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"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
I want to talk about NFL TV and I want to talk about turf, but with the announcement on Tuesday of the death of Washington safety Sean Taylor following a shooting incident at his home in Florida, it's hard to talk about the frivolous – even in a frivolous column – and then highlight a player's death as a by–the–way at the end. So, a serious moment to start this entry.
Sean Taylor was shot sometime on Sunday at his home in Miami. Although details are still speculative it would seem that he was confronted by an intruder, and received a gunshot that severed his femoral artery. Although his critical condition appeared to improve slightly on Monday, the former Miami University player died of his wounds early Tuesday.
This year, football and gun crime have touched upon one another on numerous occasions, from the death of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams in January, to the gun licensing charges against the Bears' Tank Johnson, to Virginia Tech's rallying around its football team after April's campus massacre, to Taylor's death. But don't look for me to brew some contrived relationship between football and violence and gun crime.
Today I read an article by one columnist who tried to connect them in the wake of Taylor's death; it was at best labored, and at worst, in bad taste. The central premise was football players and their culture to confront and intimidate. But it doesn't take a football player to investigate a noise downstairs in his own house in the dead of night. I'm 5'9" of blubbery sports columnist, but I still feel it my duty to defend my property and my family when I so much as hear the hot water pipes expand. Lord help me if I ever actually discovered an intruder.
So this isn't a football issue. This is the criminal death of a young father in his own home in a good neighborhood. Until somebody knows otherwise, there is nothing bigger to this tragedy than that. And the implications for Washington's football team aren't really the major issue right now.
From that terrible news to something a little more uplifting. Guildford Heat point guard and BBL MVP Brian Dux was today described as 'semi–conscious' and 'improving by the hour' in a press statement from the basketball club. Brian was involved in a single–car accident ten days ago, and there have been times when those connected with the Heat had braced themselves for the worst.
Brian's family rushed from Buffalo to be by his side during his fight–back. Those wishing to follow Brian's progress, or to buy tickets for a Heat v BBL All–Stars benefit game to be played December 28th, should visit www.guildfordheat.com
And so to frivolous things.
I'm proud to say that I stayed awake and hooked to every minute of Miami's fascinating splash ...er, clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I love this sort of 'extreme weather' football game (especially if I don't have to tangle with London's South West Trains to experience it), and while I have seen wetter games, I've certainly never seen anything soggier.
We still don't have consensus on what to a call the game – mud bowl, soggy bowl – but I prefer 'sponge bowl'. I've never seen a turf so deeply soaked below the surface, which in itself made for an entertaining spectacle, with every bounce–free splat of the ball. Obvious comparisons with London followed, especially by those unfortunate Dolphins beat writers who've had to witness both games.
Still, at least at Heinz Field, we know they tried to deal with it beforehand, and it won't still be that way three weeks later. And if it is, and my Steelers lose, what the heck, I'm going to find out who the last soccer team was to play there and blame them.
If you read the last installment of this column, you may recall I gave thanks for the football we enjoy over here, football that others back in the States often don't get to see. Case in point: Tonight, 1am, Sky Sports: Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers. Brett Favre against the next Brett Favre.
The only thing that could have made Favre v Romo better would have been if the Packers had followed Brett's request and signed Randy Moss in the offseason, so we could have Moss v Owens (again) simultaneously. As things stand, we get to see what many cable subscribers in the USA can't: the Packers against the Cowboys in Superbowl XVI.75 (or whatever they're calling it). Well worth staying up for, you would think.
But heavens–to–betsy, what sort of commentary was that from the NFL Network last Thursday? The reigning superbowl champions were in trouble against the lowly Atlanta Falcons, down 10–0 after one quarter, but if you heard no more than the muted recording of the crowd and the humdrum enthusiasm of the commentary team you'd have been forgiven for thinking this was a preseason game. Is that Cris Collinsworth and Bryant Gumbel again? I can't believe the NFL is sleepwalking into another year of this.
If this Thursday's game doesn't inject some voltage into their delivery, nothing will.