convey the real subject matter. My beef is with the idea that the amount spent is an affront to people who are struggling economically.

  • Almost totally correct Mr. Z.

    Except the a priori is somewhat “off target.” Some of the people criticizing rich people’s spending habits are not concerned with poor people’s financial problems. Some demagogues gain power by generating envy and antipathy toward evil rich people.

    Wrath is one of the seven deadly sins, too.

  • The type of rookie hazing you described seems harmless enough so I have no problem with that. But, when the hazing turns dangerous and deadly then I do have a problem with that type of hazing.

    Rich people spending money is a good thing. When we are taxed excessively it creates a domino effect and hurts the taxpayer, which in turn impedes their ability to patronage a certain place and then that place loses profits and might be forced to layoff some employees. Excessive taxation hurts people. Money makes the world go round. The best thing that could happen to boost our economy today is for the rich to be encouraged to spend money instead of them presently being discouraged, which is causing a sluggish economy.

  • Hopefully they all gained 20 lbs of flab in one sitting so the Cowboys can continue to stink this season, right under that ridiculous jumbotron in their fancy new clown stadium. Did the columnist mention anything about the team owners/coaches/league officials/et al? Because I can assure you that plenty of them go to sleep every night on large piles of cash surrounded by many beautiful women, thanks to the revenue happily forked over by fans.

  • Also, is it truly gluttonous behavior? The bill was high not because they consumed a lot of stuff, but because the individual price of the food and drinks was ridiculously high. But Bryant is set to make $2,000,000+ this year, so it’s the equivalent to me spending $100 on a nice meal with my wife. Are we being gluttonous just because we spent a lot, but did not necessarily over-consume?

  • So now King is the champion of the little guy? I remember a few years ago King writing in his column how disgusted he was seeing people waiting overnight outside stores to get special sale prices prior to Christmas.

  • Frankly, the one time I went to Smith & Wollensky, it rather sucked (and I didn’t spend nearly that much). It doesn’t take much to run up a bill if alcoholic beverages are involved.

    If they want to blow big bucks on barely average food, that’s their business.

  • I don’t think gluttony is necessarily restricted to quantity. It can also include exhorbitantly expensive.

  • Agree with c matt. An additional problem with these gents is that I heard on NPR recently that 60% of professional football players are bankrupt 5 years after leaving the game. This in part explains why. Not wise stewards of their multi-millions.

  • So, why is it OK for football players to stimulate the economy by spending $55,000 on one meal but it’s not OK for the Clintons to spend $2 million (or $3 million or $5 million, depending on whose estimates you believe) on Chelsea’s wedding? Didn’t we have a post on TAC decrying the excess involved there? Not that I’m a big fan of the Clintons or of over the top weddings — I did agree that seemed a bit excessive — but let’s show some consistency here.

    I suppose the argument could be made that the Clinton’s “wasted taxpayer’s money” on Chelsea’s wedding because of Bill and Hillary’s current and past employment; but by that logic, all past and current government employees should take strict vows of poverty and never splurge on anything, right?

  • @Elaine

    I must have missed that post but in any case, I believe that the Clintons had the right to spend as much money as they wanted on Chelsea’s wedding. It probably helped to stimulate the economy.

  • @ Elaine

    Thank you for the link.

    While I do think that Chelsea’s wedding was extravagant I also believe that the Clintons had every right to spend their own money as they wish.

  • Was Paul the author of that Clinton wedding post? If not, I don’t quite get the consistency argument.

  • Unless, that is, writing for TAC means that you must march in lockstep with Tito (and we know just from his outlandish college football picks, alone, that that’s not the case).


  • What’s football?

  • Well, now that I looked back I see that the two posts have different authors so they do not have to be “consistent.” Still, I thought it might be interesting to notice the contrast in approaches.

  • I have actually ate at the Restaurant. The food prices are not that out of line for a quality Steak House. What people are missing is that it was not the food bill that really got him but the bottles of WINE that all the players ordered to take home that upped the bill so much LOL

  • “Unless, that is, writing for TAC means that you must march in lockstep with Tito”

    Nah, Jay, we have to march in lockstep with Elaine. 🙂

  • “We have to march in lockstep with Elaine.”

    Well, if that’s the case you all aren’t doing a very good job of it 🙂

  • Oh, I thought it was the thousand dollar shots of cognac that put the bill over the top. I stand corrected.

    To address Elaine’s point, no I didn’t write that post nor was I overly bothered by the extravagance of the wedding, though perhaps it was over the top. And again, I don’t exactly wholeheartedly approve of the lavish dinner. My question about whether or not this was a true example of gluttony was not rhetorical. I was genuinely curious, and I think I agree with most of the responses.

    I think Philip raises an interesting point. Not only are many pro football players broke shortly after retirement, but this problem plagues pro basketball players and other athletes. In fact I believe that NBA players make NFL players look like wise financial stewards. Dinners like this are just a drop in the bucket of the types of ridiculous purchases made by American professional athletes, and in fact this particular case is slightly less bothersome only because it is an exercise in hazing, not a regularly occurring incident. When Bryant buys his $30 million mansion in north Dallas, then it’s time to start flagging down a good financial advisor.

    And to repeat, the main thrust of my post is to chide Peter King for his reasons for objecting to the dinner. As someone on a tight budget, I don’t begrudge the Cowboys for having the means to go a little nuts at dinnertime. As for the prudence of such a dinner, that’s another matter.

  • This seems to rest on the idea that the choices are between spending money and not spending money. But that’s not the case.

    While I’d like to see these players utilizing their money, I’d rather see it spent in far more productive investments. The $55,000 they spent won’t lead to a lot of other growth.

    That said, when I heard this I thought it was funny rookie hazing rather than a horrible thing.

    Unless, that is, writing for TAC means that you must march in lockstep with Tito (and we know just from his outlandish college football picks, alone, that that’s not the case).

    I think at the end of the season, I’m doing a special recap of Tito’s picks.

  • In fact I believe that NBA players make NFL players look like wise financial stewards.

    The guaranteed NBA contracts make this a lot easier. If an NBA player gets hurt and can’t play at a high level, the team still has to pay his contract for the duration (see Grant Hill, Allan Houston) unless he generously decides to release the team from the obligation. In the NFL, the team only has to pay the player their salary through the end of the season, then whatever guaranteed money he is owed (much of the money in the contracts is not guaranteed). The income of an NFL player is much less stable, which makes financial planning particularly difficult for players who are injured or who play positions in which the average career is around three years (e.g. running back).

TAC Pro Football Top 10

Wednesday, September 15, AD 2010

We promised pro rankings, and here they are. I promise not to abuse my discretion as poster to unnecessarily promote the official team of all orthodox Catholics, the New Orleans Saints…

…after I post that picture. Ok, now I’m done. Maybe.

Same deal as the college ranks, though we decided that debating whether the Browns or Rams were the worst team was boring, so we limited it to the top 10. Voters are myself, Tito, and Paul Zummo. Cue the ranks!

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10 Responses to TAC Pro Football Top 10

Catholics and Professional Football

Thursday, September 2, AD 2010

As a person who has voted for a Republican, I am a fascist. As you may know, fascists want to control every aspect of people’s lives (and I don’t want to hear any fancy political science definitions to the contrary). With the college football season starting tonight and professional football starting a week from now, it is the perfect time to consider the ethical approach Catholics must take towards professional football. I have attempted this once before, but like Cassandra, no one really listened to my wise teachings. Therefore, I must witness once again by examining afresh all the professional football teams in light of Catholic teaching in order to determine whether Catholics may root for them while avoiding the fires of hell.

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37 Responses to Catholics and Professional Football

  • Hilarious Michael! My one point of concern is that I despise football, indeed all professional sports. Can I remain a fascist in good standing with that stain on my record, in spite of my voting record? I suspect that Dan McLockinload would say no.


  • That was very good. Well done, Michael.

