Man Crush of the Week: Torrey Smith
Late the night before the Ravens took on the Patriots, Torrey Smith found out his 19-year-old brother died in a motorcycle crash. After getting the call around 1 a.m., Smith returned home to Virginia to be with his family and younger siblings. No one would have thought twice if Smith decided to sit the game out, after all it’s just a football game and losing a brother is a much bigger deal. After a pregame moment of silence for his brother, he teared-up on the sidelines. But Smith decided to play and dedicate the game to his brother and his family.
And he didn’t just play. He played amazingly.
Smith finished with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. The first catch was a ridiculous diving grab in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. And then he followed it up with a touchdown grab with 4:08 left in the game. For the 23-year-old, it was a game people will talk about for a long time, similar to the Brett Favre game after his dad died, except without the whole sexting/dad jeans connotations.
Sports aren’t the most important thing in the world by any stretch. But Smith showed exactly what makes sports so great. He repeatedly cited the support from his teammates and the fans for helping him get through the tragedy.
The game alone might have been enough to earn Smith the Man Crush of the Week. But given that many people (myself included) probably couldn’t have held it together to consider playing, I’m in complete awe of Smith. I mean, if my cell phone runs out of battery my whole day is ruined. I can’t imagine what he went through and was still able to be awesome.
With such a great story coming out of the NFL, it’s hard to imagine anything dampening the love of America’s favorite sport.
Douchebag of the Week: The NFL
Oh, right. The NFL is a complete shitshow.
So the NFL is locking out the regular referees and using replacement refs. They have not been great. In fact, they have been historically bad, as in worst in professional sports history bad.
For a league so concerned with player safety (LOL) there have been a number of instances of missed calls on plays where people have been hurt. There have been all sorts of confusion on the rules. Timeouts and be gained or lost like lives in “Super Mario Brothers” for no reason whatsoever.
And after many close calls of the refs completely blowing a game, it finally happened on Monday Night Football with pretty much every sports fan watching.
Seattle’s Golden Tate went up for a ball in the end zone with no time left on the clock needing a touchdown to win. What happened next was a complete disaster. First Tate pushed off in a clear and even league-admitted offensive pass interference and then went up for the ball. The problem was that the Packers M.D. Jennings caught the ball (why he didn’t bat it down instead of going for the catch is another issue). Tate eventually put his hands on the ball, but to suggest Tate ever really had possession would be not a real thing. Two refs were right on the play, one signaling interception and touchback and the other touchdown. It was the sports version of ‘Dewey defeats Truman.’
Football fans aren’t known to be the most rational people alive but this time they had legitimate beef. Even the Packers got in on the action by going nuts on Twitter (special shout out to the now legendary T.J. Lang for his brilliant profanity-laced tweets aimed at the NFL).
The NFL is built on billing itself as the best football you can see anywhere. And it wasn’t. If you are an NFL team, you can win and not even really win. There was no authority left in the league. And who is to blame? The owners.
The refs have been bad, but they didn’t get themselves into this. Instead the old rich white guys who own the NFL teams are too busy circle jerking on their $6 billion in revenue they make to give the refs the money they were asking for. And why would they? The NFL is being talked about more than ever now. They probably loved this entire fiasco. Meanwhile it only took the fans and players going to the verge of complete mutiny to get the league to do something about it.
As far as how the NFL looks at everything from player safety to competitiveness, you know where they stand now. Wherever the money is.
Follow Scott Bolohan on Twitter: @scottbolohan