Two weeks in and the NFL’s already adding fun to water-cooler conversations — unless of course you’re a long-suffering Browns fan and you wish it were possible to drown yourself in said cooler.
For those who flick channels from pregame show to pregame show Sunday mornings looking for that one tip for your fantasy league or booki…yes, fantasy league team, two topics dominated discussion.
No, nothing about the Browns. Surprise.
One was Ndamukong Suh; the other Tom Brady.
Suh was the main topic du jour, which wasn’t shocking considering NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell just dropped a $100,000 fine on the third-year player for playing like the beast he had a reputation of being when the Detroit Lions drafted him out of Nebraska. (I suspect his old team could use him right about now after the UCLA Bruins dropped 41 points on them this past weekend).
Suh’s intense. He plays like the Incredible Hulk on angel dust and apparently he’s borderline out of control. But is he a dirty player?
“Yes. He’s been verging on for a long time, and I’ve been a big Suh supporter, but when you never take responsibility,” said Tom Jackson of ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown, “… right now, he’s got to make an adjustment.”
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, a man known for playing with ferocity, suggested that it might be best to figure out where Suh’s rage originates. That might be a start.
“Ndamukong Suh is dealing with a completely different mindset,” he said, “and if we don’t get into these athletes’ mindset to understand where they come from and what they’ve been through, then it’s going to be a hard time figuring out.”
And apparently Suh doesn’t discriminate, which, under normal circumstances, would be a good thing.
“You talk to people inside Detroit and they say even in practice, Ndamukong gives guys the business,” Fox NFL Sunday insider Jay Glazer said. “He’ll slam a guy’s head against the ground, he’ll stomp on a guy, he’ll take little shots at guys, and guys are concerned that if he can’t control himself even in practice, how can he control himself against somebody else’s jersey?”
The reality just might be that Suh is a guy out of his time. The NFL has tried to police as much of the violence out of the league as possible without turning it into Pop Warner football. But no matter who has coached him, Suh has tried to knock the snot out of his opponents. He’s accomplishing that mission.
“If Ndamukong Suh had lined up next to me in 1985, he’d be revered,” said Fox NFL Sunday analyst and hall of famer Howie Long, who played for the Oakland Raiders. “Someone needs to show him a newspaper — it’s 2013 and the reality is they’re going to take your money and inevitably they’re going to sit you down, and nobody wants to see Ndamukong Suh on the bench. He needs to be on the field.”
And after Suh goes double live gonzo on the field, you now have Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots, caught — GASP — yelling at receivers on the sidelines during an ugly win over the New York Jets. That game was so ugly I watched Big Bang Theory reruns that I’ve already seen five or more times.
This isn’t one of those Patriots teams that slices through its competitors with precision.
“Tom Brady’s never been in a position where things were bad for him. He walked right into a good situation, but this is bad right now especially if Danny Amendola doesn’t come back,” said Terry Bradshaw on Fox NFL Sunday.
That about sums it up. In the end, Brady received some criticism in the Twitterverse for doing exactly what nearly all truly competitive quarterbacks have done in the past.
CBS college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg, a native of East Cleveland and a former Ohio State Buckeye, and Greg Anthony will be changing places. Kellogg will return to being the primary in-studio analyst (he will still call the occasional game), and Anthony moves to the top announcing team with veteran Jim Nantz.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Sports Media blog at http://www.ohio.com/blogs/sports-media. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www .facebook.com/sports.abj.