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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    PFT Ten-Pack: HOF Weekend.

    POSTED 9:27 a.m. EDT, August 7, 2006


    We watched most of the Saturday ceremony. We saw most of the Sunday night game. It was enough of both to allow us to offer up our trademark ten observations regarding the two-day extravaganza, and regarding the first NFL game on NBC this century.

    1. The Raiders Are Doing Something Right.

    Love them or hate them, there's something about the Oakland Raiders that no other professional sports franchise has ever been able to inspire among those who have been members of the organization.

    It's an unflagging loyalty demonstrated by 99 percent of the former Raiders players, especially from the golden era of silver and black football -- the 1970s and early 1980s.

    Though some might regard the organization as nothing more than a cult of personality for the guy with the parakeet pompadour, how can one relatively short, skinny man control the minds and hearts of so many large, imposing men?

    Listening to John Madden's speech in Saturday, it was obvious to us that Al Davis, who might have done many things wrong over the years, has done one thing right. He has built a "team" in the truest sense of the word, and it's an institution that will live on long after the man who got it started -- and the rest of us -- are gone.

    2. Wow.

    The "Moment" for the weekend was the unveiling of the Reggie White bust, especially for anyone who has lost a parent.

    Jeremy White's reaction to the sight of his father immortalized in bronze was a thing that we'll never forget.


    3. Madden Is Still A Goofball.

    We like John Madden, who has several million reasons to fully embrace the quirky way he talks, thinks, and acts.

    But Coach John took the whole "harmless doofis" thing to a new level this weekend by suggesting that the busts in the Hall of Fame come to lifeat night and talk. At first, we thought he was offering up the idea as sort of a whimsical, tongue-in-cheek thing, but then during an interview aired on Sunday night with Bob Costas, we got the impression that Madden actually believes it.

    And in making his case, we think that Madden actually suggested (perhaps unintentionally) that there's no afterlife for humans, but that the busts in Canton will be chewing the fat for eternity.

    Maybe John is just getting old. Or maybe he thought Toy Story was based on a true story. Regardless, there's a fine line between lovable buffoon and village idiot, and we're suddenly not quite sure which side of it Madden inhabits.

    4. Rayfield Wright's Moment In (Or Was It On?) The Sun.

    Though we found many of Rayfield Wright's statements to be inspirational and genuine, he was sweating so much during his speech that we started sweating just watching it.

    It was hot, that's for sure. And those hideous jackets that the Hall of Famers receive look thick enough to keep a guy cozy on the South Pole.

    Still, the heat coupled with Wright's awareness that he was over his allotted time seemed to make the sweating even worse. And it made his speech -- as good as it was -- flat-out discomforting to watch.

    5. The Preseason Games Still Suck.

    No matter how much we pine for pro football after the Super Bowl ends, it's very hard for us to give a crap about the preseason.

    It's awful primarily because it's not meaningful.

    That's the beauty of the NFL: The intensity that drives nearly every regular-season game. That intensity simply isn't there during the Pro Bowl or any part of the preseason, no matter how hard the TV foofs try to manufacture it.

    So, please, new Commish. Cut the preseason to two games and expand the regular season to 18. Sure, the owners will have to pay more money to the players in the form of salaries, but the revenue pie that comes from two more weeks of real football will more than offset the expenses, and it will enable all of us to spend two less weeks watching guys with NFL uniforms and helmets engaged in glorified practices sessions.

    6. "A Scratch, Not A Pick."

    During Norv Turner's presentation of Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, ESPN showed an image of former Aikman teammate Michael Irvin, who sat stoically during the second Hall of Fame celebration in which he wasn't one of the inductees.

    And after several seconds, Irvin jammed a finger into his right nostril.

    The "pick" quickly became a "scratch" -- regardless, maybe the bust of Irvin (if/when he ever gets in) should include a knuckle in its nose.

    7. New Approach to Garbage Time?

    Midway through the fourth quarter of the game between the Eagles and the Raiders, the one-on-one conversation between Al Michaels and John Madden was supplemented by comments from Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth.

    And it worked.

    We liked the give and take, especially since for the first time during his broadcasting career we saw some feistiness from Madden, specifically during his interplay with Collinsworth. The beauty of it was that, while elsewhere the acrimony is often contrived, we got the sense that the Big Guy doesn't have much patience for the smarmy non-Raider who thinks he knows everything and who uses fancy words like "hygiene" and "triangle."

    We don't know whether the folks at NBC plan to use this same device if/when the weekly offerings get to the point of non-competitiveness -- but we hope they do. Hearing Madden snipe at Collinsworth is a helluvalot more compelling than listening to Madden talk about talking busts.

