COVID-19 put fans on pause.
We longed to have fans back. We anxiously awaited having packed stadiums filled with cheering fans, bands playing fight songs, and cheerleaders waving pom poms.
Scenes like the one earlier this season in Happy Valley with the Whiteout is what we want. Packed houses from Athens, Georgia, to Eugene, Oregon, make for fun Saturdays of college football.
The same is true for the NFL.
Terrible towels waving from all corners of Heinz field is a welcomed sight.
Yet, some fans don’t get it.
Time and time again we see homemade videos of fans getting in to drunken fist fights at stadiums from around the country. Why would anyone want to attend a game where you risk being caught in the middle of that crap? Who would want to take their kids?
The most recent trend of bad behavior is fans booing opposing players for getting injured. There are teams that employ the strategy of faking injuries to slow the game down, and more importantly slowing down the momentum of the offense.
The fake injuries are easy to pick up. Mississippi is one team that has employed this strategy. It is easy to spot. Kids look over to the bench, and the next thing you know they fall to the ground. This does need addressed. Officials need to enforce a delay of game penalty on the offending team.
Having said that, players still clearly get legitimately hurt. Fans seem to be too stupid to distinguish between the fakers and the truly injured.
Iowa was one of those less than intelligent fanbases. Last week during their victory over Penn State the Hawkeye fans booed repeatedly when Penn State players went down with injuries. It was embarrassing. Penn State certainly wasn’t going to use its best players to fake injuries. One of their best players, PJ Mustipher, was one of the injured players who Iowa fans booed. He is out for the season.
That is bad, but nothing compared to what we saw in Knoxville, Tennessee, Saturday night.
Tennessee fans have hated Lane Kiffin ever since he left Knoxville after just one season to take the USC job.
The night Kiffin announced he was leaving, Vols fans burned a mattress outside the football offices and tried to jump Kiffin when he left his office.
This is the same fanbase that actually forced administration to not hire Greg Schiano as their head coach. Fans were convinced he was part of the cover up in the Sandusky scandal while an assistant at Penn State. Businesses actually announced they would not permit Schiano in their establishment.
Those incidents, as well as a few others, is why Saturday night shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise.
With Kiffin’s return to Knoxville as Mississippi head coach, tensions were already running high. A few fifths of whiskey combined with a couple calls that didn’t go the Vols way led to this scene.
Tennessee fans started throwing objects on the field following an officiating call.pic.twitter.com/MGRoF9ra3H— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 17, 2021
MVPs of the game. pic.twitter.com/8Da8HCcKaS— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 17, 2021
The fans were so stupid —and being severely inebriated doesn’t excuse it — that they were pelting their own cheerleaders and band. Both groups had to be escorted to safety.
The Tennessee band and cheerleaders are literally vacating the stadium pic.twitter.com/5E1SSjnn6v— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) October 17, 2021
The game was stopped, and quite frankly should have been ended. Clearly the Volunteer fans weren’t smart enough to realize their team still had a chance to get the ball back. They were too consumed with a call they thought didn’t go their way and an evil monster that was coaching the opposing team.
As it turned out, Tennessee did force a punt, got a great return, and had a chance at the end zone on the last two plays of the game. Unfortunately Joe Milton had to be inserted due to an injury, and he clearly had no clue. The outcome was wholly justified after this display.
That evil monster, Lane Kiffin, was pelted with everything in the book including a golf ball.
No, I didn’t lose any of my golf balls in Tennessee. So I don’t think it was one of my specialty balls, though I think Kiffin would have found the humor in it.
In the last year —well, since fans have come back to stadiums — fans have been completely abhorrent. You could have tasked the “Girls Gone Wild” creators with the job of making a “Fans Gone Wild” video and they would have been done in five minutes.
Poor fan behavior certainly isn’t a new thing. That includes the victims of this particular incident.
OH GOD TENNESSEE FANS ARE ABSOLUTE MONSTERS— Blake Mitchell (@Blake_NashBR) October 17, 2021
Wait is this in…. Oxford? Ole Miss?! pic.twitter.com/AcWaidaPEV
Yep, that was at the end of a Mississippi vs Tennessee basketball game a few years back in Oxford.
At some point schools need to be held accountable. In the SEC schools are fined $250,000 for storming the field after a game. The fine for this kind of stuff should be seven figures.
Someone suggested playing the next game with no fans so the school loses all that money. First, they aren’t going to refund season ticket holders, plus that penalizes the 99% of fans who were behaving like humans.
No, I think you hit them where it hurts with a huge fine. College sports is a money maker for every Power Five school. Maybe a million dollar fine will force schools to ramp up security and stop selling alcohol. Clearly booze and ball don’t mix well for the less intelligent fans.