  • Gnosticism and the Cleveland Browns? Good call, but you have only scratched the surface. I believe it goes far deeper than that, Michael, I suspect ancient secret ties between that organization and the bestselling author of anti-Catholic potboilers. I swear I saw an albino water boy hanging about the sidelines last time I watched a Browns game. Saints, beware!

  • Your comments regarding the Cowboys are Calvinist gibberish. 🙂

  • Don:

    All that is necessary to be a fascist is to condemn. Remember, we have no positive ideas of our own and are merely there to stop joy in the lives or others. Therefore, as long as you are condemning those around you, you are fine.

    Big Tex:

    Aha! You have revealed your own Calvinist leanings! For I did not mention Calvin, and the fact that you did shows your dualism and your secret adherence to his teachings!

    Donna V:

    I suspect that all of these organizations are secretly in collusion with each other as well as Islam to overthrow the Church.

  • I don’t see the point in supporting a sport that doesn’t involve Paul The Octopus.

  • Roger Stauchbach was the embodiment of Catholicism in the NFL. His most famous pass is named the “Hail Mary” because of his answer to a post-game question about what he was thinking when he threw the ball up in the air:

    “I got knocked down on the play. … I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.”

    And all subsequent last-second heaves toward the endzone have been likewise named after the most famous and widely used prayer to Our Lady.

    If the staunchly Catholic Staubach could spend his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys, and remain one of their biggest fans, then you can get over yourself and your hang-ups over God’s Team (borne purely out of jealousy over a long winning tradition vs. the Aints’ likely one-and-done history of “success”).

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  • you can get over yourself and your hang-ups over God’s Team (borne purely out of jealousy over a long winning tradition vs. the Aints’ likely one-and-done history of “success”).

    I’m not jealous. I guarantee you that the joy myself and other New Orleanians had over this one Superbowl was more than the joy of Cowboys fans for all the Cowboy’s titles put together. Also, I am not jealous of any team that has Romo as QB, for we have Brees and he is amazing, both on and off the field. So you can keep your owner who charges people to watch TV outside the stadium; give me the Who Dat Nation anyday!

  • And you still need to brush up on your history (I still haven’t forgotten that you completely bolluxed the history of “Cavaliers” and the part they played in the war against the evil Calvinists under Cromwell).

    For example, you’re right that “Vikings are celebrated pagans who pillaged innocent towns, committing unspeakable atrocities while doing so.”

    But, while you cite things that are clearly contrary to Catholic teaching, you completely MISSED that what made the Vikings truly deplorable from a Catholic perspective was that they specifically sought out Catholic monasteries for plunder and defacement and took great pleasure in desecrating Our Lord in the Eucharist.

    Countless number of monks died before the altar in attempts to defend the Body and Blood of Our Lord from the Viking hordes. That makes the Vikings the MOST unCatholic team in the NFL – shame on a Catholic boy like Brett Favre for choosing to play for them.

  • Jay:

    That’s very true, and all the more reason to not cheer for them. Unfortunately, it would have been too long if I listed all the ways in which the various teams violated Catholic principles. Indeed, I would have spent the whole day writing on the Cowboys if I had done that, not to mention would have had to spend a week writing on the glories of the Saints.

    And I haven’t forgotten my college football post, either. I will deal with your UVA Cavaliers soon enough.

  • Lions eat Christians. That’s what they did in Rome, and that’s what they do to Catholics unwary enough to slip into their trap.

    But the Detroit Lions haven’t hurt anyone in years. OK, they beat the Browns and Redskins last year, but that’s not saying much. Kinda like shooting zombies in the head, really.

    Oh, and being a Lions fan is an excellent primer in Purgatorial suffering, so I think they’re ideal for Catholics–the Last Things, and all that.

  • Before my good friend Mr. Denton gets around to “deal[ing] with [my] UVA Cavaliers”, please allow me to enlighten the readers as to the genesis of this friendly discussion. Here is a link to the post in question, in which Michael gets taken to school on English Civil War history after he first referred to “Cavaliers” as “pirates”, and then subsequently edited his post to say something that was even less coherent in regard to the name “Cavaliers”:


    Michael, my friend, whatever you have to say in your future dealings with my UVA Cavaliers, I hope that it is, unlike your previous tripe, at least grounded in reason and actual historical knowledge.


  • Dale:

    You may be interested to know that my alternate entry for the Lions was:

    “The Lions haven’t fielded a team in years, or maybe ever, so this point is moot.”

  • Good lord, Jay. That post was two years ago. I guess UVA fans don’t have anything other than grudges to fill their memories.

    I don’t even remember what I said about them being pirates. Their dress is remarkably similar to that of pirates, which is probably where the association came from. Presumably in my haste to not spend as much time on a football team that isn’t any good, I misspoke. However, once you pointed out my error I amended the post to include some research. Having found that “cavalier” was a derogatory term for those who were Catholic, I argued that it is not permissible for Catholic that support a team whose name began in order to mock Catholics for their alleged vanity and lack of manliness and virtue. Just because a name is applied to Catholics does not mean Catholics ought to embrace it.

  • Somebody take American Papist out of the blogroll.

  • Somebody take American Papist out of the blogroll.

    Wow, Jay. Why do you hate Peters so much? Are…are you one of the bloggers at Catholic Fascist?

    headline: Jay Anderson hates American Papist; Pro Ecclesia to begin major blog war with Catholic Vote Action. 😉

    In seriousness, Papist refers to what protestants believes was undue reverence to the Pope. Catholics can rightfully celebrate being associated with the pope, but not celebrate being associated with being vain girly-men, which was the connotation of cavalier.

  • Wrong, again.

    “Cavalier” refers to what Calvinist Roundheads believed was undue Catholic influence within the Stuart monarchy and its supporters. Catholics can rightfully celebrate those who proudly accepted the name “Cavalier” for themselves and fought against the heretical, genocidal Roundhead usurpers.

  • And, by the way, I DO hate Tom Peters (admittedly out of jealousy for his success).


  • I agree; I hate everyone who gets paid to blog and tweet out of pure jealousy.

    As for you assertions about cavalier, do you have a source? I have a feeling we’re on different planes here.

    Additionally, for turning a discussion about football into the English Civil War, I hate you also. 😉

  • Weren’t tigers also used on the Christians? Just asking.

  • Dale,

    but that’s not saying much. Kinda like shooting zombies in the head, really.


    I remember the day Sanders retired.

    I was doing a shift meeting with my colleague, a Lions fan, at a Wal-Mart Warehouse in front of the shift-workers and in the middle of announcements my colleague asked everyone to bow their heads in sorrow for Sanders retirement from football.

    Michael Denton,

    Your post is nothing short of Freemason gibberish with a dash of Illuminati seasoning.

    Anyone who lives south of I-10 knows full well that the best professional football is played in the SEC and not the NFL.

  • go pats!!!!!!!!! yes, i’m an addict 🙁

  • Your post is nothing short of Freemason gibberish with a dash of Illuminati seasoning.

    It’s not Illuminati; it’s more Opus Dei/Knights Templar. We New Orleanians know the best spices to season our gumbos.

    Anyone who lives south of I-10 knows full well that the best professional football is played in the SEC and not the NFL.

    It is difficult to be in Louisiana to choose between the World Champion Saints and the greatest conference in college football. Thankfully, they play on different days so that we may enjoy them both.

  • …this embrace of Gnosticism will lead many Cleveland fans to the depths of hell-where the devil will either show them “The Decision” or Cleveland Browns games on an eternal loop.

    Don’t forget “the Drive” which will be meticulously narrated by a demon with over-sized teeth and a #7.

  • Michael: Yeah, that would have worked, too. We Lions fans are eagerly awaiting the return of professional football to Detroit.

    Tito: Thanks! I mean, the Skins will wear the shame of breaking “The Streak” forever, which makes me happy as a Patriots fan.

    Pauli: There will also be slow-mo, frame-by-frame replays of “The Fumble,” narrated by a demon who impersonates John Madden’s voice.

  • You know, Jay, Roger Stauchbach was also a supporter of Catholic education. His daughter attended Ursuline Academy in Dallas in the early ’90s.

