Monday, October 25, 2010

The Big Uneasy

Talk about not making things easy--the SF Giants won the pennant over the Phillies in an excruciating sixth game. I'm sure it will be thrilling to see on replay but it was too brutal for me to watch entirely. Both teams left so many on base, so many opportunities and failures, along with a few key successes, and some luck. I guess I'm too old for this.

Now the Giants face the Texas Rangers in the World Series, another team with good pitching but better hitting, and again the Giants are the decided underdog. Anything can happen in this series--they could be swept, they could sweep, and everything in between.

Meanwhile, the Steelers won an uncomfortably tight game in Miami, as they move into the meat of the season, facing their toughest opponents and (not coincidentally) playing Sunday and Monday night games on national TV. The signs of this game weren't good. More than signs--they lost one of their key defensive players, defensive end Aaron Smith to what may be a season-ending and even career-ending injury. They simply haven't been able to win consistently without him for the past several seasons. He's a big loss, and the defense diminishes significantly.

Sunday's game wasn't a good one for the offensive line either, and that doesn't bode well. Big Ben still had some rust, and that can't become bad habits.

The Steelers play at New Orleans next Sunday night, and the Saints were embarrassed this Sunday by of all teams the Cleveland Browns. So the Saints are likely to play their best game, maybe above their best game, against the Steelers. This is going to be a tougher game for the Steelers than it might seem. The Saints must know that if they don't win it, their season is pretty much over.

Tracking the response and reaction to the blows to the head "controversy": the consensus among the TV commentators I heard was that players avoided such illegal hits without noticeably changing the game this week, and that avoiding those hits is good for the game. So after a week in which the contrary view got aired--that football can't survive this, that players can't figure out how to play without committing these hits--this seems now to be a firm consensus. And it is a good thing. Let's hope it continues. Bob Costas (I think it was) even made my point--that today's hitting is more violent and causes more injuries than in the past, in the 70s specifically of the Steelers great teams, and nobody can claim that wasn't football.

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