By Josh Kramer
Championship Game Scapegoats
How would you have liked being Billy Cundiff or Kyle Williams on Sunday? New members have joined the exclusive club that features the likes of Bill Buckner, Dan Goodale, and Steve Bartman. Okay maybe not Steve Bartman. And maybe not even Bill Buckner for that matter. But Billy Cundiff and Kyle Williams joined an exclusive club of “Choke Artists” on Sunday. Now I am a person who firmly believes that all teams win as a team, and lose as a team. It is never just one specific individuals fault. But the common fan and the media love to portray losses squarely on the shoulders of a specific individual. It is just the way our culture operates, especially in regards to sports. The blame game simplifies things. It keeps complex situations black and white. This is the beauty of scapegoating.
Many will remember the Championship Day on January 22, 2012 as the worst day in Harbaugh family history. A day where games were not won, but games were lost. However you want to spin it, people will remember Cundiff’s missed 32-yard field-goal attempt and Kyle Williams’s two unthinkable special team’s blunders. In actuality though, neither of these guys should have even been put in the positions that they found themselves in on Sunday. Sure Cundiff had a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime, but Baltimore should have already won if it wasn’t for Lee Evans having an age-old case of the butterfingers. In hindsight though, I do believe the play warranted further review. The Ravens may or may not have been robbed by the refs. Plus, Joe Flacco played a near perfect game, though he will not ever get the credit he deserves. On Sunday, Flacco’s lack of praise was thanks in large part to Lee Evans dropping a pass that would have likely given the Ravens the game. If you watch the replay closely, it appears Evans took a deep breath as if he already caught the ball before he secured it (though he may have secured it long enough). Either way, play does not stop until the whistle blows. All athletes learn that out of the womb. You want to talk about “C’mon Man” moments. Kyle Williams takes the cake. The second year wide-receiver and back-up return man will forever be remembered as the guy who blew the 2011 NFC Championship Game. But if you really think about, Williams should not have even been out there. If it was not for 49ers starter Ted Ginn Jr. going down with a knee injury against New Orleans, this whole scenario likely would not have happened. Or at least we know that Kyle Williams would not have been returning punts. In addition, San Francisco was an absymal 1 for 13 on third down conversions.
So point the finger at whomever you would like. If it wasn’t for odd scenarios or blunders by their teammates, neither Billy Cundiff nor Kyle Williams would have been the scapegoats of Championship Sunday. Ponder this question. Who would you have rather been in the locker room post-game on Sunday? Cundiff or Williams? Cundiff had to deal with Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs. Williams had to answer to NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis. Neither scenario sounds to enticing.
Who cares about football?
Florida State will forever be known as a football school. No matter what the other athletic programs or academic programs for that matter accomplish in Tallahassee, thanks to the work of Bobby Bowden among others, people will forever associate the Seminoles with football. And that is fine. Many are already extremely excited for the 2012/2013 football season. The Seminoles are widely regarded as not only the favorite in the ACC, but also as a major contender to bring home the BCS National Championship. Before people get hyped up for spring practice though, maybe Seminoles fans should begin to focus their attention on basketball, namely, their Men’s hoops squad.
It is no secret that the ACC is not nearly what it once was in regards to hoops. Sure Duke and UNC are their usual top ten selves, but after them, who else is there? With Virginia going down to Virginia Tech in a defensive struggle on Sunday, I will tell you who the team outside of Tobacco Road (North Caroline) that people should be focused on. None other than the Florida State Seminoles.
First of all I must give credit where credit is due. ESPN radio host and College Basketball specialist Doug Gottlieb prophesized this Seminoles run a long time ago. Way back in August. If you don’t believe me, read this. Over the course of a week, Florida State did not just beat one top five team, but two. In addition, one of these wins occurred on the road at a place where the home team had not lost a game since February of 2009 (45 straight).
The Seminoles are the real deal after an early season hiccup towards the end of November. This team gets the job done with great rebounding and stout defense. Nothing to flashy about it. Just old school basketball at its finest. There is no real star in the bunch, though their little known leading scorer Michael Snaer is now nationally known after he did this.
Many had already counted the Seminoles out following their three-game skid at the end of November. Now everybody wants a spot on the bandwagon. This is why you have to love college basketball. The perception of a team can take a complete 180 in just a week’s time.
RIP Joe Pa
One falsehood spoils a thousand truths. Sadly, many will remember former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno not for the thousands of good things he did during his life, but for one wrong. Despite recent events, I hope the vast majority of people don’t just remember Joe Paterno for his one monumental mistake, but also for all of the great things that he did during his wonderful life. 409 wins, 2 national championship, and thousands of graduated student-athletes that are all contributing to society in their own way sounds pretty good to me.
Say it ain’t so Serena
Seven double faults, 37 unforced errors, and a first serve percentage of just over 50% spelled the end for American Serena Williams in Melbourne. Serena Williams is 54 and 7 all time at the Australian Open since her debut in 1998. Her fourth round performance this year may have been the worst of her illustrious career, at least in Australia.
As San Diego State prepares to move their football program to the Big East, their basketball team is putting on a show on the court, as well as off the court. Enjoy this video compliments of Aztec’s player Tim Shelton, AKA “TES” (Video provided by ESPN in the Life).
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.