  • The Chargers were not named after an electrical device or even a charging horse–it’s worse than either. Former owner Gene Klein wrote about it in his book First Down and a Billion. The Chargers original majority owner, Barron Hilton, was starting a new credit card company in 1960 called “Carte Blanche”. The team was named for what we do with credit cards: We charge.

  • Robert K.,

    Are you serious about the “charge card” thing?

    I did some Google research and they were named “Chargers” because Mr. Hilton liked how Dodger and USC fans would yell “Charge!” during home games.

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  • Lol I couldn’t stop reading this, I was amazed that anyone could actually be this stupid.
    The saints are dirty cheap players.
    And Brees-GAG! …. I wish the vikings would break his legs.

  • Lol I couldn’t stop reading this, I was amazed that anyone could actually be this stupid.

    You don’t get sarcasm, do you.

    The saints are dirty cheap players.

    Actually the Saints have shower technology and are well paid, making them neither dirty nor cheap.

    And Brees-GAG! …. I wish the vikings would break his legs.

    How you can hate a guy like Brees is beyond me. I hope you’re a Viking fan, enjoying Brees walking around victorious tonight on his two perfectly healthy legs.

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Soccer's World Cup Gives Us Insights Into The Current State Of Politics & Religion

Wednesday, June 30, AD 2010

Every four years the sporting world, especially Europe, Africa and Latin America is held in rapt attention by soccer’s World Cup. It can tell us many things about the state of the world, from politics to culture and even religion, and that’s even before we get to the sporting angle. Now for purposes of full disclosure, my favorite sports are college football and college basketball, though having a mother who grew up in Germany has helped me gain some soccer knowledge. Many a book or intellectual statesman from Henry Kissinger on down the line have mused about soccer’s effect on the world, which seems to change each and every World Cup to reflect the sign of the times.

Unlike a relativistic world where social engineering has taken hold, it appears that sports are the world’s last venue where sheer work ethic and determination hold sway. Perhaps this is why sports are so popular in the world, especially Europe’ s social democracies. One should keep in mind that as high as the Super Bowl ratings are for US television, World Cup TV ratings for nations in the championship game are even higher. Let’s look at this World Cup to see what it can tell us about the state of the world.

Some of the political developments from the last World Cup were the rise of the African nations in the soccer world, perhaps reflecting the rise of the continent itself on political and religious grounds. Keep in mind tiny Ghana won the 20 and under World Championship last year defeating Brazil, quite an accomplishment. Also of note in the last World Cup was Germany’s rising national spirit as seen in public displays of flag waving, which had been a post World War II no-no for Deutschland.

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2 Responses to Soccer's World Cup Gives Us Insights Into The Current State Of Politics & Religion

  • I still see many european soccer players cross themselves entering the pitch, at least the Spanish players (and see how far they have gotten!).

  • Not everything that’s French is necessarily a loser; the fleur-de-lis, lowered in defeat in 1763 on this continent, is a symbol of the 2010 Superbowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

The World Cup & American Idealism

Thursday, June 17, AD 2010

If you read the comments here at TAC, no doubt you’ve seen the accusation that America suffers from a Calvinist dualism that sinisterly causes all of American conservativism’s woes like it was the Catholic Church in a Dan Brown novel. While these claims are exaggerated, there’s a bit of truth in the idea that when compared to Europe, we’re a little more dualistic.

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41 Responses to The World Cup & American Idealism

  • Heh, I’ve never thought about the American approach to sports through the lens of dualism, but you might be on to something there!

    But honestly, I can’t get terribly excited over these “soccer wars”. It’s mainly because I don’t really like sports. Of course, what kind of multilateralist would I be if I didn’t support the World Cup (!), and I do, but I just can’t get too excited about it. I certainly appreciate the game of soccer, and think it is incredibly skilful. I think the low scoring adds to the tension and excitement. I’ve always thought that the American distaste came from its culture of instant gratification, and the fact that soccer stubbornly refuses to adapt to the whims of American TV advertizers.

    But it’s not really a big deal. I can also appreciate why some people like baseball, even though it bores me to tears. I have a far less appreciation for American football and basketball, which I see as simply too “noisy” and chaotic.

  • “Scarred by the horrors of the two world wars, Europe has lost any kind of ideal and so do not push themselves towards. Instead they accept themselves and their countries as flawed and do not see anything that can be done about it. There is no hope.”

    I’m not sure I agree with this, but it sounds like a very “conservative” position to me – a rejection of modernity’s constant drive for betterment alongside a pessimism about human potential.

  • [SNORE]

    Is it over yet? Must not be, because I can still hear all that buzzing and droning in the background, interrupted by the occasional cheer whenever someone manages to kick the ball wide of the net.



    Now we need to get back to some REAL sports news like how much money LeBron James is going to make by testing the free agent market and how much money the Texas Longhorns will make now that they’ve tested the free agent market.

  • I’m not sure I agree with this, but it sounds like a very “conservative” position to me – a rejection of modernity’s constant drive for betterment alongside a pessimism about human potential.

    I’m not sure that necessarily a conservative position. For example, the Founding Fathers set up the system of checks & balances so “ambition can check ambition,” the idea being that men were not going to become virtuous and so we could attempt to build institutions to use men’s vices against each other in the hope that something resembling virtue would come out. I think both conservatives & liberals have a problem with the idea of men pursuing virtue, though they differ one where should turn then (conservatives turn to traditions, small communities at least in theory while liberals turn to larger institutions like the UN).

    I’ve always thought that the American distaste came from its culture of instant gratification, and the fact that soccer stubbornly refuses to adapt to the whims of American TV advertizers.

    Yeah, but I’m not sure soccer is that much less of an instant gratifier than say baseball (especially small ball) or hockey. It’s an interesting question though.

    The advertising idea is interesting, as I think that largely accounts for why motor racing is relegated to a regional sport.

    Anyway, I like sports as a prism to view the culture b/c whereas in politics we have our guard up, in sports our guards are down.

  • I think you need to adjust your schema to explain the wonderfully cryptic scoring of Cricket.

  • Darwin, I leave that wonderful task up to you 😉

  • I’ve always thought that the American distaste came from its culture of instant gratification, and the fact that soccer stubbornly refuses to adapt to the whims of American TV advertizers.

    Not denying that modern America (or even much of the West) is hooked on the crack of instant gratification, but I’m not so sure the distaste for soccer follows from it.

    The money from TV advertising is as corrupting as the good it brings. However, I don’t think that’s a uniquely American problem either. This story has been big for a few days.


  • Ties in the World Cup only happen in the first round.

    Part is the TV ad money, but I agree with MM that instant gratification has something to do with it. It also has to do with not understanding the game (understanding the rules is not the same as understanding the game).

    It has more to do with American exceptionalism – if we can’t be the world champions at something, then the sport sucks. Best example – when was the last time you heard of the world cup of baseball? Yeah, when we actually compete as a national in our own sport, we lose, hence very little hoopla about it. Makes us feel like the English.

    Add to the list of “paint drying” sports baseball, bowling, and even American football (run for two yards, drop a pass, run for three more, punt…repeat – about 7 seconds of actual movement interrupted by 40 seconds of standing around in a circle). Baseball has to be the worst – if you don’t understand the game. Three up, three down…repeat for 9 innings…and you have what is known as the most excting thing – a no-hitter (how a no hitter can be “exciting” but a nil-nil draw is not because of low scoring, I can’t figure out). And basketball – they should just shorten the game to one period of about 7 minutes, since the last 7 is all that matters.

  • The notion that Calvinism is “dualist” is bizarrely ahistorical and inaccurate.

  • Best example – when was the last time you heard of the world cup of baseball? Yeah, when we actually compete as a national in our own sport, we lose, hence very little hoopla about it.

    We don’t hear about it b/c none of the MLB teams are interested in letting the best players risk injury for it. They don’t care, the best players aren’t there for America, so if they don’t care why should we?

  • It has more to do with American exceptionalism – if we can’t be the world champions at something, then the sport sucks.