    8. Great Info From Andrea Kremer.

    For some reason, the nuggets offered up by sideline reporters often don't get the same attention that officially "published" items enjoy. And for that reason, we tend to pay closer attention to these in-game reports, in the event that there's something that our readers might find interesting.

    Andrea Kremer had a great one in her NBC debut, even though she arguably underplayed its significance. During the second half, Kremer explained that she had spoken to an owner regarding the Commissioner selection process, and she said that there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the manner in which the search committee has set the table for the presumed coronation of Roger Goodell.

    If there is such a feeling among enough of the owners, things could get interesting in Chicago.

    Indeed, Kremer says that Goodell has 15-to-17 of the 22 votes necessary to secure his promotion. The question, then, is whether Goodell can get the remaining 5-to-7 "ayes" before 5-to-7 of the owners currently in the Goodell camp are successfully lobbied by another owner, for another candidate.

    9. Extreme Makeover: Zebra Edition.

    We're still not sure what to make of the new referee uniforms. The jerseys are a little too flashy for our liking, but we think that the overriding goal of the NFL was to differentiate its officials from the zebras at the other levels of the sport.

    The move also makes it easier for the trademark-obsessed league to prevent images of NFL officials to be used in television commercials or other for-profit ventures that don't enhance the profit for the 32 owners.

    Case in point -- the Miller Lite commercials from a couple of years ago, in which officials blew the whistle on a variety of idiotic beer-related offenses. If there's a new version of such commercials using the new NFL jerseys, our guess is that the folks at Covington & Burling will instantly pull the cord on the litigation lawn mower.

    10. Time To Consider Something Radical.

    Okay, we're not quite venturing into "talking bronze busts" territory, but the concept we're about to float will likely be met with scoffs by many.

    The Hall of Fame induction ceremony should be held somewhere other than Canton.

    Yeah, there are plenty of the perfunctory "attaboys" and other accolades thrown in the direction of the town in Ohio where the Hall has been headquartered since its inception, but if the llocals can't pack a full house into a relatively small stadium for the induction of greats like Aikman, Moon, White, Carson, Madden, and Wright, then someone else should host the thing.

    Our suggestion? Pick an NFL stadium every year for the induction ceremony and the game based on the class of new members. This year, for example, there would have been a full house in Green Bay, or in Dallas.

    Alternatively, do it indoors, where the air conditioning will make the speeches more bearable and spotlights and other gimmicks can be used to spice up the happenings. Also, the empty seats -- to the extent there are any -- would be less noticeable.

    Another possibility in this regard would be to have separate ceremonies in different cities for each inductee, with the baton passed from place to place for the televised event. Admission could be charged at each place, and the net proceeds could be donated to the United Way or some other charity.

    And while we're in the process of screwing with tradition, we're compelled to mention that we've been to the Hall of Fame and, frankly, it doesn't inspire the kind of awe that it should. Apart from the room with the talking busts, the place simply doesn't do justice to the sport or to the people that it honors. We think a new one should be built, possibly in a city other than Canton.

    We got nothing against Canton. But the sport that has become America's real pastime over the past 20 years deserves a Hall of Fame, and a Hall of Fame induction ceremony, that adequately reflects the value of the NFL and its players.

    Currently, neither the Hall nor the event meet that standard.

  2. #2
    BadlandsVikings's Avatar
    BadlandsVikings is offline Jersey Retired
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    Apr 2006

    Re: PFT Ten-Pack: HOF Weekend.

    I watched the whole thing, I have no clue why. I've always respectd Madden, but he's getting a little senile. Grandpa Al belongs in a home. There were too many Packers fans there. I've always thought Sara White was hot.

  3. #3
    Prophet Guest

    Re: PFT Ten-Pack: HOF Weekend.

    That whole spield when Madden went off about the statues talking to each other was kind of scary. He didn't just do it in passing, he kept elaborating on it. I guess he looks forward to living an eternity as a bronze skull.

  4. #4
    BloodyHorns82's Avatar
    BloodyHorns82 is offline Jersey Retired Feed The Frog Champion
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    Jun 2006

    Re: PFT Ten-Pack: HOF Weekend.

    I think Madden took one too many hits. He's half way off his rocker, and now the legs are falling off.

  5. #5
    BadlandsVikings's Avatar
    BadlandsVikings is offline Jersey Retired
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    Apr 2006

    Re: PFT Ten-Pack: HOF Weekend.

    "Prophet" wrote:
    That whole spield when Madden went off about the statues talking to each other was kind of scary. He didn't just do it in passing, he kept elaborating on it. I guess he looks forward to living an eternity as a bronze skull.
    Even last night he was telling Bob Costas that the heads play football together too. :roll:

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