As a fan at a sporting event you really have basic human decency rules to follow.
- Don’t do anything that could harm someone else, be it a player, coach, or other fans.
- Don’t spoil the experience for other fans who spent just as much money as you did to attend the event.
- In lieu of those that don’t comprehend these two rules here is a translation: Don’t be a jackass.
Stadiums need to ramp up security. Don’t allow visibly intoxicated fans inside. They can keep tailgating, which is the only real reason those people show up anyway. Stop serving alcohol inside the stadium. You are there to watch a sporting event. If you can’t do that without drinking then stay home where you can drink until you drop. Finally, do a better job searching fans. Young people will find ways to sneak alcohol inside the stadium, as evidenced by this.
Some Tennessee fan threw a mustard bottle LMAOOOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/8Pym2hWDk1— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTBVids_YT) October 17, 2021
The old whiskey in the mustard bottle trick.
I used to think these were isolated incidents. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is the case anymore.
Sports fans, and society in general, has taken a turn for the worse. Through a broader lens than sports provides, we have learned that when things don’t go your way —or you have a strong dislike for someone— you can lie, cheat, steal, and, yes, resort to violence.
Think if a player, coach, cheerleader, or tuba player would have been hurt in Knoxville Saturday night. All because much of the Tennessee fanbase still holds an unhealthy hatred for Lane Kiffin.
As for Kiffin, he made it out of Neyland Stadium in one piece. As a matter of fact, he left as only Lane could.
Never let the jackasses win. That would ruin what the rest of us fanatics love.
Like a boss, Lane. Like a freakin’ boss.
Two Cent Takes
~Manny Diaz is as good as gone at Miami. Mack Brown is like a grandpa just enjoying what’s left of the ride. Grandpa tried to provide some encouraging words for his young cohort. Manny wasn’t in the mood.
~Iowa stormed the field last week. They were a favorite. I voiced my displeasure and got roasted by every corn fed Iowa fan in the state. They lost in one of my upset alert games this week to Purdue. So, I have just one question Iowa fans.
~I scoffed at the thought of Pitt winning 10 games this year. Turns out they may not have a choice but to win 10 games. The ACC is that bad. I will go so far to say that I think Pitt will win the league and go to a major bowl. I still don’t think the Panthers are all that good, but they are the lesser of all the ACC evils.
~Oklahoma’s offense is rounding in to form with Caleb Williams taking over from Heisman (not)hopeful Spencer Rattler. Before you print those playoff tickets I would alert Sooners fans that their defense also seems to be rounding in to typical form.
~There is a lot of bad football being played, or parity if you will. Pac-12 is bad. ACC is bad. Big Ten West is bad(and the East ain’t as good as you think). The Big 12 is bad minus Oklahoma. As much as it pains me, the SEC is the only conference playing solid football throughout the conference.
~Georgia’s defense is as good as any I’ve seen. They don’t just tackle people, but rather pound them. They may be able to hit cruise control until the SEC championship game, which will not be a must win. This guy, who of course picked the Dawgs to win it all, is already spending his money.
~Ed Orgeron is out at LSU. Absolutely nobody should be surprised. I am on record as saying I love Coach O. But he has issues, and he always has. Reports coming out yesterday indicated coaches didn’t want to coach for him and players didn’t want to play for him. He wins a championship and proceeds to get divorced from his wife of 28 years six weeks later to have a late mid-life crisis. Photographed with a young gal and loving life, his extracurricular affairs took his focus off football. His team has players. He always could get players. He just can’t keep the train on the rails. The only thing I’m curious about is how long LSU will allow a criminal like Will Wade to coach their basketball team.
~First third AFC Two Cent Takes:
- Buffalo is the class of the conference and it isn’t close.
- I thought Cleveland was good. So far they are just Cleveland.
- Cincinnati is very close to being there.
- The AFC North may beat each other out of playoff spots.
- Tennessee has been very disappointing.
- Don't count out Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs are wobbly, but he is still really good.
- Justin Herbert is going to be great despite a dud on Sunday.
- Mac Jones is also going to be very good.
- The Raiders may be better without a cancerous lunatic as head coach.
- Despite finally winning, I am stunned Urban Meyer is still the Jags head coach.
~First third NFC Two Cent Takes:
- I’ll be darned but the Arizona Cardinals are for real.
- Kyler Murray may shut me up and win the MVP.
- I still really like the Rams chances.
- Dallas is good, and I mean Super Bowl good.
- The rest of the NFC East is awful. All three show occasional signs, but ultimately are losing teams.
- Tampa still has the best roster. Those skill players are as good as it gets.