    You contradicted yourself with your next statement. We lose in the World Cup of Baseball (which is moderately popular), and yet I don’t see baseball losing its popularity because of it. Then again, as Michael says, we’re not necessarily sending all of our best players anyway. Also, could we “suck” (we actually don’t, at least not as much as we used to) at soccer because we’re not that interested in it, and not the other way around. After all, how can you develop a good national team when the fifth best athletes from your country are participating in it – the others all going to the other big four?

  • For me, soccer’s fine, and I admit I am following the World Cup again this time around. Then again, I find curling fascinating, so YMMV. 😉

    My one complaint with soccer is the consistent, exaggerated “flopping” to try to draw fouls (is that the right term?). Some of these guys get tapped and they go down like they took a shotgun blast to the torso. It happens in hockey, too, but you can get penalized for it there. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  • I like soccer because you can leave the game on, accomplish many household chores, and exist firmly in the confidence you did not miss anything at all noteworthy.

  • c matt,

    We’re putting a lot of weight on the idea that the low score/tie scenario is truly a reason why Americans don’t like the game. While some may remark about it, I don’t think that’s necessarily it and find the instant gratification angle connection weak at best (again, not denying that as a culture we have a problem there).

    I think the largest part is tradition. Baseball, basketball, and football are essentially American (US) and their populatrity pre-existed our population. Hockey is North American, but not from the US, yet it caught on fairly well in the northern states early on and has a significant tradition to grow from. There’s just a huge hurdle for soccer to overcome to become popular here. It just doesn’t help that it’s rather boring to watch.

    I’m with Dale on curling. Everything about it screams BORING, but somehow it’s very interesting to watch.

  • Certain Americans don’t like the game for many reasons, I venture most who don’t like it have never played it consistently or at a decent level. Surprisingly, there are many who do. De gustibus, I suppose.

    We can argue until the end of the world which is more boring, but it is unfortunately too typical that many Americans for some reason have to pick on soccer as uniquely boring when, frankly, many sports are extremely boring if you did not grow up with it and don’t fully appreciate the various nuances. (C’mon, basketball and baseball have to constantly remind us that “every game matters” because they know in a 60+ game season every game really doesn’t). You can hardly stay awake during a full regular season game, when the regular season is nothing but a seeding for the playoffs (particularly basketball, where it seems half the teams go on to post-season).

    At least in soccer (in most countries) every game does count, as it is the team with the most points (3 for win, 1 for tie, 0 for loss) at the end of the season who is the winner. Kind of like NASCAR.

    Yes, it is very much a cultural thing, and as we know, Americans are rather notorious for not being very interested in other cultures. Perhaps that is the main reason.

    BTW, many of the best players in the Major league are not, in fact, US citizens. There was a hilarious commercial not too long ago that made just that point.

  • Pretty funny MM. Looks more like Brasilian training though.

  • Anyway, getting back to the main point, I don’t even see how allowing for a tie somehow shows a lack of dualism because there is no winner. There is clearly a winner at the end of the season, as there is at the end of the cup. Europeans separate winners and losers just as much as we do, they just do it differently. In fact, you might have less dualism here because playoffs are essentially a second chance. If you make it to the playoffs, you have just as much opportunity to win it all as the top seeded team, so you really haven’t lost. Even more so in basketball and baseball, where you are playing best of whatever series, so you can lose the first game or two and still eventually move on.

    In the Euro system, the 3 points you didn’t gain at the beginning of the season b/c you tied or lost rather than won can never be made up (ask Real Madrid).

    I just don’t understand where you are getting the idea that allowing for ties to factor in somehow does not show dualism whereas the American system does.

  • After all, how can you develop a good national team when the fifth best athletes from your country are participating in it – the others all going to the other big four?

    Fair and accurate point. Others go to the big four for good reason – that’s where the money is. College scholarships and pro contracts. Can’t blame them for doing that.

  • Although I think there is a lot of skill in soccer, I do find it a little boring.

    That’s why I played a REAL game, and continue to follow it enthusiastically.

    R U G B Y 😆

  • A rather fascinating topic. Just for the record my favorite sport is college football, but I enjoy all sports, especially nationalistic affairs. I think it is a healthy release and not grounds for over the top triumphalism like some claim. I will watch World Cup Soccer and Olympic hockey far more than I will watch MLS (or any Euro soccer) and NHL for that matter. It seems like there is more passion when the nation state is involved. A rather interesting concept that when one plays for their nation (instead of money) one sees this kind of passion. This is probably why I like college football far more than I do the NFL.

    I think these team events are far more healthy than the indiviudalistic Roman specatacle that evolved from the coliseum. As far as sports being boring, it seems our modern remote control society has told us that soccer and baseball (two of the world’s more ancient sports) are somehow boring.

    However centuries ago, during the infancy of the games that became to be known baseball and soccer, they were embraced because of their excitement. Keep in mind a cricket match can go on for hours and days. Just some of my thoughts on this interesting topic.

  • Don the Kiwi:

    Two of my sons play Rugby. Both won their college club league titles – different years. The elder is a prop. The younger is fullback or wing and co-captain.

    A ruffian’s game played by gentlemen.

    Excellent game! Enjoy to watch it. Took some time to get the rules.

    I never played. My face looks like it, tho.

    You have the All Blacks. We Yanks have a ways to go.

  • Hi T.Shaw.

    ” A ruffians game played by gentlemen

    That’s maybe how it was 100 years ago in England, but most of the guys I played with and against could hardly claim that title ( gentlemen, that is – mostly ruffians). 45 years on I still carry a few scars – but with pride, of course. 😉

    Actually, the US is getting better all the time. I’ve watched them over the past few world cups, and they improve with every showing. The Rugby World Cup is being held in NZ next year, around July 2011. It’ll be quite a spectacle I expect.

    Mmmm….propping in the front row is no place for shrinking violets. I used to play open side flanker in my school days, then moved to first five-eight in late teens and early 20’s.

    Them were the days 🙂

  • Yessir Don the Kiwi,

    “Youth is wasted on the young.” Yogi Berra said that.

    Last game this Spring the old maroon (grads), my prop son, played the students, my full back son.

    Mother’s big worry was one would bust the other’s nose or any other moving part.

    Last Fall, the young guy had his nose reworked. Had it fixed, good as new. Years ago, the older guy had his nose laid out on the side of his face, and just pushed in back – blood all over the place, tho. At one tourney a doc was on the side line with a beach chair doing free sewing up work. One of the lads can’t play any longer – fluid on the brain. His cousin is still in there. One tourney – about 30 college and club teams – at Fort Drum had the ambulances running every 15 minutes.

    Once they get it in the blood . . .

    Keep the faith! And, God bless the Kiwis.

  • As little attention as soccer gets in the US, Rugby has to get even less. Heck, I spent half of “Invictus” trying to figure out how rugby was played. Soccer to me has always been known by Americans, even if we didn’t care about it. Rugby is almost nonexistent, though I do know that at the high school and collegiate level it is starting to get attention as informal inter-school competitions pop up.

    Then again, I’ve also seen inter-collegiate competitions in Quidditch, so take what you will from that.

  • What I’ve come to love about European football is that if your a fan of a team there’s almost always some competition your team or at least some of its players is involved in. You’ve got the competition for the league championship if your team is really good. If your team is really bad you have to worry about your team staying out of the bottom three spots or it gets sent down to next lower level for the next season. Also during the season each country holds a competition for all the teams in the different leagues for their national cup. So big clubs end up playing against small town teams and every year there is at least one small club that goes a long way in the tournament. If your team finishes in the top four in its league then you compete in the European Champions League against the best four teams of other nations. If your team finishes in the top seven, then there is the competition for the Europa League Championship. And then maybe some of your star players make the national team and you’ve got international competition.

    So there is lots to live for and enjoy. As opposed to growing up in or around Cleveland.

  • “When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name – He marks – not that you won or lost – but how you played the game.”

