Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dear NCAA, Stop Ruining The Game...

The Dawgs lost a close football game yesterday to LSU, and I have a bitter taste in my mouth about it. They played hard but came up just a bit short. There were mistakes, dumb penalties, missed opportunities - no doubt. LSU won and they made plays when they needed to. Although the outcome may have been the same, the manner in which the Dawgs lost was an absolute disgrace to the game of college football. When AJ Green, who is probably the best WR in the nation right now, went over a helpless LSU DB to grab the then go-ahead touchdown with 1:09 left in the game, Dawgs fans everywhere went crazy, present company included. What followed that phenomenal effort was nothing short of absurd. After Green caught the pass, his teammates ran over and jumped on him. He jumped around with them, turned to the home crowd, nodded his head and appeared to scream something. The refs decided that this was an "excessive celebration" and saddled Georgia with a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kick-off (basically meaning they kick off from the 15, instead of the 30-yard line).

Here's where the hypocrisy begins. The NCAA markets things like shirts, hats, foam fingers, towels and they make millions of dollars in college paraphernalia each year. These products are designed for fans to show their appreciation and support for their teams. They authorize the building of monstrous stadiums and allow for encouragement from players and the scoreboard operator directing fans to "get loud." Ticket prices and fan donations go up every year and now the NCAA is banning players from acknowledging these fans? Are you kidding me? AJ Green was penalized because he recognized an endzone full of UGA fans who paid their hard-earned money to come watch an exciting ballgame at Sanford Stadium. He recognized the legions of screaming fans in a tight, conference game with time expiring and his team was penalized.

These kids work so hard to get to this stage, and there's so much intensity playing in front of 100,000 screaming fans, but the NCAA wants players to act like robots. When LSU's Charles Scott scored a go-ahead touchdown run with under a minute to play, he too was whistled for an excessive celebration penalty for signaling #1 after he scored. Stop letting the refs determine the outcome of the game and let the players fight it out on the field. This is ridiculous! If a team is offended by a TD celebration, then keep that player out of the endzone.

Out of one side of its mouth, the NCAA loves to talk about the beauty, the tradition, the passion and the pageantry behind the sport. Out of the other side of its mouth they want the players to play with NO emotion. Would it be better to just have blowouts? Maybe it should be like wrestling where the outcome is pre-determined and the players just act out a script (yes, Summer wrestling has pre-determined outcomes and there's no such thing as the Easter Bunny). I need to find one of those foam fingers and shove it up the NCAA rules committee collective ass.

NCAA rules committee, I realize it's probably really difficult to sit up in your stuffy, air-conditioned offices/suites and watch these games, where you care more about what your cut from the gate is. However, in the heat of battle, emotion happens. That's a huge part of what makes sports great. Emotion. Every game provides the fans with a winner and a loser and the players, coaches, fans, waterboys, mascots, media types and yard markers know this. That battle SHOULD BE waged on the field, but your rules are killing the very thing that summons thousands of fans every Saturday (and some Tuesdays & Thursdays) to stadiums around the country. I implore you to let the result be determined by the play on the field, not on the emotions of 18-22 year old kids who are helping to pay your salary!

Good to see the Flyers off to a great start. 2-0 after two road games and Ray Emery is playing like a man possessed, though with his dark past I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's great to see these guys off to a fast start and they are getting contributions from all 4 lines. Only 80 more games!

In Other News

  • Any other fans grateful for an NFL bye week? I feel like the bye week is needed for me to have 1 Sunday where I don't sit in front of a TV watching the Birds for 3 hours.
  • As Summer and I are planning our wedding, I often think about what it would be like if I set all of my friends up in a NCAA-basketball like bracket. Who would be the 1's and who would be the 16's? Don't worry if you read this blog, you are at least a 5 seed.
  • I have taken it upon myself to challenge Darrell Solomon's reign on the peanut butter & insert your favorite ingredient here sandwich. Last week I took the peanut butter & banana sandwich to a whole nother' level by dropping dried cranberries between the banana slices. I don't do it for the glory, I do it for the love, folks.
  • There are few things I find more peaceful then when my two dogs are sleeping on the couch on either side of me.
  • Went to a very good restaurant this weekend in Atlanta called Pacci - definitely check it out.
  • Does anyone miss Mike Tyson quite like I do? There has been no one in the fight game who brings as much excitement as he did prior to or during a fight.
  • After her 3rd divorce (this one from Greg Norman), I think Chris Evertt Lloyd/Mills/Norman should be the next bachelorette.
  • Next time you don't feel like working out or you tire after 15 minutes on the treadmill, think about Ed Rousseau - this guy is amazing. He one time ran 384 miles? I don't even like to drive that far...


  1. Well played, sir...well played. Great column, Rat.

  2. I prefer honey and cinnamon between my banana and peanut butter.

  3. The abuse of the celebration penalty is what truly is in excess -- I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately it plagues more than just UGA as we had a ridiculous one called two weeks ago after a sack which would have brought up 4th down and remember, LSU got the same call 30 seconds after yours and if you had marched down the field and scored they would have had that same sick feeling in their stomachs.

    4-4 for the Flyers tonight, right after the Phils go up 2-0 baby!