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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The No Fun League, Continued 

King Kaufmann, my favorite sportswriter these days, sheds some light on the Randy Moss incident (and this gives me an excuse to get another dig into Peter King). From his column today:
But here's another thing about those Packers fans that's interesting, especially in light of attitudes like the one expressed by Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who wrote that fake-mooning the customers at Lambeau Field "is like mooning the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."

Really now. Well, never having covered or been to a game in Green Bay, I learned something Monday from Colts coach Tony Dungy, who said he found Moss' pretend mooning "kind of funny." Green Bay fans have a tradition of mooning the visiting team's bus after the game if the Packers win, Dungy said. Real mooning, not pantomime.

That little factoid, which certainly gives some context to Moss' gesture, went absolutely unreported by the TV talking heads Sunday. I can't believe that the Fox announcers and studio crew -- Joe Buck, Cris Collinsworth, Troy Aikman, James Brown, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw -- didn't know about this tradition.

Aside from all of them covering games there over the years and just being around people who would have experienced the mooning, Johnson lost a game in Green Bay as coach of the Cowboys in 1989 with Aikman as his quarterback. Aikman lost another game in Green Bay in 1997, and Howie Long's Raiders lost one there in 1993. Surely they have first, uh, hand knowledge of the mooning tradition. How many games do you think Peter King has covered at Lambeau over the years? And yet he wrote about Moss, "After the game, no one could figure out why he'd done it."

If that's true, then I have to lower my opinion of the collective intelligence of the press box.
Also, Kaufman's readers seem wise enough. Here are what a couple of them had to say:
Joe Haas: Joe Buck getting on his high horse over what I thought was a mild incident was more offensive to me than Moss' action. Who does Joe Buck think he is?

Jeff Alexander: I, too, was taken aback by the vehemence of Joe Buck's reaction, and it occurred to me how strange it is that Eric Barton's cheap shot on Drew Brees is only called "a stupid penalty" while a dumb gesture to the crowd by Moss is worth a sermon from Joe.

Here's my take: A guy makes a late hit to the head of a defenseless quarterback as he is falling down. As the desperation pass left Brees' hand the game -- the QB's season -- was presumably over, so even the most cynical interpretation, that Barton was trying to knock Brees out of the game, makes little sense. Rather, it was a gratuitous, cheap attempt to hurt another athlete to no purpose. But were we treated to shocked admonishment from the commentators?! No, this was seen as a tactical error, not a demonstration of the worst type of sportsmanship and underhanded play. Doesn't this strike you as weird?
Strikes me as some wise thinking all around.
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