    Grantland Rice

  • As an avid soccer fan, I have some quibbles with some statements made thus far. 🙂

    Athletes and the big 4 sports… many of these so-called “best” athletes have certain attributes that are beneficial for certain sports (height, 300 lbs., or massive upper body strength) that sort of preclude them from playing the game of soccer at the highest levels. You ever see high school soccer players answer the charge from high school football players that their game is wimpy? It wasn’t pretty, if you were one of the football players. I contend that the athletes in the big 4 sports are really no better athletes than soccer players. The game requires different skills, and thus is like comparing apples, Volvos and paper.

    Re: popularity
    It’s low popularity as compared to other sports is due to many different factors. Low scores, frequent draws, not to mention that the game is relatively new to Americans. Where were we 25 years ago? It’s making more inroads with each new generation, albeit slowly.

    John Cleese adds further commentary (however, he SHOULD know the origins of the word soccer seeing that he’s English):

  • Another point… “flopping” is not unique to soccer. Basketball does it too.

  • MM: You’re right–that’s a good one! Thanks!

  • Oh, the flopping in basketball drives me crazy, and is one of the many reasons it is my least favorite of the big four sports. But even basketballers don’t act like they’ve been shot in the groin every time another player so much as breathes on them. That to me is one of the more annoying aspects of soccer,

  • As for the Cleese rant, that was actually pretty funny. But I would like to see a soccer player, oh, excuse me, footballer lineup behind the line of scrimmage just once and see how “unthinking” an NFL quarterback is. I’m sure Peyton Manning would be amused by the results.

  • Big Tex,
    Soccer? Really? And you call yourself a Texan?

    Dude, first you refer to that university down on the Colorado as “UT”, then not giving REK and Lyle the love they deserve, and now … soccer???

    I’m going to have to reassess my, up to now, very high opinion of you.


  • Oh, by the way, Gaelic Football rules!!!


  • Jay, I am very much a Texan. My cleats are right next to my boots. Moreover, soccer is very much a part of the youth athletics landscape in Dallas. Moreover, the Dallas Cup is one of the premier tournaments in the US, featuring teams from across the nation and the world.

    Sorry about bustin’ your impression of me. I hardly conform to the typical Texan stereotype. Would it shock you even more that I love jazz music? One thing I’ve learned over the years about the interwebs, is that the old adage about books and covers applies even more. 😛

    The US was robbed out of two points today.

  • “Would it shock you even more that I love jazz music?”

    Not at all. Texans have always been eclectic about their musical tastes. Bob Wills, himself, loved jazz.

    As for soccer, I’m just giving all my soccer-loving friends a bit of a hard time (especially now that soccer has officially come out of the closet).


    Besides, my kids all play it, and my 6-year-old son is (dare I brag?) a superstar at soccer. I’m just not really all that into the sport, though (not that there’s anything wrong with it).

  • One of my buddies from college always calls it a communist sport.

  • T. Shaw.

    You may be interested to know that one of our well known All Blacks from the 80’s, 1980 – 86 in fact, was a Mark Shaw, his nickname ‘Cowboy’ Shaw. He was a tall rangy hard hitting loose forward who worked in the Freezing Works (Meat Industry). You being from Texas, I thought the info was appropriate 😉

    Michael Denton.

    I believe that rugby has a fairly good following up in the US North West – also the Canadians around Vancouver have a fairly respectable team. I have a Welsh born cousin in law( the Welsh are Rugby mad, probably more so than the kiwis) who live in Vanc. and he has had many world trips as assist.manager of the Canadian team. Also, I believe that rugby has a reasonable following in Texas and a couple of the other southern states.

    Jay Anderson.

    Oh, by the way, Gaelic Football rules

    You would be a fan then of AFL – Australian Football , commonly called Aussie Rules. It is a game based on Gaelic Football, but with an oval ball, and is quite a spectacular game. It is very strong in Australia, particularly Victoria, South Australia and Western Austrslia, tho’ the other 3 states have teams in the national comp. There may even be a Kiwi Aussie rules team in the comp in a few years.

    And I think the US were robbed of a couple of points last night too. Bloody refs. 😉

  • No winners or losers in football? cough…penalty…cough…golden goal…cough…really, it is well known that in football there is always ultimately a loser and a winner..one of the most merciless sport at reminding people of that.

  • LOL, Big Tex. Way back when, I used to tease a college friend of mine who was a soccer fan by saying that soccer was a sport for “chicks and communists”.

    I remember the early days of ESPN, when they used to show Australian rules football all the time during the late-night hours. It was fun to watch.

  • Those judges at the world cup are clearly BLIND!… firstly with the germany-england game.. not to count all the other stupid decisions.

Men Need to be Men

Tuesday, June 15, AD 2010

The King’s Men is an organization for Men to (re)discover what it means to be a man, a real man, a Catholic man as well as a manly Catholic.

As men we lead and protect the family.

We need to be active in the life of the Church.

We need to learn more about our Catholic faith and much, much more.

In today’s society and culture the role of men have been degraded, feminized, or ridiculed.  Our roles as men have been degraded to eliminate ‘gender bias’ by militant secularist humanists.  We have been feminized to the point of denying our natural gifts of being a leader, provider, and protector.  And we have been ridiculed by being attacked as misogynists.

This has taken such a toll on our role as men, we have forgotten what it means to be a husband, father, and a leader in the Church.

Mark Houck and Damian Wargo of The King’s Men apostolate explain this and much more in a 35 minute segment of EWTN‘s Life on the Rock.

Part 1 of 4:

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12 Responses to Men Need to be Men

  • Pingback: Whats That Purple Building, Daddy? « The American Catholic
  • I simply don’t get Donald’s obsession with “manliness” and the military. Ain’t those two obsessions signs of fascism? That’s what I learned in my history class.

  • Why look, it’s the Catholic Anarchist who has been banned from this site, adopting the guise of “Ricky the Teenager” to call me a fascist yet again. I do have to give the Catholic Anarchist a half point on this post. His understanding of both fascism and history certainly never got past the sophomore level.

  • In all fairness, if Michael, oh , excuse me, “Ricky” really was/is an American public school student, it’s no wonder his understanding of fascism would be so flawed.

  • Fascinating… “Ricky the Teenager” and “TurnAroundDude” both share the same IP address, which originates in West Virginia…

  • Not that Michael doesn’t often have interesting things to say, but if we did ban him from commenting, shouldn’t we remove these comments? If we’re wrong, ‘Ricky’ and ‘TurnAroundDude’ can e-mail us from a legitimate e-mail address (rather than the obviously fake ones used those comments) and we can apologize for mistaking the user of that IP Address with Michael.

  • I have put the ban on the Catholic Anarchist’s ip of the day. Tito the post author can decide what he wants to do with “little Ricky’s” comment.

  • John Henry:

    There is no way I want to lose “Ricky the Teenager” from the records. It’s too funny if it is Michael I. He once made fun of me from trying to use a pseudonym (granted it was Aragorn but still…) and I’d like evidence of Ricky the teenager for posterity’s sake.

  • Fair enough, Michael D. I noticed some of Michael I.’s more outlandish posts and threads had disappeared over at VN. I suppose there is something to be said for posterity; and Ricky the Teenager is a much more original handle than Aragorn….. 😉

  • Happy to help with your record keeping!

  • Thanks Donald.

    He’s staying (at least the IP address) in the banned column.

The Importance of Sports in a Post-Modern World

Wednesday, June 9, AD 2010

In a few days the FIFA World Cup, which is one of -if not the- premier sporting events in the world, begins so I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the good of sports for those who don’t play them.

In modern sports, sometimes it’s hard to see this good. In sports today, we have college football conferences raiding each other in pursuit of the all-mighty dollar, destroying the wonderful regional nature of the game. We have Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time divas, two games away from yet another title. As Henry Karlson pointed out in a post a while ago, sports stars often find themselves in a position of privilege-both in terms of financial wealth and in terms of our excusal of their poor behavior (though I would attribute this in large part not solely to sports but also to the cult of celebrity we have today, which is another post for another day). We even had a stampede in anticipation of the World Cup.

