by M. Stewart
Congratulations to the East Liverpool Potters football team for beating Youngstown Cheney last night at Patterson Field 30-22. Cheney is the best 1-6 football team I've seen, and the victory brought the Potters record to 6-1, guaranteeing a winning season.
I don't like to focus on the negative after a win, but I hope to get other people's opinions on the Potters' end-of-game play-calling strategy. Let's forget the ridiculous clock management and play calling at the end of last week's Martin's Ferry game; instead, let's talk about last night.
The Potters were ahead 23-22 and had just stopped Cheney on fourth down to take possession of the ball in Cheney territory with just over two minutes left in the game. Cheney had no timeouts left. Instead of attempting to run out the clock, the Potters coaching staff decided to go for another score. Though the short drive ultimately yielded seven more points, the Potters brain trust called a run to the outside that ended with the rusher going out of bounds and stopping the clock. If that weren't bad enough, the Potters also called a timeout during that drive!
With the Potters now up by eight points, Cheney was handed a whopping 1:50 seconds to tie the game. Given the way they had been moving the ball all night, the game was by no means over. It should have been over, but thanks to the absurd play calling, it wasn't.
Fortunately, Cheney fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Potters recovered. With the score 30-22 and a little over one minute left in the game, the East Liverpool coaches decided not to have the quarterback take a few knees to protect the ball and end the game. Instead, they decided to hand the ball off to a running back, risking a fumble. Only on the final play of the game did the quarterback take a knee and run out the clock.
Those who were sitting around us in the bleachers were as confused as I was about these end-of-game tactics. Even the casual football fan knows that if you have the lead with two minutes left in the game, you do everything you can to run out the clock and protect the ball. But that's not what the Potters do. They didn't do it last night, and they didn't do it the week before against a tough Martin's Ferry team. They won both games, so in the big picture it doesn't matter, but what are they going to do in the remaining games? I know this isn't the case, but it looks like the coaches are actually trying to lose games in the closing minutes.
Can anyone out there justify these coaching decisions?
Turning to the pros, I suppose by now you have heard about the Brett Favre penis scandal. Actually, the story broke last summer just prior to the start of preseason play, but it was immediately covered up by the media and the NFL. Now that the phone messages and photographs have been released to the public, sports media and the league can no longer sweep it under the rug.
The whole thing started in 2008 when Favre was playing for the New York Jets. Audio evidence released by a "third party" and published at Deadspin.com reveals that a person who sounds exactly like Brett Favre left several messages on the phone of Jenn Sterger--a woman who worked for the Jets organization at the time--in an attempt to coerce her to join him for a good time in his hotel room.
Perhaps even worse, Favre allegedly took several pictures of his penis with his cell phone camera and sent them to Sterger's phone. These pictures are also available at Deadspin. Although Favre's face is not in the pictures, anyone familiar with his penis should be able to identify him--his wife, for instance.
To say the least, Favre is in dutch with the wife, but now that the NFL is officially investigating the allegations, he may have more than family troubles. Favre himself has decided not to discuss the matter, but imagine the embarrassment of having pictures of your penis spread all over the world, especially when your manhood is somewhat less than impressive.
The sheer stupidity of Favre's actions is hard to imagine. Is this man so dense that he doesn't know that messages and photos of this kind can be saved and used against him? As of this morning, two other women--both Jets "massage therapists"--have stepped forward with still more allegations. One says that Favre was ogling her ass during a message session. That falls into the "who cares?" category. If it's illegal to look at a woman's ass, what man isn't guilty? The other involves Favre sending text messages to a masseuse in an attempt to seduce her. He allegedly apologized to her after being told she is married, but he refused to apologize to her husband.
Aside from the humor factor, it will be interesting to see how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sees it, especially in light of the Ben Roethlisberger situation. Ben got a four-game suspension and a bunch of psychological testing for his lewd behavior, and there was no audio or photographic evidence to back it up. What will Favre get? I'm betting nothing.