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Ain’t this time of year grand? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:08 PM

The 47-game touchdown pass record set by one of the National Football League’s greatest quarterbacks, Johnny Unitas, stood for 52 years, even in the era of the pass begun in 1976.
Unitas was a trend-setter in the passing game in those days, even in the days when the running game and solid defense was seemingly more stressed.
It was amazing that it took this long.
Well, one might have thought that a more “deserving” player: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Dan Marino years ago, John Elway; would have broken the mark already.
No, it took someone like the overlooked and “too-small” Drew Brees to finally do so the other night against the San Diego Chargers.
Good for him.
Other pundits have already made their statements that he is now a certified Hall-of-Famer in their eyes.
I can’t argue with that.
Others aren’t so thrilled — I won’t mention names but one is in the Hall of Fame — even calling into question that asking the NFL for suspended Saints’ head coach Sean Payton to be present when he did so was contemptible.
Others have also questioned the very fact of trying to break the record as meaningless, that it’s all about titles and rings.
Fair enough for a team game.
However, Brees has done more than his fair share of returning the Saints to respectability and led them to a world title not so long ago.
Not bad for an undersized — I thought the replays of him craning his neck to see over his linemen Sunday night were classic — quarterback.
Deservedly, the football he threw the record-breaking TD with is heading to Canton.
How long will it be before Brees follows?
On the other end of the spectrum, the Saints and Bountygate have returned to the limelight.
You just had to know that whatever decision NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made regarding that scandal, especially upholding or even coming close to it, the players were not going to take it lying down.
That’s not their nature to begin with.
Goodell continued his season-long suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma and the 4-gamer of defensive end Will Smith, while cutting Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita’s from three games to one and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove from eight to, effectively, two — once we gets signed to a contract.
You just know this will end up in court.
Not good for The League, who will be in court when the lawsuit by a number of former players regarding concussions gets its day.
In the same vein, perhaps some people — especially of the younger set — remember Alexander George “Alex” Karras only as an actor, mostly as a TV dad in Webster or a big, not-too-bright cowboy in that classic “Blazing Saddles.”
I can still remember him — in my much younger days — as a defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions when they were a pretty doggone good football team in the NFL of the 1960s and early 70s.
That era was in the days when defenses basically ruled The League, before the liberalized rules in 1976 opened up the game to what we see now; a passing fiasco.
That was also the time — and I was reminded of this by the news reports of his death this morning — that he teamed with Darris McCord, Roger Brown and Sam Williams as the Fearsome Foursome.
That was along with the Minnesota Vikings famed “Purple People Eaters” defensive line of the ageless Jim Marshall, Carl Eller, Alan Page and Gary Larsen/Doug Sutherland — I remember as a kid kidding some of the members of my family who are Six Rulers’ fans that these guys played in wheelchairs, they were so old!; the Los Angeles Rams Fearsome Foursome of Lamar Lundy, Rosie Grier (who also became an actor), Merlin Olsen (another actor) and Deacon Jones of the now-outlawed “head slap” fame — Olsen played long enough to played on another pretty good front four of Jack Youngblood (who played against the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV with a fractured leg), Fred Dryer and Larry Brooks.
The Steelers’ Steel Curtain came along in the mid-1970s, as did the Doomsday Defense of the Dallas Cowboys and the Orange Crush of the Denver Broncos.
You just don’t see those nicknames anymore; it’s hard to really be a shutdown defense as those teams were in their heydays.
Anyway, Karras suffered from — you guessed it — dementia, along with kidney disease, heart disease and stomach cancer. He is part of the NFL lawsuit by former players
Unfortunately, a lot of our — my heroes — from the days of yore are paying a heavy price for the sport they loved — and probably would do again if they had it all over.
As a Cincinnati Reds’ fan, you have to wonder if they are snake-bit.
This rotation did not have a starter miss a start all season — until Wednesday, when Johnny Cueto couldn’t go and had to be deactivated to allow Mike Leake to start Game 4 against the San Francisco Giants.
Of course, you know the story: he was terrible and the Reds offense kept wasting chances.
Now they are in a Game 5 to advance to the NL Championship Series — which never should have happened.
This offense was quite at home in a pitcher-friendly park, AT & T in San Francisco, but all of a sudden stink in their hitter-friendly park.
It is amazing, this game of baseball.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that manager Dusty Baker will come under intense scrutiny — and criticism — for leaving Leake off the post-season roster for the first round and keeping three catchers, especially if the Reds end up losing tonight.
And even if they win, they will have to take on either the Cardinals — a very tough matchup even with a full rotation — or Nationals without Cueto.
That is one reason why I do not like the designated hitter.
Game 2 of the AL Division Series between Detroit and Oakland when Tigers’ reliever Al “I knew I should have taken a left turn at” Alburquerque kissed the ball before throwing it to first on a comebacker by Yoenis Cespedes.
There are certain unwritten rules of baseball and that is definitely one of them. I don’t buy the “emotion of the moment” explanation.
If he would have had to bat, that doesn’t happen because the first pitch will be thrown at his head.
I am surprised that the first Tigers batter didn’t have that happen. Perhaps there was a warning between innings.
Oh well.
My, I had a lot to write about this week, didn’t I?

 

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