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4 Responses to The Importance of Sports in a Post-Modern World

  • See today’s Wall Street Journal review by John Heilpern of “Soccer and Philsosphy” edited by Ted Richards.

    Most of it flew right over my head.

    Sports and Theology: When my kids were playing, I’d pray that no one was hurt; that everyone played well; and that our team won. Now, it’s a Hail Mary for every pitch Marion Rivera throws. It usually works.

  • I’m reminded of that scene in American History X when a white supremacist and a black guy bond over basketball talk. They say Sunday mornings are the most segregated time of the week but I’d say that Sunday afternoons at football stadiums are some of the most integrated places in America.

    Having said that, international sporting events have also been responsible for some hostility, sometimes violence.

  • The slogan for the World Cup in the past used to be (loosely translated) the world united around a ball. Well, it at least gets them physically together in the same place, if not necessarily united.

    I do agree though, sports do have some salutary effects on communities and individuals. Particularly team sports which impart sense of belonging, cooperation, and putting the team’s interests ahead of one’s own (apparently, Maradona has not picked up on that last one).

  • Thank you for the fantastic post. Together with the world cup coming round you’re starting to find far better posts on sports around the globe. Continue the good work please. The world wide web needs it.

The Baby and the Quarterback

Wednesday, January 27, AD 2010

My ignorance of sports is vast.  However, I believe I now have a favorite quarterback.  Focus on the Family has paid for a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl featuring former University of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam.  When Pam was pregnant with Tim she contracted amoebic dysentery.  Harsh antibiotics were administered to her to rouse her from a coma.  She was counseled to have an abortion, being warned that her baby would be stillborn or live only a few hours.  She refused to have an abortion and Tim Tebow came into the world.

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6 Responses to The Baby and the Quarterback

  • Excellent point made about the hypocrisy of the “pro-choice” protests of the Tebow commercial. Meanwhile Obama’s war against the unborn continues with his re-nomination of Dawn Johnsen to run the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Dept. Check out link at American Thinker.

  • Before you favor him too much, read about his father’s missionary work to convert the pagan (Catholic) Filipinos. That said, her certainly does deserve praise for the unjustly criticized advertisement.

  • I sincerely hope that this ad would bring hope and healing to women and not the type of condemnation and ridicule that so many have cynically come to expect. That would be the kind of thing that could truly bring people together instead of politicizing this issue and dividing us further. Anything less would be a disappointment.

  • I disagree w/ you, Donald, on the notion that his monetary value will go down because of this ad. I think he may lose one or two potential endorsements in the future, but then again, he wouldn’t want to advertise for any product whose makers support abortion or similar issues. Moreover, I think it’s likely he may just become better known because of this ad, and in a good way, attracting more attention to any team he plays for or product he endorses. Then again, it’s football, and this whole flap may have absolutely zero effect on Tebow’s pocketbook either way.

    At the very least, airing the ad during the SuperBowl, the most watched American TV event every year, will at least raise awareness of the issue and spur discussions among friends and families.

    The pro-abortion groups and supporters are on the ropes in American society and they know it, so they continue to blubber and scream that CBS should censor this ad. Culture War Notes has up a video clip from MSNBC yesterday of the presidents of NOW and a pro-life organization debating the issue. It was extremely telling to me to watch the faces of the two women as they debated–the NOW president appeared to be so obviously angry, bitter, and unpleasant that she eventually realized that wouldn’t play well on camera. She tried to force a smile, but it looked like her face just wouldn’t allow her to smile. Tells us a lot about pro-abortion beliefs and proponents, doesn’t it?

    I’m a Florida alum, and Tebow is not only the finest college football player ever to play the game (OK, I’m biased, but just ask Bobby Bowden and Tony Dungy!), but more importantly, he’s a hero and awesome role model to millions of people for his beliefs and his life, as well as his talent. Even his football rivals praise him to the skies after they get to know him personally. GO GATORS!

  • I’ll give you that he is a better role model, but he is not a better college player than inVINCEable Young was.

    I’m glad he is doing the commercial – I don’t think it will affect him much financially one way or the other. The Ben & Jerry’s crowd isn’t brimming with sports fans.

  • Oh c matt, and here I was beginning to trust your judgment w/ your good taste in BBQ, then you have to go and compare Tebow and Young! Young was one of the greats, no doubt about it (and I don’t particularly like the Horns, despite living here in TX now, although I would have loved to have seen the Gators play them last January instead of overrated Oklahoma for the nat’l championship!), but Young would rank perhaps in the top 5 or 6 players of all time at the college level. In terms of leadership, heart for the game, and even overall physicality, I have to give the edge to Tebow here, and by a comfortable margin.

    Alas, not everything that comes out of Houston is logical, including c matt’s football preferences! ;-p

Alabama Wins Mythical National Championship and Other College Football Rants

Friday, January 8, AD 2010

[Updates below]

The University of Alabama football team won the B.C.S. National Championship* or what I like to refer to as the mythical national championship for N.C.A.A. football.  Alabama beat an over rated University of Texas team 37-21 last night without having the opportunity of playing the only other undefeated team in the country, Boise State University.

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14 Responses to Alabama Wins Mythical National Championship and Other College Football Rants

  • Go BSU! Though having said that, Alabama would win.

  • Most likely, but we’ll never know.

  • Drop the BCS farce, but NO PLAYOFF! Go back to the old bowl alignment system (which, fortunately, is what the university presidents have said will happen if the BCS is ever scrapped).

  • I’m with Jay. That’s a truly conservative view. I heard on the radio that there is now a PAC to support congressional candidates who favor a bowl playoff system – sign of American decline #3,712.

  • Alabama is certainly deserving of mention as one of the top teams in the country, but without a playoff system there will always be doubt as to whether or not Alabama is truly the undisputed number one team in America.

    I’m for a playoff, and I’d love for teams like Boise State to get a chance. But Alabama is the best football team in the country, and they would whomp Boise State.


  • Okay. My suggestion is to return all the bowl games to their traditional alignment, and play them in August.

    Then do what division i, ii, and iii college football does. 16 teams. Fun. And money, money, money.

  • I’m no Bama fan, and love upsets. But Bama would have handled BSU as easily as Florida handled Cincinatti.
    And like other posters, I think the playoff idea is overrated.
    While Texas’s loss of McCoy was huge, it is pretty clear that the nation’s best team won.
    That said, it is far more likely that Texas would have taken Bama if they had had McCoy than BSU would have beaten Bama had it had the opportunity.
    There will always be ifs and buts (e.g., would Iowa have gone undefeated and displaced Texas had it not lost its QB for its only two losses — very close games to good teams?)
    Congrats to Bama for a well-earned championship.

  • Boise State would have rolled over the Tide and Bear Bryant!

    Scrap the BCS if there is no playoff system.

    At least have a 2 + 1, ie, take top two teams after bowls and have a championship.

    So revert to the old bowl system and just pick the top two teams.

    And we’ll see if the Big East gets ANY real bids after that!

  • “Craig James voted them # 7 overall”

    Somebody needs to lock Craig James up in a closet/shed. Guy’s a jerk.

  • Boise State would have rolled over the Tide and Bear Bryant!

    Quick, someone slap Tito! He’s going into hysterics, defaming the honored memory of the great Bear Bryant.

  • Tito,

    The PAC-10 went 2-5 and got owned my the Mountain West. Are you finally ready to relent on your baseless claim that it is the best conference in the country?

  • Bama barely held on to beat a QB who had thrown 26 college passes coming into the game and they gave up 50% more yards and points as Nebraska did when they shut down the Colt McCoy version. If McCoy doesn’t get hurt, Texas would have won that game.

  • Big Tex,

    Thanks for the slap.

    I think when I started reading the Vox Nova blog the devil overcame me and I lost it when I said that about Bear Bryant.

    Thank goodness I was near a Bible and quickly read Revelation. I’m out of it now.


  • Matt G.,

    The Pac-10 doesn’t recognize the existence of any conference besides the Big-10, so those scrimmages don’t count.


