Sports radio and television hosts hit the mother-lode this week with a one-two punch of the Penn State scandal and the Patriots release of Albert Haynesworth,
The two totally unrelated topics gave hosts and columnists all the subject matter they needed this week as they alternatively screamed for the (totally justified) firing of Joe Paterno and against the personnel failures of Bill Belichick. The sad thing was, if you listened to only the tone of their voices, you'd have no idea which topic was currently being discussed. Each topic was covered in the same disgusted, outraged tone.
There is nothing that sports radio hosts love more than a juicy topic on which they can take a no-lose stance, act outraged, and pontificate on. This gives them hours and days of ranting, plenty of phones calls, and all-in-all an incredibly easy period of work.
To have two such topics in the same week seems like such a waste.
I'll agree wholeheartedly that the Penn State scandal needs to be a topic of discussion. What happened down there is unspeakable, which is all the more reason it should be talked about. There are people like Jerry Sundusky out there, and apparently there are people that will enable them, and look the other way when atrocities are being committed against innocent children.
I could do without however, any kind of jokes being made about this kind of abuse. Unfortunately, some just can't help themselves. This topic is right in the wheelhouse of WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show, and overall they've done a good job on the topic. I cringed though, when I heard them discussing the Catholic Church abuse scandal and John Dennis made a joke that "They chase you around the altar and grab you by the organ." It wasn't the only attempt at humor of that type made during the week on that program. To make matters worse, Dennis' colleagues on the program laughed at the remark. I could only shake my head and wonder what they were thinking.
Moving beyond the Penn State and Haynesworth situations, there is a pretty big football game being played on Sunday night. The Patriots travel to Met Life Stadium to take on the Jets, with first place in the AFC East on the line.
The game is the first appearance for the Patriots on Sunday night football this season, and very well might be their only appearance on NBC in 2011. The December 4th contest against the Colts was originally scheduled for Sunday night, but NBC exercised their "Flex schedule" option and moved the game out. It will be played at 1:00 PM on CBS instead. Interestingly NBC has not specified what game WILL be played that night, they just have announced it WON'T be Patriots/Colts.
NBC Analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison weighed in on Jets/Patriots this week, and noted how the teams seem to be headed in two different directions right now. Dungy noted that "The Jets are catching fire at the right time. They have the type of team that could give these Patriots a lot of problems. They’re running the ball well, they’ve got some explosive receivers, and they can bring a lot of different pressure on that New England offensive line."
Harrison added "The Jets defense is starting to play with a lot more confidence. You look across-the-board they’re playing more man-to-man coverage, they’re disguising, they got outside linebackers dropping and covering, creating turnovers."
Turning their attention to the beleaguered Patriots Harrison said "It’s tough right now because you can only play with the personnel that you have. Your offense can’t score 30 points a game. You can’t expect them to, especially now that it’s starting to get cold and the ball gets affected by the wind and the temperatures and everything outside."
They also touched on the struggles of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Dungy might well have been speaking of his own experience in Indianapolis with Payton Manning when he said of Brady "I think he’s pressing because he feels like he’s got to score a lot of points. I don’t know if he has the confidence in that defense the way he used to." To which Harrison simply said "He doesn’t."
You get the feeling it could be a long night in New Jersey for the Patriots on Sunday.