"I'm tired of the field-goal team marching out onto the field to kick a field goal."
-- Herman Edwards
Hero is a dangerous word. Use it too often, even in relevant situations, and it loses its meaning. Throw it around the sports landscape too freely and you've got a double problem: meaninglessness and absurdity.
But every so often, we can trot out the word with the sureness of the newly-cowed Rich Gannon going down in the pocket. We can look at the 49ers and see how their four scoring drives accumulated 12 whole points on Sunday and say, "This is a team that can't even lose with its boots on." We can look at another overtime game decided by a first-down field goal from a hyperactive non-combatant and say, "They can't feel good about that."
|This might be more embarrassing than an 0-3 start.|
Then we can look at one man, one man with the guts to stare directly into the face of three sure points and choose instead to throw a pass to a 289-pound man who spends entire afternoons suffering the indignity of having another man's hands on his rear. And we can take a sharp step backward, snap our heels together and raise a crisp salute while we think of those three words:
Herman Edwards, hero.
This Week's List
Why oh why can't our antisocial employees adopt a uniform code of criminal behavior?: The Raiders would like to know why Sebastian Janikowski can't find another outlet for his aggressions, like picking out an expendable teammate and breaking his face with a sucker punch.
Or, barring that: Can't you just get drunk and stupid and leave the "fight" part out of it?
Go ahead, laugh at Rickey, ridicule Rickey, talk about Rickey just being Rickey, but know this -- on this issue, Rickey is right: Asked about Barry Bonds' inexorable move toward surpassing his walk record, Rickey Henderson said, "I had to work for my walks. It's totally different. I'll always think mine is a lot more special than the power hitters'. If Barry had to work his count because they didn't want him on, then it would be different."
If you, like me, saw a man walking through your town Monday morning wearing an authentic Rick Mirer Seahawks jersey, which of the following conclusions would you reach?: 1.) Man knows Monday morning is prime time for nabbing rejects from dumpster behind Goodwill store; 2.) Janikowski jersey is in the wash; 3.) On the day after Seattle goes to 3-0, man displays subtle sense of irony honed by years of being a Seahawk fan.
Call it Garcia's First Law of Football Compatibility: The more Terrell Owens cries about not getting the ball, the less likely he is to get it.
Let the controversy continue: Marshall Faulk broke his left hand, opening a spot for Kurt Warner.
Thought it was a joke, maybe a forgotten Saturday Night Live skit, but no: It was "World Softball League Today" on Fox SportsNet, with a woman from Beaumont, Texas, saying, "The women play a lot harder than they're given credit for."
So, the answer is yes: The perception of disrespect is universal in the sporting world.
The way it looks from here, blaming baseball for this incident is kind of like blaming a shooting outside a bar on a particular brand of beer: Two fans got into an argument outside Dodger Stadium on Friday night. One shot and killed the other. And before you know it, the knees are jerking and everybody's wondering how we can put so much emphasis on sports that it costs someone his life.
Welcome back to "Fun With Math," a college-level course aimed at proving that you really didn't see what you thought you saw; and if you did, it didn't mean anything, anyway: Oregon (4-0) beats Michigan (3-1) on Saturday, then finds out it's still ranked below the Wolverines by a good five spots in the latest poll.
Look, we're going to say this re-ee-al slow, so's you don't have to go asking us again: Aside from Ohio State's win over Washington, the Pac-10 has proved itself far superior to the Big Ten this season.
Just for the heck of it: Bob Coluccio.
... and in the consolation game: It's the White Sox against the Mariners.
Don't feel bad; it kind of sneaked up on me, too: Michael Young, Rangers, a 200-hit season.
Damn, for the rest of us, the biggest worry in college is figuring out how to rotate three shirts and two pairs of pants: Notre Dame quarterback Carlyle Holiday has spawned a hot-selling T-shirt that claims "The Holiday is Over."
Well, that settles it: Chiefs-Seahawks Super Bowl.
And finally, at least they could have come up with a more pertinent description of the crime, something like "complete and utter disdain for anyone who has ever called a pitch thrown by a Brave a ball": Bobby Cox, suspended two games for "prolonged arguing."
Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.