Nobody’s perfect, but I guess in the NFL you’d better be.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the big game Sunday between the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a fascinating, close contest between two of the best teams in the league, featuring two of the best quarterbacks in Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
But on Monday, some of the news coverage suggests that what we thought we saw was actually a big disappointment. “Not ready for prime time,” intoned the Los Angeles Times. A lot of ink and electrons there and elsewhere have been wasted on the fumble – strip sack, really – by Goff that led to what proved to be the winning field goal.
The mind boggles. Football, especially at the highest level, is always a game that turns on the unexpected or unfortunate. Wide-open receivers drop passes. Runners trip over the hash marks. Big plays are negated by bone-headed penalties.
Good and bad luck on the gridiron, as in life, are just about 50-50. So how can that one play determine the destiny for the entire team?
Southern California fans – and media – are a bit spoiled. Championships are expected as regularly as Christmas bonuses. Anything less and you’re burned at the stake.
Let’s sit back and look at the situation. The Rams are 9-4 and in first place in the NFL West. Last season, they won only four games all season, and haven’t posted a winning record since the second George Bush administration.
Goff is a fine young quarterback very early in his career, and he is ably seconded by a top-notch running back in Todd Gurley, a good defense and a generally stout offensive line.
If the Rams and Eagles played each other 10 times, they’d probably each win five games. That hardly makes Sunday’s narrow loss a reason for mourning.
It was a very good year, but wait …
We’ll be taking a look back at the local sports scene for 2017 shortly, but it’s worth taking a squint at what the new year might bring.
The signing of two-way star Shohei Otani by the Angels takes the prospects for the Halos up a big notch. Not only does he have the potential to really boost the lineup and rotation, but you just know that it will help spike attendance.
Imagine a healthy Albert Pujols in the same batting order as Mike Trout and Otani, not to mention Kole Calhoun and other powerful lumber.
The Anaheim Ducks are struggling now, but many of their top players have been sidelined with injuries. When they return, sometime in January (we hope), the Ducks will be poised to – pardon the pun – soar.
A n(ice) idea ….
If you saw any footage of the Colts-Bills game on Sunday played in a raging snowstorm, you might have gotten a smile or two out of how the players and fans seemed to enjoy the downpour of fluffy stuff.
Have we seen the dawn of a new sport? Ice football? Snow football? Snow-ball? Laugh if you will, but American football evolved out of rugby, which – according to legend – was born when a soccer player got tired of just kicking the ball and decided to pick it up and run with it.
Stranger things have happened.
Pete Zarustica writes Monday Morning Coach.