- This could be the end of the road for Pete Carroll. His team has been fading for awhile now.
- The Lions haven’t but any kneecaps yet, so I wonder how long Dan Campbell lasts.
- Sean Payton will prove how overrated he is without Drew Brees.
- Rams, Cards, Cowboys, Packers, Bucs…NFC playoffs could be epic.
~This was good. Aaron Rodgers letting Bears fans know.
"I still own you" 😂— Hassan 🪐 (@KingHassan__) October 17, 2021
~This is a pretty cool stat from Sunday.
LAR 38 - 11 NYG— Scorigami (@NFL_Scorigami) October 17, 2021
That's Scorigami!! It's the 1067th unique final score in NFL history.
~Pete Carroll is 70 going on 30. He’s the best. Here is his typical pregame routine.
~ Ben Roethlisberger is finished. He’s washed up. People wanted to come to his defense after he played marginally well last week. This week, despite getting an overtime win, the offense went right back to dink and dunk. Ben misses receivers by miles sometimes, he refuses to throw to the middle of the field, and he can’t move. It’s over. No way the Steelers can win many more games with this offense.
~Najee Harris is a bull. He has to be since the offensive line doesn’t usually block for him.
~The defense desperately needs Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu back. Oh, and a lesson or two on tackling.
~TJ Watt is good at football. Thank goodness he is, or the Steelers may have lost this one.
~This guy will be missed. People can quit questioning his motivation.
If you don’t think this is heartfelt and authentic, you are just someone who is miserable and looking to be a jerk. Period.— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) October 14, 2021
~Troy Polamalu is the best. Period. Player. Human. All of it.
~The playoffs have been very well played to date. However I have a few nits to pick:
- Common sense should come in to play. Allow umpires to place runners at the proper bases on ground rule situations.
- The only day games being played are when football is on. Not smart. How about some 4:00 games during the week.
- The Dodgers using Max Scherzer in relief is a reminder that they were the only team that could afford to add his salary along with Trea Turner. What? You think San Diego didn’t want him? I beg of you baseball…salary cap now!
- Re-seed the teams each round. The Dodgers vs Giants should have been a seven game championship series. Both teams won 105+ games and deserved that much.
- I like John Smoltz as an announcer as well as Ron Darling. I just wish I didn’t have to scan all over my dial to find the games.
~The Cardinals fired Mike Shildt as manager after an incredible run to make the playoffs. The Cardinals organization knows what they are doing. I think Shildt’s abrasive personality did him in.
~I can’t wait to watch more of Wander Franco. He will be all of 20 next season.
~It is way too early to get excited, but if you are a Pens fan you have to be happy with what you have seen through three games. It seems they are going to play to their strengths, and it will help when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin join the team. Maybe we shouldn’t doubt Mike Sullivan. After all, he is only the winningest coach in team history.
This Week’s Shiny Penny
Each week ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit does a funny little behind the scenes video with his buddy and colleague Lee Corso. Each week they are fantastic. So in honor of my podcast partner Jed Donahue, who mysteriously hates Corso, here is this week’s shiny penny, courtesy of Herbstreit and Corso.
"When you lose, you say little. When you win, you say less!"— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) October 16, 2021
LC with the words to live by this morning!! 😂 pic.twitter.com/VfswCjemXO
And an honorable mention to Herbstreit’s dog who didn’t seem fond of Uga but found Corso funny in the end.
A Penny For My Final Thought…
Jon Gruden was not cancelled.
Every time someone gets fired because of something they did or said in their past doesn’t mean they are being canceled. Oh, there are plenty of examples of that happening. The watchdogs are definitely out there rifling through your emails from days gone by.
In many cases that is foolish and unnecessary.
Sometimes, though, it uncovers a basic fact. Some people are simply bad people and deserve to be found out.
Jon Gruden was one of those people.
Gruden’s emails went on for seven years. The things he typed out in those emails weren’t just random blurbs. They were ideological thoughts that were ingrained in his mind.
A man that works hand in hand with African Americans, women, and a prominent gay player had his true colors revealed to all of them. Add Roger Goodell and even the current President of the United States to that list. Gruden spared nobody in his emails. Now, he pays the price.
He said he was in a bad place when he sent those emails.
Really? Over seven years?
That isn’t a sign of being in a bad place. That’s a sign of being a bad person.
How could he look his black players in the eye and get their respect?
How could he look Carl Nassib in the eye and get his respect?
How could he do an interview with, say, Erin Andrews, Lisa Salters, or any of the many female reporters?
Jon Gruden should go far away and examine his life, his thoughts, his tendencies.
Gruden didn’t get canceled. He got figured out.