The end of a disappointing (for them) season for the New York Jets didn’t bring an end to the shenanigans surrounding the team.  Since that time, 3rd string quarterback Greg McIlroy conducted a radio interview in which he spoke of the attitude of the team.  McIlroy, a rookie from Alabama who was on injured reserve for most of the year, said that he had never been around such a selfish group of teammates.  Now you don’t have to look far to see the irony in that statement.  It’s pretty bad when a guy who hasn’t played publicly calls out others but at least McIlroy owned his comments.  Other players on the Jets, perhaps some of the very ones McIlroy had in mind, were anonymously quoted in the New York papers questioning the leadership and work ethic of starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.

The comments, and in effect the entire Jets season, were not shocking from a team directed by Rex Ryan.  From the day he was hired as the head coach in New York, Ryan has consistently gone out of his way to court controversy and attention.  He has set the tone for his team from the start, talking about how great they were going to be before they even ran a play on the field.  It’s not much of a stretch to assume that he at least tolerates a similar attitude from his players, so it’s hardly surprsing that they would follow his lead.  Talking big is fine if you can back it up but it also suggests a me-first point of view.  If there’s no filter on the mouth or the mind when things are going well, then it stands to reason that the finger pointing is going to be fast and furious when things take a turn for the worse.

The only reason that I bring any of this up here is that it stands in stark contrast to the way that business is conducted at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.  For the past two decades, beginning with the tenure of Bob Harlan as team chairman, the Green Bay Packers have largely maintained an atmosphere of utmost professionalism.  This has been reflected down through the years with the hiring of people like Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren, Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and, yes, even Mike Sherman.  While we as fans may not always have approved or agreed with decisions made by them, all of those men set a standard of excellence that they expected to see fulfilled on the football field.

That attitude is currently fostered on the team by leaders like quarterback Aaron Rodgers and cornerback Charles Woodson; players who work hard at their craft and set a clear example for their teammates to follow.  While much of the talk in the NFL this postseason has centered on other teams like the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos and the other team in New York is running its mouth, the Packers quietly and confidently have gone about preparing to defend their title.  Even in the wake of tragedy this week with the untimely death of Michael Philbin, son of offensive coordinator Joe, there has been nary a concern that the focus of the team would get off-point.

It’s no coincidence that Green Bay has been one of the most successful franchises in the NFL.  The strong vision of all the aforementioned and others unnamed have seen to that.  Win or (heaven forbid) lose today, expect that to continue as long as people of such conviction remain in charge.

************************************************************************************************************

The most recent episode of the Packers’ Therapy podcast ( http://packerchatters.com/?p=28806  ) inexplicably featured an at length discussion regarding polarizing Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow.  Not surprsingly, both being men of faith, hosts Chris and Dave were sympathetic to Tebow’s expression of his beliefs on the field of play, equating them to the more secular touchdown celebrations of his peers.  Due to my natural cynicism, I’m inclined to take a more jaundiced view of Tebow.  Many in the past who have been as upfront about their faith as Tebow (notably televangelists) have later been exposed as hypocrites.  In my experience, if something appears too good to be true it generally is (see: Favre, Brett).  I also believe, or at the very least hope, that God has more pressing issues to worry about than the outcome of a football game.

I suspect that most of what some characterize as “Tebow hate” is simply a backlash to the attention that some media outlets have chosen to bestow upon him.  But they did say something on the PT podcast that got me to thinking,  suggesting that Tebow is less demonstrative off the field than he is on it.  I don’t follow Tebow religiously (pun intended), but if that’s true I would be more troubled about that than if the reverse were the case.

Frankly, I don’t really care what Tebow does or doesn’t do.  It’s been a long time since I was moved by the words or actions of someone I’ve never met and I can easily ignore the non-playing antics of Tebow on the field, as I tend to do with the look at me celebrations of other players.  Radio host Jim Rome says that Tim’s “Tebow-ing” is just a matter of self expression and not an attempt to call attention to himself, but isn’t that the point?  God doesn’t require an emphatic gesture to see into one’s heart or mind.  If Tebow’s only aim is to give thanks, then the simple thought should suffice.

The point is that while a football game is in effect the workplace for the players involved, it remains entertainment for the fans.  In the context of the former, it seems a little heavy-handed for Tebow to behave as he does on the field.  I may not be as specific in my faith as Tebow, yet I do believe in God.  At the same time, I don’t feel compelled to drop to my knees and point at the sky every time I accomplish a task at work.  As for the fans, it’s understandable that many would rather not be subjected to an expression of faith that they may not necessarily be in harmony with.  And by choosing something as trivial as a football game for his expressions of faith, Tebow risks undermining the very message he’s trying to convey.

***************************************************************************************************************

Just when it was beginning to look like a lost season for the University of Wisconsin basketball team, they managed to stop the bleeding with a win at Purdue.  The victory was significant in that it came at a venue where the Badgers have traditionally struggled.  Wisconsin hadn’t won at Mackey Arena since 2005 and not only broke Boilermaker’s 26 game home winning streak but their own 3 game losing streak as well, including two rare consecutive losses at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin, which has largely died by the 3-point basket this year, was aided this time by hitting 5 of their first 6 treys en route to building an early 22-4 lead.  This helped open up the passing lanes and resulted in a much more vigorous offensive approach.  Too much of this season has involved the Badgers passing the ball around the perimeter until it falls to point guard Jordan Taylor to have to create something toward the end of the shot clock.  In this game at West Lafayette, there was much more movement by Taylor’s teammates with most everyone attacking the basket.  It’s a telling stat that Taylor has averaged 18 points a game in Wisconsin’s losses, while only 12 points in the games that they have won.  That highights the importance of getting everyone involved.  Against Purdue, they also benefitted from 20 made free throws; another sign of the more aggressive approach.

The Big(12)Ten, as usual, has featured the top teams beating up on each other so that no one has been able to pull away in the standings.  The key for Wisconsin going forward will be to maintain the aggressive stance they displayed at Purdue.

RANDOM SAMPLINGS:  Wisconsin golfer Steve Stricker seems to be back on his game after after a herniated disk caused his game to suffer and had some questioning his selection to the President’s Cup team last fall.  Hawaii apparently agrees with Stricker as he won last week’s tournament in Kapalua and had the 54-hole lead at this weekend’s Sony Open before Jeff Maggert went low on Saturday to put him 4 strokes off the lead………..Bud Selig, who at 77 years old was scheduled to retire as commissioner of Major League Baseball this season, signed an extension this week to continue in his position for two more years.  Ironically Selig has proved to be much more effective as commissioner than he ever was as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers.  But, if he sticks around much longer, he’s going to make Kenesaw Mountain Landis look young by comparison………..Who knew that all Syracuse had to do to ascend to the top of the Big East was get rid of Bernie Fine?……….At least, the LSU Tigers can console themselves that the National Championship that they lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide this past Monday remains ‘mythical’………..According to ESPN football correspondent John Clayton, former Packers’ head coach Mike Sherman has emerged as a front runner for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job while current O/C Philbin is still in the running for the Miami Dolphins.  Also, it’s a fair bet that associate head coach Winston Moss and defensive backfield coach Darren Perry could soon join Reggie McKenzie in Oakland.

Thanks for reading; enjoy your Sunday.  GO PACK!!!

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • Chris

    “Inexplicable length” is something I wish I heard more often, but in a different context.

    • http://www.pocketdoppler.com BigSnakeMan

      You and me both, brother.