Week 1: It’s madness, and it’s not even March yet!
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
The saying is fitting here, although I’m certainly not trying to compare a person to a piece of garbage. The Baltimore Ravens spent all their money in the off season on their quarterback, and as a result, had to cut ties with many players. Anquan Boldin – Baltimore’s top receiver in last year’s Super Bowl – was one of those casualties. He basically got tossed out like yesterday’s bath water, as the Ravens more or less traded him for a bag of footballs and some shoulder pads (or a 6th round draft pick for those of you keeping score at home).
Funny thing is, and maybe this was just sibling rivalry here, but Boldin was traded from the elder Harbaugh’s team to the younger Harbaugh’s team in San Francisco. This past weekend, Baltimore’s receiving corp looked less than thrilling. But Boldin in his new Niners digs? Oh, he just had more than 200 yards receiving and a touchdown on 13 catches, that’s all. Looks like Jim found himself a little treasure on this one. But John does get the last laugh, as the glare from his Super Bowl ring will no doubt catch his little brother’s eye around the table at Thanksgiving.
In other news, the NFL wasted no time selecting this year’s halftime entertainment for the much bally-hooed first Super Bowl in the north – Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. So who did the NFL choose to pump up the crowd during a potential halftime blizzard? Bruno Mars. Um . . . OK?
I will be the first to admit, as someone who avoids popular music and lives with her satellite radio stuck on alternative, 80s and sports talk radio, I have no idea who Bruno Mars is. Well, I’d heard his name, but I’ve never heard any of his music. I don’t even know what he looks like. Because I really can’t judge whether or not this guy will be able to entertain the masses since I know very little about him, I still find this a curious move by the NFL marketing mavens. I’m sure we’ve all heard of Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi – two very well known Jersey boys who would each put on one spectacular halftime show. Why not choose one of them?
I’m not saying Bruno Mars is a wrong choice, I just think it’s an odd one. He might be fabulous, but his name really doesn’t resonate with many people yet. Instead of a huge announcement that blew people away, the impact of the NFL choosing Mars was more like a little puff of wind. It doesn’t matter much to me anyway, as I’m usually watching the Puppy Bowl at halftime. Or getting more chip dip. Mmm . . . dip . . . .
Also this weekend:
– We can dance, we can dance, everybody look at your hands!
Who doesn’t love a little 1980s Men Without Hats “Safety Dance” earworm on a Wednesday? Although every time I sing that line, I always want to say, “Everybody look at your PANTS.” Because pants rhymes better with dance. Hands don’t rhyme with dance. But I digress. I’m singing the SAFETY DANCE song because of all the safeties this past weekend. Get it? There were four safeties scored in four different games this weekend – three on Sunday and one Monday night. The Titans committed a safety on the opening kickoff! I’d say what a way to start the year, but they did go on to win. Jacksonville also got a safety by blocking a punt . . . and that’s where their scoring stopped. A snap went through the hands of Tampa’s Josh Freeman and then rolled out the back of the endzone to give the Jets an extra two points. And Monday night, the Eagles tackled Redskins’ runner Alfred Morris in the endzone for a safety, although that was mere child’s play to the offensive blitz and whoopin’ they put on Washington the rest of the night.
– Why you Suh mad? It wasn’t on purpose!
Detroit Lions’ Ndamukong Suh is back in the news again, after throwing a block at the knees of Vikings center John Sullivan on Sunday. It should be noted that Sullivan was well behind the play and in no danger of catching the ball carrier when Suh took his legs out from under him. There’s no mincing words here – it was dirty. And Suh is no stranger to morally questionable behavior. He’s been assessed a bevy of fines for late or objectionable hits, and he’s already been suspended once for his nationally televised Thanksgiving day stomping on a Green Bay lineman in 2011. For his actions Sunday, Suh was fined $100,000 – the largest fine ever given by the NFL for an onfield incident. Suh says he was not going for the knees but was instead trying to cut him off at the waist. With these continual infractions, Suh has to realize that he’s under a microscope for every hit he makes. I’m trying to figure out, is he a dirty player, or is he just a few sandwiches shy of a picnic? The fine is monumental, but given Suh’s history, is this really all the NFL has to say for his constant thugery? Although Suh’s hit paled in comparison to the out-of-bounds WWE-style flying clothesline hit Green Bay’s Clay Matthews unloaded on 49ers Colin Kaepernick. Where’s his fine?
– And this year’s American Idol winner is . . . oh, whoops – wrong show!
Yes, we are all pumped up for the official start of the NFL season. OK, we’ll sit through musical performances and relentless feel good promos and stories, but Thursday night’s drawn out pregame production on NBC was painful. And the final nail in the coffin – bringing Ryan Seacrest onto the field to announce the Broncos. Ryan Seacrest!! Is this New Years Rockin’ Eve or an NFL pregame? The music, I can take, but putting Seacrest on just sissified the whole thing. Even Mother Nature had enough and caused a lightning delay, which ironically prolonged the agony. I want to be entertained by football, not some hokey game-show host. As my colleague, managing editor Bubba Kapral likes to say, “It’s better to say ‘Whoa!’ than ‘Giddy up!’,” but in this case, the NFL needed to take this exuberance and dial it WAY back, and then dial it back some more.
Looking ahead to week 2 action, I predict that the AFC North will finally have some winners! That’s because they’re playing each other – Cleveland at Baltimore on Sunday and Pittsburgh at Cincinnati on Monday. Also, the Manning Overhype Bowl will take place Sunday when Peyton’s Broncos visit Eli’s Giants.
Peyton is coming off an incredible 7-TD performance, while Eli is still trying to figure out how to throw the ball down the field without throwing across his body.
The Sunday night game looks promising, as the 49ers roll in to Seattle. I just hope NBC doesn’t overdo it prior to kickoff . . . Future commissioner’s promise: there is no Ryan Seacrest in SDH’s NFL!
Hershberger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org