Don't forget about Friday's mailbag. From the "Mama McNabb stage here at the Al Davis Studio," here we go...
Excessive excessive celebration calling
On his 18th birthday on Saturday, Matt Owens lived the dream. The senior quarterback of his high school football team, Owens ran for a long TD late in the fourth quarter for the winning score of the Massachusetts state championship game. As the goal line became visible and the outcome was becoming clear, Owens raised his left hand for about 7 yards of his run before finishing heading into the end zone.
The dream, however, became a nightmare. The referees called Owens for excessive celebration and the flag negated the TD. Owens and his teammates lost 16-14. Here's the video (Mass. title lost when QB celebrates winning TD).
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association issued a statement about the rules and the interpretation and the learning experience that is available here and the fact that the other team's win is being "tarnished" by the hubbub of Owens' situation. Here is the statement MIAA issued to ESPN (MIAA statement on D4A Super Bowl).
The MIAA can have its say, of course, and the 5-at-10 can have ours. And we clearly and openly say shame on the referee, the MIAA and everyone who believes the letter of the law is better more important than right and wrong or even justice being served.
Hey, blame the NFL receivers who celebrate after getting 8 yards and a first down or the safety who thumps his chest after making a tackle 18 yards down field — when their team is getting beat by three touchdowns. Blame the "Me-first" approach that has made travel ball, AAU teams, et al., more important than high school seasons. Blame coaches at any level who not only condone players showing out on the field or in practice but do a fair amount of theatrics on the sideline themselves.
But to turn what should have been the single biggest highlight/memory of Matt Owens' life into a something he'll never forget for all the wrong reasons is tragic. And it's only made worse by the ridiculousness of the claim, "It's a teachable moment." What's the lesson: Don't get excited? Don't show emotion? Don't embrace happiness or success or life's good times?
Stop. This was a blown call and a river of excuses and rationalizations. The fact that it was a point of emphasis from the start of the season and how the proper procedure was followed is all well and good. It's also semantics.
Watch the video, this is barely a celebration, and considering the moment, is light years from "excessive" celebration. And to go one step further, considering the moment and the stakes and the magnitude of this play, Owens' brief arm raise is more sportsman-like than unsportsman.
Are we really to this point? The Sharpies and cell phone calls that created laughable and circus-like choreography has begat flips into the end zone and posing on logos has begat over-energized, self-serving attention-getting antics for routine plays. And hey, if you want to stop that, fine and best of luck.
But to encourage a process that appears to be aimed at taking the passion and joy and excitement out of sports — especially high school sports — is downright laughable and is bordering on insane.
Rules are made and adopt with the expectation that the players and coaches follow them. This rule — as signified by this enforcement and the MIAA's backing of it — is obviously prepared to prevent embracing the uncontrollable joy that is fulfilling a lifetime dream of scoring a state-championship winning touchdown. And if that's even acceptable under this rule, then which is more excessive, the rule or the violation.
Congrats Matt Owens, and hope you enjoyed your birthday — without celebrating excessively like blowing out candles or something.
New Miami Marlins Jose Reyes puts on a team cap during a news conference at the Major League Baseball 2011 Winter Meetings in Dallas, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. The Marlins unveiled the newly signed free-agent shortstop Reyes. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Hey Marlins, we going to need some credit checks
The Miami Marlins have added Jose Reyes. You know this.
They have added left-handed ace Mark Buerhle (who is a sneaky good 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA in a career spent in the AL). You know this too.
Now they are among the front-runners for left CJ Wilson. If the Yankees were making these moves — and they have made very similar moves in years past — everyone from Buster Olney to Buster Brown would be crying that the Evil Empire is ruining baseball. Now, because it's the Marlins, not so much.
But know these four things from the baseball meetings:
— Now that the Marlins have backed off Albert Pujols, here's hoping he stays in St. Louis and gets to end his career there. That's how it should be. (And if he needs any advice, think Tom Glavine doesn't wish he had stayed in the A-T-L for a little less coin?)
