NFL14 Cherry Picks W4: Calling Mrs. Miniver

26 Sep

“A (football) by any other name would (sail) as sweet”

Oh, how we could use more souls like “Mrs. Miniver” on this side of the pond, to advise & consent those who occupy our seats power. The nasty John Oliver, he you can have back, England, but “Kay,” oh my gosh, more like her we need.

One of those Chairs-in-Command sits in America’s fourth branch: the media monopolies, who’ve apparently ordered their army of producers, scribes & staff to take offensive to try toppling NFL’s head honcho, Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Mrs. Miniver (‘42) is William Wyler’s heart-warming film that tells the tale of a fictional matriarch running a household in England at outbreak of WWII and how she & family cope with the trials & tribulations on the home-front that befall soon after their nation’s entrance into the War (‘39) upon Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland.

.........G.Garson.wc.cca.42.R.Harvest.thumb

Why a reference here in sport article to a beautiful lass from Hollywood’s golden age?

Week 4 on the NFL schedule sees the start of London-fest, with the first of three games slated to be played at Wembley Stadium. Phase I features the Miami Dolphins versus the home-designated Oakland Raiders. That means, of course, the Sir Francis Drake and Sir Henry Morgan fan-clubs should be in full attendance:

Gangway, ye scallywags & scurvy dogs! Mess with me booty (grog, fish & chips) and you’ll be keelhauled quicker than a pirate can separate a dandy from his coin purse!

No movie gave American audiences a better dramatic window through which to view the lives of our British Allies across the Atlantic in their lonely fight to halt Axis powers Westward blitzkrieg, than did this film gem starring the redheaded Greer Garson, who’d captivated movie goers three years earlier w/Robert Donat in the classic, Goodbye, Mr. Chips (’39).

Garson’s inspirational character was cinematic but certainly emblematic of millions of women, people, who held down the home front for the fighting forces, working arsenal of democracy, keeping a semblance of sanity in place and sometimes sacrificing their lives.

World War 2 exposed a frightening & prevalent capacity in our human race for organized cruelty & greed by way of the Axis powers (ESPN still shamelessly employs their own version of “Axis” visual gadgetry). But by good triumphing over evil, the grace of god or simply better military strategies, the resolute Allied forces prevailed.

Watching Mrs. Miniver last weekend (TCM), I couldn’t help but appreciate how different were the eras, the spirit of community and mental approach taken to trying times.

Today’s mental tack: mountains made of media mole-hills, privacy exposed for profit, self sacrifice too rarely afforded, patience is anything but a virtue,…you get the idea.

Charming, easy-on-the-eyes, neighborly, strong of constitution, even stops to smell roses and appreciates history (“Richard I“), maybe “Kay’s” most endearing trait today would be her ability to defuse the explosive situation, i.e, angry blue bloods (“Lady Beldon (Dame May Whitty)” and armed & dangerous, downed German pilots (Helmut Dantine).

..........Goodell.thumbnail.flag

Roger Goodell may wish he’d booked a flight to “Kay’s” old stomping grounds for this weekend’s festivities, offering him a brief escape from the Hounds of the Barkervilles.

Because of the politicized protest on domestic violence that’s quickly turned lynch-mob in tenor, lacking a more constructive, practical, honest purpose & tone, it’s come clear now that the anti-Goodell campaign is really the anti-Redskins push (‘12 / Nike joins NFL) in different garb, w/assorted malicious mercenaries joining the horde:

Grudge-holders (Bountygate, Simultaneous-gate, ex-players (Bruschi)); PED-punished player entourages; profit-seeking ($) opportunists (TMZ, Oliver, ESPN, Costas, etc.), and simply those who just don‘t like sport and believe those that do are moronic, some w/ agenda (NOW), others a prejudice. Not a big group, but a big megaphone (Disney, Time Inc., etc.).

To be concerned, a bit angered by recent wave of player criminal arrests is appreciable.

But to make Goodell scapegoat for this rare confluence of badness, spotlighted by tabloid tape drop (TMZ) after an initial League response (Rice 2g) that was not atypical, as news & leisure-media grant immunity to NFLPA, is shameful, and more so, unbelievable.

..........P.Tagliabue.wc.cca.8.4.02.G.Mitchell.thumb

As a plan took shape in the 90s under then Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to bring kids & female consumers into the NFL fold, the failure to use their bully-pulpit to expose player refusal (NFLPA) to raise their own standard of behavior to a level comporting better with the new audience, chiefly, drug use, in particular PEDs, sowed seeds of trouble and either innocently or negligently created environment where Rice-gate was bound to happen.

In a highly flammable state where player misdeeds start the burn, fanned by all the above (“Grudge-holders, etc.), and a Commissioner who, ever since Tagliabue vacated Bounty-gate suspensions (12-‘12) (after arbitrator voided (9) & NFL reinstate (10)), has had his authority, prestige severely undercut, NFL’s leadership post itself has been compromised no matter who sits atop, leaving the direction, value & health of the League uncertain.

The only thing that’d make matters worse for NFL would be election of a polarizing, poli-operative, faux-football proponent (C. Rice) or like celebrity into Commissioner’s post, one even the earlier Iron Maiden, “Mrs. Miniver,” would hesitate to take.

......NFL.wikiproject.6kb

“Who (brought) the dogs (in), woof, woof?”

The Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers has been doing something this week to which he’s almost entirely unaccustomed: quelling a growing chorus of grumblers in Packerland.

