Grumpy Old Man Report No. 1: Bengals, Steelers kill football

during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Burfict storm: Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the middle of another rant during AFC wildcard game vs. Pittsburgh. (Getty Images)

Today begins a semi-regular feature that we’ll loosely title, “Grumpy Old Man on Sports.”

Its sole purpose is to shed a little light on how nothing today is as good as it used to be and how contemporary sport is in many ways garbage.

Of course, that brings to mind Saturday’s wildcard game between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The details of that particular contest belong more on a police report than a sports blog, but I will press on.

If there is any way to kill the monster that is the NFL, those teams provided the blueprint. But was it really football? Between the scuffles after the whistle, the cheap shots, the preening and posturing there was very little actual game being played. They held an AFC wildcard game and a prison riot broke out.

Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict provided the perfect symbolism for all that is wrong with the modern football mentality when he collected his interception inside the last two minutes and ran off the field, into the tunnel disappearing from view as if the game was done. Karma won the day, at least, when Pittsburgh prevailed on a last-gasp field goal.

Don’t blame the officials for losing control of the moment. How about demanding that the teams maintain some control of themselves? The farce was a reflection on both coaches, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis. With his team melting down, committing a pair of personal foul/unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the Steelers last, field goal drive, Lewis probably should be canned.

Here was a game that was an insult to all who watched it, a shameful production, the ultimate expression of the de-evolution of football into a “Walking Dead” battle for survival.

Just a few last grumbles, inspired by the events in Cincinnati.

Every tackle does not need to be considered an insult to one’s manhood. Just shut up, get up and run another play.

Every time you actually perform your job – be it make a tackle or acquire a first down – there is no need to break into a victory parade. Try to pretend that the seven-yard reception you just made wasn’t humanity’s greatest achievement, just edging the invention of an alphabet.

It’s called professional football. That at least implies the hint of professionalism. If accountants did their job like the Bengals and Steelers did Saturday, all ledgers would be done in crayon.

There, does that sound old and grumpy enough?

Now get off my lawn.

Reader Comments 0


Did all the good little "Smart" dawgs cheer for that Vaunted Bama defense last night?


The NFL is killing football.  Kick-off, commercial.  TD/PA, commercial.  Kick-off, another commercial.  It takes officials 5mins to review a call that we watching at home could make in 15secs.  Go to commercial.  TD?  Under review.  

Play indoors.  Play on plastic.  Helmet hits first, you're out of the game.  QB "in the grasp" flings ball to no one, incomplete.  WR catches, takes a step, tackled, ball comes out, incomplete when everyone watching knows it's a complete pass.  

Announcers who won't criticize the NFL.  Players who think the game starts and stops with them.  Pre-game tv with former players on a studio "field" 10'x12', wearing dress pants, shirts, ties lining-up to show us (God knows what.)  Games that used to start at 4p, now at 4:30p and go till 7:30p/8p.

Do yourself a favor...record the games.  As the average game has the ball in play 11.5mins, you can watch the whole game in the time it takes for Bradshaw, JJ et al wrap up what someone else wasted 3.5hrs watching.


I'm not sure about what you mean about 'Karma', both teams had the same number of unsportsmanlike/unnecessary roughness calls. 

The total penalties where, for the game, Pittsburgh 10 penalties for 142 yards, and Cincinnati 8 penalties for 79 yards - so Cincinnati played the 'cleaner' game.

The main problem with the end of this game is that the officials did not call the cheap shot against Bernard.  The defender clearly led with the top of his helmet. 

ARTICLE 8. INITIATING CONTACT WITH THE CROWN OF THE HELMET. It is a foul if a runner or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent when both players are clearly outside the tackle box (an area extending from tackle to tackle and from three yards beyond the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line). Incidental contact by the helmet of a runner or tackler against an opponent shall not be a foul.

If you watch video of the hit, it's clear that the Steelers player went head first into the Bernard.  This was not called as a penalty, and even ended up as a fumble!  The refs failure to call this play, is what directly led to Burfict justifying in his little mind hitting Brown.  Had the refs called that penalty, I don't believe Burfict would have hit Brown.


@Mashman2 I agree with everything you said except last 2 sentences. The non-call MAY have led to Burflict thinking he was justified to take cheap shots later, but his hit on Brown was still ridiculous. And criminal. Seeing his past record of fines for unnecessary roughness and the like, he should sit out an entire season with no pay. Make an example of him.


Burflict should be suspended for an entire year, but the call against Jones wasn't as straight forward.  

Pittsburgh coach Porter was not only on the field, he was inside the Bengals huddle talking smack.  He was in the Bengals huddle trying to instigate exactly what happened.  Jones is a moron, and should not have allowed it to work, but the refs, if they wanted to maintain control of the game, should have flagged Porter for being on the field.  If that had occurred, I doubt that Jones would have gotten flagged.

I don't think the fine that Porter will receive will worry him much, the game ball he reportedly was given is worth a heck of a lot more!


Nice.  I so agree with the excessive celebrations.  A celebration after a sack?  Is that not what your job requires you to do.  Act like you've been there, done that.


Just a bunch of over-paid, tattooed Neanderthals...