— Johnny Braves Fan has to be worried about the Marlins now. If they add Wilson, to Buerhle and a healthy Josh Johnson, that's a nasty 1-2-3.
— Bobby Valentine tried to embrace himself to Red Sox Nation by saying he hates the Yankees on Wednesday. That's all well and good, but he better have better material when he forgets to run for Big Papi in the eighth inning of a tied game sometime this season. One-liners and fake glasses and mustaches are not going to gut it in that market.
— Did Frank Wren even attend the winter meetings? The silence from the Braves is overwhelming.
Matt Molina, of the Fiesta Bowl Committee Florida, hangs a banner at Florida's practice field at Scottsdale Community College Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Florida will take on Ohio State in the BCS Championship football game on Monday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
More on the BCS
Boise State caoch Chris Petersen says he's tired of the BCS. Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby says the plus-one model "inevitable."
OK, we get it. Everyone hates the BCS right now. Every team other than Alabama got hosed. Every bad thing in the world today can be blamed on how college football crowns a national champ.
That said, there will not be a change until the university presidents want a change. No matter how many coaches or ADs bellyache and bemoan the current system. No matter how many talking heads pop off because of the "outrage." No matter how many fans... wait, when do the fans factor into anything related to big-time sports any more? Nevermind.
Until the presidents will make the call to move and until they see a financial reason to make those moves, here's saying the BCS is going nowhere.
(That said, when the change is made — and it will be — and the college football regular season feels hollow and unfulfilling compared to what we have now, here's hoping all the "Playoff now" crowd are screaming the loudest.)
Boise State head coach Chris Petersen looks on during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Wyoming on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. BSU went on to win 36-14. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)
This and that, college football coaches division
— Arizona State reportedly offered June Jones its head coaching job, he accepted it and the Sun Devils pulled the offer because the deal was taking too long. OK, maybe Jones the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback and coach who led Hawaii to the Sugar Bowl in 2007 was not the right guy. Maybe a better candidate became interested. But to pull the offer because the negotiations were taking too long seems silly and destructive for each side. ASU is committed to finding the right football coach as long as he gets back to them in a timely fashion? Plus, June has to return to SMU and convince his fan base and his players that he really wants to be at SMU. How long will he get to convince them?
— Larry Fedora accepted the UNC gig, leaving Southern Miss after last week's stunning upset over Houston. Fedora and the Eagles denied the Cougars a BCS spot and ultimately cost Conference USA about $10 million with the win over the Cougars. Now, Fedora leaves for an intriguing opportunity with the Tar Heels. UNCS could be in position for a quick turnaround because former coach Butch Davis recruited NFL talent. That said, UNCS is waiting on its NCAA fate because as Davis was recruiting NFL talent he was in some ways treating them line NFL players.
— Penn State appears to be interested in Boise State coach Chris Petersen, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
— Among the high-profile coordinator jobs now open is the defensive coordinator gig at Auburn, where much-maligned Ted Roof left for the DC job at Central Florida. Yes, it appears to be a pre-emptive move by Roof — and here's saying he was not begged to stay after have a record-setting (in a bad way) defense at Auburn in 2011. Here's saying the Tigers should make former star player and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, who's now with the Tennessee Titans, say no.
— Now that the shakes are starting to ripple, the 5-at-10 is always interested in who gets those next-tier jobs. Who's going to replace Fedora at Southern Miss? Who will replace Kevin Sumlin when he leaves Houston? Or how about Louisville when the offer comes for Charlie Strong, who we still say is the best mid-level guy on the market right now?
LSU's Tyrann Mathieu (7) got mobbed last Friday after a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown against Arkansas, one of three touchdowns the Tigers produced during a six-minute stretch of the second quarter in their eventual 41-17 win.Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Who you got in the Heisman?
We've stood by Trent Richardson, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck in that order.
Will Tyrann Mathieu cut into Richardson's southern base? With RG III and Luck split the quarterback-leaning voting base? Can NEwt make a run and what to make of Herman Cain? Or even Joe Kane, the QB1 of the fictional ESU Wolves in "The Program" as a choice?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...