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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bettis in Hall of Fame and other NFL awards thoughts

Finally, Jerome Bettis can officially count himself among the greatest players in NFL history as he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday.

Bettis is part of an eight-man class that includes Junior Seau, one of the best defensive players I've ever seen in person, and Tim Brown.

But the guess here is that Bettis' induction will draw the biggest crowd to Canton for the induction ceremony Aug. 8.

We all know how well Steelers fans travel and Bettis is among the most popular players in team history. The close proximity to Pittsburgh doesn't hurt, either.

Because of that, as I reported a couple of weeks ago, you can expect the Steelers to play in the Hall of Fame game to open the preseason Aug. 9.

That would mean the Steelers would open training camp July 26 or 27, 14 or so days before that first game.

@ My favorite moment involving Bettis came in 2000 - when the Steelers were trying to replace Bettis with Richard Huntley.

Huntley had averaged 6 yards per carry in 1999 - running mostly on third downs - and was stealing carries from Bettis in 2000. But Bettis wouldn't give way without a fight.

In fact, he was playing through a broken rib. This was something that was amazing to Huntley.

When asked if he would play with broken ribs, Huntley said, "Mother$!@#$@# be hitting and stuff out there. $%$# that."

When Bettis didn't play in a game, you knew the injury had to be bad.

@ It would also often take Bettis a good, long while to talk to reporters after a game. But we waited.

And as you stood there watching Bettis sitting on his stool, welts on his back that looked as if he had been beaten with a baseball bat, struggling to put on his shoe and shirt, you couldn't help but respect the man.

He left it all on the field.

@ The NFL announced its season awards on Saturday night and there were no surprises among the winners.

Aaron Rodgers deservedly won the MVP award, while DeMarco Murray and J.J. Watt won the offensive and defensive player of the year awards.

Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell got a combined seven votes in OPOY voting, which was quite respectable.

I was, however, surprised that no Steelers got a vote in the Comeback Player of the Year award voting won by Rob Gronkowski.

Initially, I was surprised James Harrison didn't get any votes. Harrison was barely used in 2013 by Cincinnati and rebounded with a very solid season for the Steelers.

And as a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, he certainly had the name recognition.

As somebody pointed out to me on Twitter, Maurkice Pouncey also would have been a good choice after missing nearly the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL.

Neither got a vote. But Justin Forsett got two and Kyle Orton got one. Heck, Rolondo McClain finished second with seven votes.

Larry Foote even got one.

I've got no problem with Gronkowski winning the award. But Harrison and Pouncey would have been better choices than some of those other guys.

@ Somebody asked me on Twitter about Sean Spence possibly being considered. But he had actually never really played in an NFL game. His is a great story, but he also didn't have the name recognition to win a national award.

Then again, if Rolondo McClain was considered, who knows?

32 comments:

Mike said...

I watched this NFL awards show for the first time. I was amazed at all the Pittsburgh connections. From former Pitt Panthers to the Rooneys to all the Steelers, even Arians...I felt the team was well represented. Even the host was a steelers fan!

John Kang said...

Travesty that JJ Watt didn't win MVP. He never has a bad game and he is a one man wrecking crew.

mv7267 said...

Dale,

Camp will open in July, not August.

Snarky said...

Here comes da Bus!!!! Congrats to Jerome.

Dale Lolley said...

Watt's team didn't make the playoffs. And he isn't a qb.

marc said...

Worst play call in super bowl history.

McFadden 41 said...

I couldn't agree more.

adamg said...

Nice to see the old bump and run coverage return, if only for a game...

marc said...

full disclosure: I hate the patriots.

with that said, the officiating in the super bowl was as blatantly poor as we have seen for quite some time. the blown roughing the kicker penalty benefited the seahawks. but there was obvious offensive pass interference numerous times that should have been called against the pats. I saw one instance that should have gone against the seahawks. the mind blower to me was not calling PI when the patriot defender reached out and tripped the seahawks WR over the middle of the field. it was unbelievable.

kyle said...

I don't know, marc. The tripping thing was the only non-call (or call) I can say rises to the level of egregious. The kicker penalty is always a judgment call and the grabs here and there by both teams would have made for ticky-tack flags. The Super Bowl should always be a "let 'em play" kind of game and that SHOULD have benefitted the Seahawks more than it did.

Here's what I took away:

Brady gets to pad his numbers with a game full of screen passes just like in 2004.

The Patriots outplayed the Seahawks for the first half and went to the locker room tied.

That fourth quarter was strange pretty much top to bottom. The Seahawks were doing next to nothing offensively. The Patriots were moving the ball even without relying on screens entirely. NE scores to win. Then NE seemingly loses on yet another fluke of a catch. Then SEA seemingly loses on a bad play call and a good play by a rookie. THEN SEA blows their final chance by doing what they've done all season - jumping offsides. And if that wasn't enough, we get a mini-brawl.

I think the Seahawks feel just like the Packers felt two weeks ago.

Oh, and if anyone brings up Brady or Belichick as "best ever" this or that, please remind them that 4-0 > 4-2. Losses don't count. Nobody talks about Jim Kelly as the greatest QB of all time because he lost four in a row.

SBK said...

Don't understand Murray, he had 5 fumbles to Bell's 0.

~SBK

marc said...

making contact with non-kicking leg is automatic 15 yard penalty per the rules. it wasn't like he was blocked into the kicker either. he dove in and drilled the guy's leg. horrible call by refs.

I don't have a problem with letting guys play. but when the WR literally holds the defender's left arm as the defender is making a play on the ball, that's interference. reverse the roles, and they would call it on the defender every time.