Football Player Flagged For His Faith After Touchdown Celebration

Wednesday, October 7, AD 2009

Most football fans can relate to scoring a touchdown.  Especially when seeing your favorite team or player score one youChris Johnson flagged for praying or celebrating too much jump up and give high-fives, chest bumps, or take shots of your favorite spirits.

Well in the NFL, or what is sometimes called the “No Fun League”, this past Sunday Chris Johnson of the Oakland Raiders went to his knees and claimed he was giving thanks to God after intercepting a pass for a touchdown.  He was immediately flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for excessive celebration.  Chris Johnson claims it was because he made a religious display while celebrating the touchdown.

I’m of a different mind when it comes to celebrating touchdowns.  The town I grew up in playing football as well as how I practice my faith I generally frown upon celebrating in the end zone.  The way I look at it is that it’s your job to score points.  I don’t chest bump my colleague each time I turn on my computer at work?!  I don’t high-five the secretary for each message she hands over to me?!

It’s your j-o-b to intercept footballs and run them back for touchdowns.

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24 Responses to Football Player Flagged For His Faith After Touchdown Celebration

  • Sounds like a bad call. Ref probably misunderstood, that’s all.

  • I don’t chest bump my colleague each time I turn on my computer at work?! I don’t high-five the secretary for each message she hands me over?!

    Thank you! This is the point I have always made. At least with the guy scoring a touchdown he has done something really significant. What really infuriates me are the guys who dance around like idiots after tackling a guy who has made a 5-yard gain. Err, what exactly are you celebrating there buddy?

    Then again, considering how few tds the Raiders will score this year, maybe the ref should have just let this one go. After all, what other than divine intervention can explain a Raider actually getting into the end zone?

  • Yeah, I agree Paul. And it is worse than simply celebrating for doing your job. A defensive player who celebrates for making a good tackle after a successful offensive play is placing his individual performance over that of his team. It is unseemly and irritating to real football fans everywhere.

    I have absolutely no problem with celebrating after a team makes a particularly good play, but it should not cross the line into taunting.

  • If you want to celebrate in the NFL it’s a called a “Super Bowl Parade”.

  • My mother, a devout Catholic from Italy, would practically foam at the mouth when athletes would credit God with their success. “So, what, God hates the Vikings?! God doesn’t care about your game!” she’d yell.

    I’ve always wanted to see someone stand up after a game and say, “I was doing great until Jesus made me fumble.” (If God is making one team win, he’s making the other lose.)

  • LOL, foam at the mouth!

    I don’t worked up about it. But I do not approve of it.

    I’m not saying it’s wrong, but the way I read about humility, what they do in the endzone does not portray what a practicing Christian should behave as.

  • I don’t know, getting on your knees and thanking God for your success in front of multitudes of people seems pretty humble to me. Though, I don’t care for over the top displays.

  • In and of itself, I see nothing wrong with an athlete publicly thanking God for giving him the opportunity and ability to make a great play. I don’t understand these practices as thanking God for favoring them or their team as such, just acknowledgements that their talents come from God and gratitude is in order.

  • Katherine B.,
    I agree completely.

  • What’s wrong with praising God? Thought America was a land where we can have freedom of Speech.

  • I’m not so sure what to make of Tito Taco’s commentary here.

    There are many examples where you might witness folks giving thanks to God in sports be it a touchdown in football or a homerun in baseball, simply because they’re genuine grateful to God or perhaps due to a certain enthusiasm that overwhelms them that very moment or maybe even both.

    Now, if Tacoboy were talking about certain folks, say rappers (in fact, one in particular), who did a rap song about God supposedly in order to glorify Him, but when he failed to win the award for it for Best Song way back when, complained like a petulant child and even arrogantly bragged that the award belonged to no one but him — that demonstrates not only a severe lack of Christian humility but also, I dare say, hypocrisy, too.

    Heck, that might also go for rappers in general who, for the most part, promote gang violence and even engdender much hatred towards white folk; yet, when they win a music award, the first one they thank *SHOCK* is God!?

  • Luiza & e.,

    So you’re telling me that each time your boss gives you a pat on the back you immediately bend to your knees in front of him and pray out loud?

  • Tito:

    There is the possibility that it might simply be for “show”, but for the most part, I would think that the person who just made the touchdown/homerun was (1) genuinely thankful for having made such an achievement within a game, (2) overcome by the exhilaration he felt at that very moment, which manifested itself in a rather ostentatious display of thanking God then, or (3) both.

    In fact, there’s a time I recall while playing basketball with some friends during free time at university, that when I made a 3-point shot from a very considerable distance; because of what I considered then to be a “miracle” shot for myself, coupled with a sense of excitement right then after I made the shot, I happened to thank God for my having made it.

  • It’s not the “praising God” that’s a problem, it’s that “for show” part.

    I went to high school with a guy who used to cross himeslf before running a track event. It wasn’t that he was particularly religious; he was of South American parentage and did it for reasons of “cultural identity.”

    In the immortal words of John Riggins:
    “When you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”

  • That quote existed long before Riggins played football. It is most commonly attributed to the Bear.

    It is plain that you never played football. Trying to discern appropriate behavior on the gridiron by analogizing to what is appropriate at the office just doesn’t work. When I win a big case, we don’t carry our managing partner or first chair litigator to the champagne, but it these types of celibrations are certainly perfectly fine for football.

  • Mike,

    Lets play logic.

    Does a heart surgeon have to have heart surgery in order to operate?

    Like I said, a Super Bowl parade is the time for such behavior.

    And yes, I played football, right tackle thank you very much.

  • It’s a GAME! They are PLAYING. Let them PLAY!

  • Bill,

    Glad to see you around here!

    I agree it’s just a game, but you have to agree to some extent that some celebrations do get out of hand.

  • You’re right: it was the Bear, not Riggo.

    This is what happens when one is married to a D.C. boy. Everything begins and ends with the Redskins, even when they’re losing.

  • Tito:

    Lets play logic…. Does a heart surgeon have to have heart surgery in order to operate?

    Is there anything the matter with a heart surgeon, after having successfully operated on a patient who had little or no chance at all making it, thanking God afterwards for quite possibly making that very operation a success?


    It’s not the ‘praising God’ that’s a problem, it’s that ‘for show’ part.

    Personally, I have great admiration for major league baseball players who actually have the guts to cross themselves during a game in spite of the fact that they might get persecuted not only by secular thugs but *SHOCK* fellow Christians who are only too happy to stone them all because of their paying witness to Christ in front of a largely anti-Christian crowd (and that would most certainly include those purportedly Christian hypocrites, too)!

  • Oh, and by the way:

    But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:33)

    In other words, there is much to be said for the Protestant notion of paying witness that, quite unfortunately, certain Catholics have been remissed at professing in public; worse, they would even stone those who actually do!

  • Tito,
    To answer your logic question, the answer is no. But before a person critizes a heart surgeon for his performance, it would certainly be helpful to have experience as a heart surgeon. And being a patient would seem to be pretty inadequate.
    Make no mistake. I cannot stand gratuitous displays of taunting and celebrations that are inordinate or, as you state, get out of hand. But spontaneous displays of joy upon accomplishment is not offensive to me; and I agree with e. that public displays of gratitude to one’s Creator are actually somewhat counter-cultural and pleasing, as long as they do not appear gratuitous and designed predominantly to bring attention to oneself. It is a matter of degree and context. I do agree that many, perhaps most, of the celebratory displays we see are unsportsmanlike and regrettable, but it just isn’t clear to me that this is an example of such. The rule was promulgated to combat unsportsmanlike taunting, and I agree with the rule; but I find it doubtful that this was such a case.

  • Mike,

    I agree about the rule.

    What I am saying is that, beyond the rule, if you want to thank God do it appropriately, not to show off.


    Stop drinking your hippie neighbors kool-ade.

  • The lord gave each of us gifts, skills, hobbies and trades to which he blessed us to be great in.

    Celebrate the achievments, honor him and shine light on great, glorious moments.

    I know there have been MANY times I have stopped dead in my tracks and Thanked the Lord and I’m betting all of you have too. The only difference is that he was on National television and we are not.

