It continues to be a glorious time to be a knucklehead and here at The Knuckles, we won’t forget to notice. There are knuckeheads everywhere but in the land of the NFL, that bastion of misguided decisions, ill-conceived leadership and zero scruples, they grow on trees. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if there’s indeed a knucklehead tree in the lobby of the NFL offices in New York. How better to explain the fact that there’s one around every corner in the world’s most popular sport, at all levels of the operation?
So with apologies to all other knuckleheads in other sports and other leagues hoping for a bit of recognition, we have to go with another all-football edition of the newest awards show sensation. But don’t worry, we see you, other knuckleheads. Your time will come. So with that, let’s get into this week’s winners, setting new standards for the art of being a knucklehead.
BRONZE – The Jets: Much to the delight of Pats fans, the Jets are the NFL franchise most closely associated with having a dark rain cloud following it everywhere. It rarely takes them long to remind the masses what a hopeless, hapless, sad sack team they are and in Week 2 at the Packers, they didn’t disappoint.
Pick up the action in the fourth quarter with roughly five minutes left to play. Green Bay led 31-24 after the Jets had peed away a 21-3 first half advantage, but the Jets were suddenly cooking a little bit on offense for the first time since early in the second quarter. With the ball on the Packers’ 37 and facing a fourth-and-4, quarterback Geno Smith dropped back and laid what was arguably the best throw of his young career right into the hands of receiver Jeremy Kerley in the end zone for the game-tying TD.
But the play was blown dead just before the snap. Of course, the Jets, who have made an art form out committing terrible procedure penalties (false starts, offsides, 12 men on the field, being so collectively stupid the officials have no choice but to throw a flag, etc.) did it again and spoiled a huge play, right?
Nope. Someone on their sideline called timeout. Only it wasn’t buffoon head coach Rex Ryan. And the head coach is the only sideline presence allowed to do that (a rule Ryan himself helped to initiate back in 2007 against the Pats – remember?).
But the side judge heard someone call for it and, after the blame was initially placed on offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who was clearly running down the sideline making the timeout signal, the culprit was actually defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who saw Mornhinweg’s gesture and stepped up behind the official and whispered the magic word that would cost the Jets the game. They did not wind up scoring on that possession and lost the game.
What do you think about that, Rex?
Was this incident as stupefying as the buttfumble? As hilarious as ESPN’s video collage of Jets’ fans hissing at all of their team’s horrid draft picks over the years? As ridiculous as Ryan’s foot fetish or his tattoo of his wife wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey or all of his blowhard proclamations that the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl year after year?
Probably not. But if you can imagine something like this happening to any other NFL team, please speak up. If they gave out Vince Lombardi trophies for being a knucklehead, all of Rex’s inane predictions would come true. So while we’re here, let’s just enjoy this chestnut together again, shall we?
SILVER – Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush: The NFL is a blazing trainwreck right now, and if it feels like not a single day goes by without someone dumping gas on it.
Which leads us to Detroit Lions stars Johnson and Bush, neither of whom sank to the level of an Adrian Peterson or a Jonathan Dwyer. But the operative word in that sentence fragment is the one I didn’t even type: yet.
You see, Bush and Johnson, also known as Megatron, aren’t very happy with the penalties levied against the Vikings running back for abusing his 4-year old son under the pretense that whipping a child that age with a tree branch is merely a loving form of discipline. Bush, in defending Peterson, said that he’d “harshly’’ punish his 1-year old daughter if necessary.
“I definitely will try to – will obviously not leave bruises or anything like that on her,’’ he then added, reassuringly. Make no mistake though, 1-year olds can get pretty rowdy and need to be kept in line.
Then, the next day, Johnson doubled down, saying “I’m going to discipline my children. And can’t nobody tell me how to discipline my children.’’
Regardless of your definition of “discipline,’’ could these two dudes’ timing have been any worse? The last thing anyone needed to hear in the aftermath of the Peterson scandal and its horrific details are a couple of players openly discussing how they’d do the same exact thing and they’ll be damned if anyone tells them different. There is a time and a place to speak one’s mind and this week, in the midst of the ongoing crisis overrunning the league on this particular subject matter, wasn’t either. And it’s not like Bush and Johnson are scrubs or bottom of the roster players. They are big name superstars, especially Johnson, who is arguably the best receiver in the league, which meant that their words carried plenty of weight.
Bush and Johnson are entitled to their opinions, no matter how vile, odious and flat out wrong those opinions might be. They are knuckleheads because they have no idea when the it’s the right time to simply keep your trap shut.
GOLD – Eric Dodds: Quick show of hands… how many of you immediately thought of the Patriots upon first seeing the news about Peterson or Ray Rice or Greg Hardy or Ray McDonald?
None of you? That’s strange. Because someone who writes for Time Magazine named Eric Dodds seems to have in all of those cases. And he’s pissed.
Dodds, who from his Twitter page appears to be a fairly genial, mostly harmless looking half-wit, wrote a post for Time.com titled, “The Patriot Way: Tom Brady Declines to Take a Stand On Ray Rice, Other NFL Scandals,’’ on Tuesday. The point of this nonsense, I think, is to pile on the absolutely asinine “take’’ from this past week that because Brady chose to not comment on Peterson and his issues when asked on a local radio show, he was shirking some sort of responsibility to publicly espouse his opinion (even though he’s never, ever espoused his opinion, which the person who asked the initial question should have been well aware of), that as a mega star in the crumbling NFL, he owed it to us or at least the people interviewing him on that radio show, a real answer.
But Dodds takes it even further, noting that Brady’s lack of comment was actually part of a deeper, more devious strategy designed to not anger any of the domestic or child abusers, so that as soon as their respective teams release them, the Pats can swoop in and pick them up. Because you see, “The Patriot Way’’ isn’t just an elaborate conspiracy to never say anything of substance in public, so that hack reporters like Eric Dodds don’t have someone else to do his job for him, it’s also a take no prisoners attitude that throws all manner of decorum and common decency to the wind in pursuit of winning football games. This moron even brings up Spygate, as if that non-event, which highly reputable current and ex-coaches have declared to be complete bupkis, has any relationship to or bearing on Peterson “whooping’’ his 4-year old, Rice knocking out his wife or Hardy throwing his ex-girlfriend onto a pile of loaded assault rifles and threatening to kill her.
Dodds doesn’t once call out any member of the Vikings, Ravens or Panthers’ organizations for letting, or attempting to let, their disgraced players play. He doesn’t wonder why Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers or any other prominent quarterback hasn’t spoken out on the subject while tossing around outrageous, ill-formed hypotheses for what their ulterior motives for staying quiet might be. Nope, none of that. He just spits up a lowest common denominator theory with no foundation in real life and trolls with it.
So congratulations, Mr. Dodds. If throwing something inflammatory against the wall to see if it would stick and thereby transport you into some nether region of the national consciousness was your goal, you succeeded. Now we all know that you’re an idiot, a Golden Knuckle winner. Hooray for you.