Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quoth the Raven

So, it seems as if John Harbaugh is the latest coach or athlete to overstep their boundaries.  It wasn't the first time, and it surely won't be the last time.  Harbaugh seems to be under the impression that the Patriots and Saints' Super Bowl championships deserve asterisks.  Not only is this totally an out-of-bounds statement, but he had the audacity to try to sugarcoat it by saying that his remarks spoke to the public perception of rule-breakers, not his own opinion.  I can't speak for everybody, but I know for sure I'm not one of those people that believe those titles deserve asterisks.  I also can deduce that Harbaugh actually feels that way about their titles.  If he didn't, why would he even say such a thing that could spark such a controversy?  It really annoys me when athletes or coaches say things that are controversial, then backpedal and say that's not what they really meant.  Or even worse, they apologize.  I believe that unless you say something that is just so off-the-wall that it offends a lot of people, you shouldn't apologize for it.  If you are gonna say something in the media, stick to it unless it is something that absolutely has to be apologized for.

Harbaugh has a 44-20 career record in the season.  5-4 in the playoffs.
Call me crazy, but doesn't it always seem that the coaches or athletes that make these assertions are the ones who really shouldn't be saying anything?  The Ravens have done what exactly with Harbaugh?  They've failed to live up to expectations, and have routinely gotten a pass for it.  They've had a Super Bowl caliber defense in the last four seasons, and have done nothing but come up short.  Just when you thought they would get over the hump last season after beating Pittsburgh both times and winning the division, they come up short yet again.  There has been an awful lot of trash-talking coming from Baltimore in the last few years, and there has been nothing to show for it.  Maybe a guy who has never won absolutely anything meaningful, shouldn't give his opinion on the worthiness of a Super Bowl championship.  Heck, he hasn't even been to the SB.  Certainly, Harbaugh will have many years to win himself a championship, but at this point, he shouldn't be so quick to judge other SB championships when he's failed to win one himself.

Could Harbaugh look into the eyes of any of those players that played for the Pats and Saints in those years and say what he said?  I doubt he could.  He would have to tell them why Adam Vinatieri's FGs are stained.  He would have to tell them why Brady's 4th quarter performances or the Pats' defensive performances are stained.  He would have to tell the Saints why recovering an onside kick to completely change the momentum of the game is stained.  He would have to tell Tracy Porter why his pick-six is stained.  He would have to tell those players why all of their hard work and grit for those seasons are stained.  Harbaugh knows all about the grind of an NFL season.  If you ask me, he's breaking the code of brotherhood.  He's overstepped the boundaries, and then some.  No coach should ever suggest that another franchise's hard work in winning the most coveted trophy, in this sport that we all love so much, is stained.

I'm not condoning what the Pats or Saints did.  Both teams have been punished for their violations, and I think that's enough.  Suggesting that their championships are stained or deserve asterisks, is going too far.  Those players worked too hard and religiously to earn those championships.  Let's not pretend like they are the only teams that are trying to do whatever they can to get a competitive advantage.  Let's use common sense here.  We all know every team does it in some shape or form.  We all know that there are probably teams right now getting away with violations.  Almost seemingly every year it comes out that some team broke some rules.  The Cowboys and Redskins are two other teams that come to mind.  How did their competitive advantage help them on the field?  It got them nowhere.  It takes more than a competitive advantage to win that Lombardi trophy.  Let's not pretend like we are all this naive and don't realize that many teams do what the Saints did.  Many teams did what the Pats did as well.  These two teams are just the scapegoats for something that has been going on since the NFL was at its infancy.  To pretend like what these two organizations have done is so egregious to the point that their championships should be considered tainted or deserve asterisks, is an absolute joke to me.  By this logic, I'm certain many other teams deserve asterisks as well.  Do you really think the 90s Cowboys played by all the rules?  Do you think the 80s 49ers played by all the rules?  The 70s Steelers?  All it takes is googling either of these teams in those decades to dispel the notion that their championships were squeaky clean.  No championship ever won was done squeaky clean.  The NFL is a business.  In any type of business, there will always be corruption or anyone trying to get a competitive advantage.  It's the world we live in.

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