As result of Green Bay’s lethargic loss in the Silverdome last Sunday (19-7), a game where Packers’ defense actually played what normally would’ve been fine enough for a win, the Cheese Squad has fallen to 1-2 in what had been a hopeful outlook for ‘14.

The natives are restless but the Packers stellar QB is taking it in stride, as any former champ & MVP should: “Relax, we’re going to be fine,” he said on Wednesday. Okay.

..........A.Rodgers.wc.cca.M.Morbeck.08.thumb

But unless I’m mistaken (I am), those are the exact words Napoleon spoke to his Grande Armée when things were looking bleak at Waterloo (and the Duke of Wellington was closing the deal): ‘Détendez-vous, nous allons bien.’

You’re probably, right, Aaron, the offense will find its rhythm. But if losing continues, you (& MM) just want to make sure you bring the dog in at night (See; Dan Devine ‘74).

Off the Schneid

Week 3 Sunday was a time of redemption for four previously winless teams, picked by many prognosticators to contend (It‘s only Week 4): the Giants (1-2), Colts, Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Most likely to run-the-table rest of the way? the Saints, KC, Indy and, sure, the Giants.

“Stay Classy,” Coach

NFL has its share of lopsided scores (W3: ATL 56 v. TB 14), and if loppy enough, will be scornfully referred to as ‘piling-it-on.’ NFL: troubled, but not w/out standard.

But on the college scene where idyllic pronouncements are carved into marble facades, good sportsmanship gets thrown under the visitor’s bus when poll positioning is at stake.

The Michigan State Spartans, long in proud tradition, hosted intra-State rival E. Michigan last Saturday and put a 73 – 14 thumping on the Mid-American member. The small school record-enhancer will get a nice check, but in these match-ups, with big disparity in score & recruitment, 70 is the jerk-line and “winning (like that, isn’t) everything,” Coach Dantonio.

Secret Agenda Man?

Add former Patriots linebacker and current ESPN “analyst” Tedy Bruschi to the list of celebrities to call for Roger Goodell’s resignation. On Friday after Goodell’s ill-advised presser, the former Patriot stated this on ESPN:

..........T.Bruschi.wc.cca.J.Kern.ESPN.11.3.11.thumb

“One of the only ways Roger Goodell could’ve lived up to standards he placed on us as players…was to step down because he’s (NFL‘s) ultimate (“Tedy” / USAT / Lisk / 9-19).”

Ted Bruschi has always been Ted Bruschi’s biggest fan.

And for a guy whose NFL legacy benefited from Roger’s even handling of Spygate, it’s safe to assume gratitude is not high atop Bruschi’s list of values. That probably means the former Patriot gives no credit to the Commissioner for his role in bringing NFL’s PED prevention program into the 21st century with recent upgrade (blood draws), sending a hopeful message to young athletes that NFLPA “players” resisted giving for so long. Analyze that, Tedy.

Mueller Time

Though he doesn’t possess power to compel evidence, the man heading up the NFL’s Ray Rice – Janay Palmer investigation (NFLPA has followed Suit (Smith)), former FBI Director Robert Mueller will have something almost as good working for him: experience.

..........R.Mueller.wc.cca.2011.FBI

And for the naysayers predicting a whitewash: when such people seek and will only accept one outcome, what else could you expect but apathy? Besides, would a man who likely has a few million secured away and reputation for ethics on the line, allow a business affiliation to turn into a conflict of interest? Not bloody likely, mate.

One result I’d hope comes from Mueller’s search for truth is determination on chain-of-custody issue (evidence) and tabloid acquisition of such. TMZ is seen by most as Paul Revere but more accurately a golden calf for those of weak faith. And when investigation is complete, whether result shows up, down or middling for RG, the nation will accept it because the Boards of Directors of the corporate sponsors will accept it. Go Green!

Curious Quotes

“How successful can you be, given the (weapons at your disposal)?” Query from ESPN post-game field reporter for Ted Bridgewater after he’d subbed for injured Matt Cassel in Vikes 20-9 loss to the Saints. Pose questions for the players, Ma’am, not statements.

.........Cherries.on.cloth.thumb

Cherry Picks Week 4: London Calling

Giants (1-2) @ Redskins (1-2): 9-25 CBS 8:30 EST: NYG wins
Packers (1-2) @ Bears (2-1): 9-28 Fox 1:00: Green Bay wins
Bills (2-1) @ Texans (2-1): CBS 1:00: Houston wins
Panthers (2-1) @ Ravens (2-1) CBS 1:00: Baltimore wins
Dolphins (1-2) @ Raiders (0-3) CBS 1:00: Miami wins, Arrgh!
Eagles (3-0) @ 49ers: Fox 4:30 (Clash-of-the-Week): SF wins
Saints (1-2) @ Cowboys (2-1): NBC 8:35: New Orleans wins
Patriots (2-1) @ Chiefs (1-2): 9-29 ESPN 8:35: KC wins

Record: 19 – 9

Steven Keys
NFL Hunch Line
Photo credits: G.Garson / 1940 – MGM – P&P / wc.cca / 36k; G.Garson / 1942 – MGM – R.Harvest / wc.cca / 19k; R.Goodell / wc.cca / 8.30.12 / SSG T.Wade / USMA; P.Tagliabue / wc.cca / 8.4.02 / G.Mitchell – USNavy; A.Rodgers / wc.cca / M.Morbeck / 2008; T.Bruschi / wc.cca / 11.3.11 / ESPN / J.Kern; R.Mueller / wc.cca / 2011 / US – FBI; Cherries on cloth / wc.cca / picdrome / 6.11.11

Posted: 9-25-14 @ 11:00pm EST

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