I understand there are penalties on every play. I know the refs aren't going to call every single little thing they see and I'm glad they don't. but the obvious and blatant ones need to be called.

adamg said...

marc, to me both teams were grabbing, holding and bumping receivers. The receivers were doing the same back. It evened out.

IMHO, if the league was going to make such a fuss about calling PI in the pre-season and regular season, they should have carried that over to the playoffs.

marc said...

adamg, I like the old rules that allowed more physical contact at the line of scrimmage. and even to some degree when positioning for the pass play. but intentionally tripping a player or holding a player's arm when they are trying to catch the ball and not being called is just ridiculous.

maybe they all did even out. I don't know, nor do I really care. but, getting to your point, it does bother me they emphasize certain rules all season long then abandon them for the playoffs/super bowl. I think that's part of my criticism. I saw many things that would have been called in week 17 that weren't called last night.

whatever though, I hate officials too.

Dale Lolley said...

I didn't have a problem with the officiating. They let them play. They didn't call much of anything either way. Let the players decide the game.

Are we so intent on what's being officiated that we need everything to be called?

kyle said...

marc,

I know Collinsworth said "hitting the plant leg is an automatic 15" but there is nothing in the NFL Rulebook stating that.

http://www.nfl.com/static/content/public/image/rulebook/pdfs/15_Rule12_Player_Conduct.pdf

Article 6

Like I said, it's primarily a judgment call. Since it's a judgment call, I'm ok with the call they made. If they had issued no penalty, that'd be a problem.

Like adamg said, calling it the same for both teams is what counts.

adamg said...

Dale, since the Steelers play in NE next season, what do you think the odds are that would be the opening Thursday night game? The Steelers likely will be w/o Bell making it that much easier on NE.

Anonymous said...

NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp was arrested in Phoenix at 7AM on Monday morning for allegedly soliciting a prostitute.
He was also arrested for assault and taken into custody at a hotel in Downtown Phoenix. Sapp's bio has been subsequently removed from NFL.com's "On-Air Talent" section of the website. Sapp was in Arizona covering the Super Bowl for NFL Network. This is Sapp's third known arrest since 2010.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha that fat Steelers hater what an unprofessional idiot

Dale Lolley said...

I think it's a 50-50 shot they'd take the Steelers. Rex Ryan's first game for Buffalo would also be a good sell - not that they need to sell it.

marc said...

Kyle,
Kevin seifert of espn is also quoting the rule book that roughing the kicker is automatic when hitting the plant leg and kicking leg is in the air. No Offense, but I will go with collinsworth and seifert on this one. Imo, the Seahawks were playing cleaner football than the pats, therefore the pats would benefit more from the no calls. I just think that officiating crew was poor, that's all.

kyle said...

He can quote it all day. I read it. Unless he has a different rule book, it doesn't say anything about the plant leg or anything being "automatic."

I don't care that much. I just don't like an offhanded remark from Collinsworth being bandied about like football scripture.

The Seahawks did very little to combat the screen game. That isn't the officials' fault. It was an evenly called game with very few "big" mistakes. The Steelers have played in Super Bowls with worse officiating than last night's.

KT said...

Excellent write up Dale as usual.

One thing that caught my attention. You write:

My favorite moment involving Bettis came in 2000 - when the Steelers were trying to replace Bettis with Richard Huntley.

Were the Steelers really intent on replacing Bettis with Huntley?

I always thought that rumor was a bunch hot air.

How large of an anti-Bettis (or at least pro-Huntley) faction was there, and how serious of an effort did they make?

adamg said...

Thanks, Dale. It wouldn't be the first time the Steelers have been set up for failure on the road on primetime TV.

Personally, I'd rather see them get their Thursday night game out of the way early in wk 1.

marc said...

Kyle, it wasn't an off handed remark by collinsworth. You must be quoting an older version of the rules. I found another source on yahoo pulling the exact definition out of the nfl rulebook. It was a blown call, period. The refs sucked.

Anonymous said...

Hey Warren Sapp, you are old, slow and off the air!

kyle said...

marc,

I'll leave it after this. I was using the rule book on nfl.com. The version for this past season. I read the entirety of the section on kicking and punting. Nothing is mentioned. I read the section on "player conduct" which includes running into the kicker and roughing the kicker. It does not mention a plant leg or anything being automatic. So, unless the publicly available rule book is abridged and media members have a special "members only" book, it's not in there.

Regardless, if that's the call you're using to say they sucked plus some incidental grabbing (which can be called every play, which you admitted) then I guess we just have different standards.

marc said...

i don't know kyle. these guys are copying and pasting into their articles the exact wording with paragraph lettering, etc. must be getting it from somewhere else than you.

i do not call diving out and swatting a players ankle to trip him or pulling down the arm of a player trying to catch the ball "incidental contact". as you said, apparently our standards are different.

marc said...

hey kyle,
i just went to nfl.com and downloaded the rule book. in case you didn't notice, it's the 2013 Rule Book. get a clue.

kyle said...

Fine, I'll say this too. I know it was the rule book from 2013. I also looked at the proposed, failed, and passed rule changes from the league meeting before the 2014 season. None of them were about roughing the punter. I'm not sure what those guys are quoting. Maybe the NFL changed that rule but it didn't have to get voted on by the owners. I'm not entirely sure that's possible but maybe it is. If it is, I apologize.

marc said...

No need to apologize. My "get a clue" comment was more in jest than anything else, maybe should have put an lol on the end.

marc said...

Sure do hope they sign Robinson today. Are there any FA OLB's left worth signing?