    Should all of us be flagged and fined because we weren’t in the confines of our home when we have fell to our knees in appreciation or because we bow our heads in a public restraunt?

    I am proud to honor my lord and whether it be on television or at home I am not ashamed nor am I not being humble.

    But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:33)

    Perfect example.

So… Was it a Fumble?

Monday, February 2, AD 2009

I enjoyed watching Super Bowl XLIII for the most part.  As a football fan, I tend to favor teams with quarterbacks that I like, and I like Big Ben, so I was more or less routing for the Steelers to win.  However, for the drama and story, I was also routing for Arizona, who was making its first appearance at the Super Bowl.  All in all, I was looking for a clean, exciting game.

To some extent, I got that.  Things were a little dull in the first quarter as Pittsburgh dominated, but the Cardinals got their game together to engineer a touchdown drive to make it 10 – 7, and to also shut down the Pittsburgh offense twice, the second time with an interception that seemed to guarantee at least a halftime tie.  But then Harrison managed a goal line interception when it seemed Arizona was going in for the touchdown, and he took the ball 100 yards (with time expiring) to put the Steelers up 17-7 at half.

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19 Responses to So… Was it a Fumble?

  • Yes, it was a fumble.

    In the booth, they made it sound like it was reviewed, though it didn’t seem that way. If not, it should have been, but it was most definitely a fumble.

  • It was definitely a fumble.

    And Big Ben showed nerves of steel during that glorious final drive, did he not?

    Can you tell I am a Pittsburgh native?

  • Mark — we can tell. And yes, Big Ben showed nerves of steel, not just on that last drive, but in the first quarter as well. He was absolutely astounding, nothing at all like the nervous, mistake-prone Ben we saw in Super Bowl XL. I was disappointed in one other regard, I have to admit. I thought Polamalu would have 2 interceptions, and he only came close to picking one off. But in general he did an excellent job (especially in the first half) of rendering Fitzgerald ineffective.

    I take it you enjoyed the game immensely? I hope so, for it was a fun game to watch.

  • Vastly entertaining game. Moderately interesting by halftime, but seemed to channel the energy from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s blistering, brilliant 12-minute performance. By the fourth quarter, forget the playbooks with the fancy plays. Both teams were scratching and clawing to grab the Lombardi Trophy. Other than the NBC shot clearly proving that Santonio Holmes’ feets were in bounds for the winning TD, the best closeup was of Larry Fitzgerald, whose prior pick six gave the Cards their first lead, mouthing Oh No. Slightly better than the Steelers’ James Harrison, whose 100-yard pick put the Black and Gold up front, losing his cookies and giving a savage beatdown to a Cardinals’ special teams type. Seems to be a decided improvement in the quality of Big Games. Beginning last year, when the Eli-to-Tyree connection set up the Giants’ midtown madness days later. Last night, loads of highlights. Congrats to both teams for making their Super Bowl decidedly super. With special fondness for Art Rooney- good Catholic, enlightened owner, guardian of civic treasure in Steel City. Each player has his cell phone number- in case they ever need his help. Now that’s a team worth celebrating.

  • Correction- Dan Rooney, fine Steeler owner. Clearly following the pattern set by daddy Art, horse player and fine old guy whom we hope dwells with the saints and angels in glory.

  • not a fumble; his arm was moving forward. But it was just another blown call that went the Steelers way, including the 3 personal foul calls on that one FG drive. It was eerily familiar to the last Steeler superbowl.

  • Michael, I agree greatly that there were blown calls the refs made (especially since they seemed to benefit the Steelers much more than the Cardinals). But on that drive, the face mask penalty was obvious, and the running into the place holder was obvious. You couldn’t really argue much against those, as disappointing as they were. But the roughing the passer? I thought that was a poor, poor, poor call. Still, it gave the Cardinals’ defense a chance to give us an amazing stop. In six tries, the Steelers couldn’t get it in the endzone, even after all the help they received.

    Still, was it just me, or was this a season of bad calls? Aside from Hochuli’s forgetting how to be a good referee, I remember a Dallas Cowboys game (I now don’t recall who they played), but Barber took the ball, and the defender grabbed his face mask and pulled his head almost all the way around. No call. And the announcers even made the comment, “Either he was channeling the spirit of The Exorcist, or that was a blatant face mask.” It seemed every game there was a blatant face mask that wasn’t called.

  • his arm was moving forward.

    It was, just without the football. 🙂

    I’m not a Steelers’s fan, though I was rooting for them (I almost never root for the underdog except when the Giants are it). I missed the Personal Foul calls, but thought that officiating was poor, but equally for both sides.

  • The penalty calling was so one-sided you couldn’t help but think the refs were in the pocket of Mr. Rooney. The Cardinals set a Super Bowl record for penalty yards but the Steelers had what – only 2 second-half penalties called against them? The Steelers earned the win with that last TD drive, but the Cardinals were fighting uphill the whole game against the refs.

    Even still, the difference in the game was the 10-14 point swing at the end of the 1st half when, instead of getting a field goal to tie or a go-ahead TD, Warner threw an INT that went the other way for a Pitt TD. Without that play, the Cardinals win that game. They otherwise outplayed the Steelers.

    It’s unfortunate for the Cardinals that they played such a great game and overcame such lousy officiating to nearly win the game, but lost anyway.

  • The worst call was the roughing the passer penalty against Dansby. Shouldn’t have been called. Other than that, I thought the refs got it right. The Cardinals racked up some stupid, stupid penalties. And I don’t know why Whisenhunt laid off the no-huddle after Warner shredded the Steelers for a quick six using it. Blame Whisenhunt, blame Warner for the red zone int, but the refs didn’t blow it.

    Oh, and yes, it was a fumble. 🙂

  • I’m not a blame the refs kind of guy, but I have to reiterate – and thereby take issue with my friend, Dale – that the refs blew.

  • But, despite the refs blowing overall, yes, that was a fumble at the end of the game.

  • Didn’t look like a fumble to me; his arm was moving forward and he pushed the ball out. It should have been reviewed at a minimum. If the ‘tuck rule’ wasn’t a fumble, then that shouldn’t have been.

  • Sure looked like a fumble to me. As soon as the linebacker hit his arm which was still behind his back the ball was loose. He did not have control of the ball. I can’t get over all the complaining over a game. Arizona fans where was your offense for the first three quaters of the game? You come alive for one quater and want a win???????? Quit crying and look forward to next year. Steeler fans enjoy the win. It was an entertaining game.

  • Who’s an Arizona fan? And one wonders if you were even watching the game if you believe Arizona’s offense was absent for the first 3 quarters. They dominated the 2nd quarter offensively, and Pitt’s half-time lead was due to Warner’s throwing an INT in the red zone that was returned for a TD. That’s a 10-14 point swing.

    Pitt deserved the win because they drove for the winning TD at the end of the game. They did what it took to win the game. I’m certainly not trying to take that away from them.

  • Jay, what I said was not neccessarilly meant for you. I simply saw a fumle during a game that people try to say he had control of the ball. The linebacker clearly knocked it loose. Just because his arm goes forward without control of the ball doesn’t mean it was an incomplete pass. It was a game. By where was the offense I look at it this way. Most good teams can move the ball on you between the twenty yard lines. Now how well a team protects the end zone is big.Arizona scored seven points in the first half.Where was this high powered offense????

    As good as the Arizona defense did in the game when the game was on the line Pittsburgh’s offense delivered and killed the clock. Game over.

    I just hate to see people complaing about a game when there are so many other things we could be complaining aboout that would help every one.

    It was just a game.

  • I just hate to see people complaing about a game when there are so many other things we could be complaining aboout that would help every one.

    It was just a game.

    Arguing about the wouldas and the couldas and the shouldas is part of the fun.


  • Arguing about the wouldas and the couldas and the shouldas is part of the fun.


  • you know you folks are right. I guess it is a good past time as no one is getting hurt. I enjoyed you folks comments.

    Take care.

2 Responses to It's Only A Game!