Thursday, November 11, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week 10 Notes

Winds of Change

Well, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said ‘people will suffer’ after a 38-point loss on the weekend that dropped his club to 1-7 on the season, and it wasn’t long before we knew just what he meant.

Not even 24 hours after that embarrassing defeat, coach Wade Phillips was handed his walking papers. Jones tells ESPN the in-season coaching change was something he was reluctant to do, having never done it before, but he had to do what was best for the team and the fans.

The Dallas Cowboys have won 14% of their games this season – a far cry from the Super Bowl aspirations the club had prior to the start of the season. Will that change with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett as the new coach? I’d say no, at least not until they get their starting QB healthy and ready to go. Unfortunately for them, Tony Romo will be wearing a headset and holding a clipboard for a long time, out with a broken collar bone.

Just how bad is it? Even LeBron James can’t stand to watch:

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Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw thinks Cowboys fans need to stop showing up to let Mr. Jones know that they’re unhappy. A protest of sorts against a crappy on-field product that fans are probably paying quite dearly to take part in.

I disagree with that, because while there were a few instances on Sunday where it looked like players weren’t really trying, I don’t think the team has completely given up. Losing a high-end QB hurts a lot and probably means it’ll only get worse from here on out, but until the team stops trying out there I think the fans should stand by their team.

That said, I don’t think Jerry Jones should charge full price for the rest of the season, do you? Hmm, what are tickets going for these days anyways? Lets check the website…wait, Domain For Sale?!

Home Away from Home

The Buffalo Bills dropped to 0-8 on the season with a loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday in Toronto – a loss that has some people wondering about the other TO Experiment.

Jerry Sullivan of The Buffalo News makes no bones about the fact that he hates the Bills playing in Toronto, but he thinks this weekend it actually cost them a shot at victory. Sullivan says there’s “no getting around the fact that they played a home game at a neutral site, before a crowd that was decidedly pro-Chicago.”

You’ve got to feel for this team right now. They lost back-to-back overtime decisions before this past weekend, where they came up three points short against the Bears.

Could this week be the week they get that elusive “W” though? They’re playing the 2-6 Detroit Lions, who are without starting QB Matthew Stafford. We learned this week that he could be done for the year with another shoulder injury.

That means Shawn Hill, who is coming off a broken arm, could start on Sunday. Is that an advantage for Buffalo? It could be. Then again, as linebacker Reggie Torbor told The Buffalo News, “Bad teams find ways to lose games.”

Oh, and newly acquired linebacker Shawne Merriman left practice with a leg injury on Wednesday. Greaaaaaaat.

We’re ‘Fine’ Thanks…

As the NFL hands out another $50,000 fine, league commissioner Roger Goodell is brushing aside the thought of allowing current players to chime in on the discipline process.

Last week, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (who is also the inspiration for the title of this blog, obviously) came out and said players and team officials should have a say in the punishments that are handed out in the league’s new ‘crackdown’ on dangerous hits.

First let me say this: A few weeks ago the NFL came out and said they would be skipping fines and going straight to suspensions if players were deemed guilty of a ‘dangerous’ hit, even if they were first time offenders. You know what we’ve seen since? Repeat offenders given fines by the league. Just thought I’d point out that their tough talk has amounted to nothing so far…

Now, where were we? Ah yes. Polamalu has been quite outspoken since the ‘crackdown’ was announced – one of his own teammates, James Harrison, has already been fined $100,000 this season for three hits – but his idea was dismissed this week by the commish.

Goodell says league executives and former players are already involved, adding that he isn’t even a part of the fine process.

Polamalu isn’t done yet though; he made an appearance on the T.Ocho Show on Tuesday night to discuss a variety of topics, including his thoughts on the NFL’s disciplinary process.


Polamalu brings up some good points in his challenge of Goodell, but it’ll take a lot more than that for anything to change. His comments on the impending lockout are also quite interesting – “it’s not a strike, the owners are locking us out.”

The more I hear about the NFL’s labor troubles, the more I’m convinced there won’t be football next year, at least not a full season’s worth.

Spit-Gate 2010

The NFL has decided not to fine Baltimore Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain after an alleged spit to the face of Miami’s Channing Crowder on the weekend.

Crowder, who NFL.com describes as being one of the league’s “foremost trash-talkers,” claimed that McClain spat on him as the two chirped back and fourth late in a 26-10 Baltimore win.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever been spit in my face in my life and that’s the worst thing you can do to a man as another man, spit in somebody’s face.”

Lets be honest, it’s not the worst thing you can do to somebody, but I can see why Crowder would be upset if it happened. Did it though?

The league says it has reviewed all the replays of the incident and there is “no conclusive video evidence” that they should be handing out fines or further punishment in this case.

McClain’s teammate Derrick Mason, who was called “the old guy” by Crowder in an interview during the week, was quite critical of the Dolphins smack-talker after the game.

“That’s just the sign of a guy who wants respect, but can’t get it by the way he plays, so he has to kind of chatter things up or drum something up. And it doesn’t work, he’s tried it before and it just doesn’t work. This guy’s got to learn, for one, how to play football…every time I looked up, number 52 was either on the ground or getting pushed around.”

Did McClain spit on Crowder? I guess only two guys really know. I suppose this is football’s version of soccer’s diving problem: players accusing other players of stuff that would be fairly difficult to prove. Remember at the start of the year when Shaun Smith was accused of ‘improper touching’ by two different players?

Other stuff…

The NY Jets face the Cleveland Browns this weekend – which pits Jets head coach Rex Ryan against his twin brother, Browns defensive coordinator Rob…and Rex had some fun at his brother's expense this week.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton denies rumors that the team is ‘covering up’ a knee injury to QB Drew Brees…A local radio guy though called the report “100 thousand-trillion-million percent accurate.”

The Minnesota Vikings waived receiver Randy Moss last week, but ESPN reports the team almost kept Moss and fired coach Brad Childress!

Get ready for “The Blind Side II – Blind Harder ,“ which will be coming to a theatre near you very soon…Just kidding, but there is another NFL biopic in the works.

Game to watch: The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers both have a shot at taking, or at least keeping a share of, the lead in their respective divisions when they meet up on Sunday night. Both teams are 6-2 through eight games – the Pats and Jets are tied for the AFC-East lead; the Ravens are tied with the Steelers for tops in the AFC-North. The Jets play the Browns, who just beat the Pats, and the Ravens face the Falcons. As if that wasn’t enough, keep your eye on the Minnesota/Chicago game on Sunday too because if the Vikings lose to the Bears, it might by Chilly’s last game as head coach.

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