Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Football ... Really?

 

October 1, 2020 | View PDF



As we find ourselves on the eve of our beloved SEC football season; will we enjoy the new sanitized product with just a handful of fans in attendance?

Major League Baseball is nearing the end of the sixty game regular season. At the time of this writing we have six games left with the Oakland Athletics having clinched the American League West. The New York Yankees, The Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins all have clinched a playoff berth. Looks like the Cleveland Indians or Houston Astros will be the sixth team for the American League.

It’s a wild ride on the National League Side, The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres have clinched in the National League West. Looks Like the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves and perhaps the Miami Marlins will be in the fight and not to forget the St Louis Cardinals. Maybe the Cincinnati Reds, who are red-hot could be the sixth team.

From my vantage point, I believe the Padres will be in this thing until the end once the playoffs begin. The Yankees would have been, but they are missing some of their big hitters and the run production has been so bad lately, if not for their pitching, they’d have no chance. While their runs scored lead the American League, most of these were produced earlier in the season, not so much down the stretch.

The NFL has finished its first two weeks, these games, with the exception of the Kansas City Chiefs, look a lot like pre-season games. However, no matter how many things have changed this year, some things are constant. Atlanta just can’t win; and the Jets, well, they are just the Jets.

I watched the much ballyhooed game between the Tampa Bay Bucs and the New Orleans Saints with not nearly as much anticipation as the hype before the game suggested. Tom Brady was not at home in the new offense that he is trying to manage, this one really looked like a scrimmage rather than a game. Not all Brady’s fault, even though coach Bruce Arians would like to have suggested as much in the post game interview. Brady looked perplexed and very frustrated in this new game plan. One that puts the quarterback in peril at times as the offense in front of him develops. In this game, Gronk looks like he might have lost a step during his one year sabbatical, and just did not perform like the go to agent of change Tom Brady has been used. The second game for the Bucs against

Carolina with Tampa coming out with a win, not so much Brady, rather a vastly improved running attack by Leonard Fournette, 8.6 yards per carry for 103 yards and a Tampa defense that was much improved with four take aways. Teddy Bridgewater for the Panthers looked good throwing the ball, except for the two interceptions which killed them.

The Patriots crushed the Miami Dolphins in week one with Cam Newton running the ball for 75 yards and 15 for 19 with 155 yards passing. I can’t remember the Patriots rushing for 200 plus yards in a long time. The Pats averaged just over 100 yards per game last year topped by a 175-yard performance against Cincinnati last season.

Week two for the Patriots against the Seahawks was a close one, with the Pats losing 35-30. Cam threw for 397, with one touchdown and one interception. He was also the leading rusher with 47 yards and two touchdowns. Cam had a chance to score from point blank range for another rushing touchdown but poor blocking and a fired up Seahawks defense stopped him.

NCAA Football, at least for the SEC starts September 26th. And by the way, the Big Ten has reconsidered its position on cancelling the season and will be playing a conference only schedule beginning October 23rd an 24th. Number 8 Auburn hosts number 23 Kentucky with an 11am kick and Alabama visits Missouri with a 6pm kick off. I think that it is important to note that there are 6 SEC Teams ranked in the top ten this week. Besides Auburn and Alabama we have Florida at number five, LSU at number six Georgia at number 4 and Texas AM at Number 10. I’ll be watching curiously to see who plays for LSU with their matchup hosting Mississippi State. Head Coach Oregon stated several days ago in an interview that almost every player has had or currently has COVID-19. Why I haven’t seen so much poor mouthing since Coach “Bear” Bryant was coaching. No disrespect, this was certainly meant as a compliment to Coach Bryant.

So far MLB has put the best product on the field of all professional sports, at least that’s my opinion. I just can’t manage watching neither a NBA game nor NASCAR. MLB worked hard on a plan before the season started, and they have stuck to that plan. While it’s a long way from what we’ve ever seen before, at least it is respectable. Why for example I was watching the Yankees get clobbered in a double header against the Orioles and I could have sworn I saw some of those cardboard placard Yankee fans with their backs turned leaving Yankee stadium.

Personally I had hoped that when the NFL got rolling this year it would entice me to really follow it and dig in. Not so much. The political and social statements the NFL and many players have adopted have soured me on the games. Like many of you, I was hoping that in the year of the pandemic, while we can’t go and watch a game, that maybe, just maybe, we would be treated to just football and only football. And not unlike the NBA with TV ratings plunging; I naturally assumed that we could count on the NFL to just play dog gone football. But no; they had to just brutalize it so that I hardly know if I am watching the NFL or the CNN News channel. Let’s just all say a collective: “Come on Man!”

Next Time …

 

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