That’s what I was doing, both literally and in text format, Sunday night at the conclusion of two three-point thrillers in the NFL’s conference championship weekend. And not because of anything scapegoats Lee Evans, Billy Cundiff or Kyle Williams did (or didn’t do).
Rather, I was annoyed at the lack of sportsmanship or class or dignity that was on display at the end of the Giants’ OT victory at San Francisco. Both teams were guilty.
First, the Giants’ brass played the “nobody believed in us” card multiple times during the live trophy presentation, apparently trying to stick it to interviewer Terry Bradshaw and the free world in general for not picking the underdog club to advance. Then, some old lady ambushed an interview between Bradshaw and Giants receiver Victor Cruz to make the very same point, oblivious to the fact that this was being televised. No, lady, those cameras aren’t rolling – they’re just props.
There are two things wrong with this. For starters, why should anyone have bet their mortgage on the Giants? They lost four in a row at one point during the regular season and needed Tony Romo to go all Tony Romo just to make the playoffs. But, more than that, why in the hell do the savvy businessmen who own the team or the players that comprise it care what the media or the fans or Tim Tebow almighty think about their postseason odds?
How about being motivated by the desire or the team dynamic or self improvement or even money? But to be driven by outside and largely unfounded opinions? And then to feel the need to make that known during a moment of genuine triumph? Come on, man.
Meanwhile, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was throwing a tantrum of his own. After the winning kick, he barely shook hands – it was an epic dead-fish job – with counterpart Tom Coughlin, a veteran of the profession who was on the verge of being fired (again) just a few weeks ago and is far more disciplinarian than rabble-rouser. Coughlin was not going to pull a Jim Schwartz. In fact, he might have been more likely to start a dance battle than a confrontation.
Next, Harbaugh declined to do a postgame interview with Fox outside the losing lockerroom. Guess what, Coach? Much of that money you make ($5 million per season) is the result of the NFL’s massive television contract. Interviews are part of the job, win or lose. Granted, Harbaugh is notoriously competitive and his team was favored to win the home game. But how about a little professionalism and some context? It’s exceedingly rare for a team to reach the Super Bowl under a rookie head coach let alone just one year after going 6-10 – San Fran’s eighth consecutive season at .500 or worse. Winning championships is a process; he should understand the history of the league well enough to know and/or respect that.
After all, his brother, John, the head coach of the Ravens, had the good sense and composure to go through with a similar postgame interview after an arguably tougher loss at New England (his team botched one play to win and one to tie in the final seconds) just hours earlier.
Also … get off my lawn!
Am I more annoyed than I should be by this behavior? Yes. Am I using way too many questions marks in this piece? Absolutely. But it would be nice if the coaches, players and organizations decided to honor themselves and their fans in a way that was befitting their great games.