Mike’d Up (8/31/2013)

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Michael Kelley

By Michael Kowaleski ’13 | Editor in Chief and Michael Kelley ’13 | Sports Editor

 

With rumors swirling that the NFL may start protecting offensive players from low hits, defensive players could soon be caught in a catch-22.

Kelley: There is no need to rehash all of the concussion talk. Been there, done that –that storyline has been beaten to a bloody pulp. Defensive players are now well aware that fines will be given for high hits on defenseless players. Naturally, hits below the knees have increased in frequency.
The shining example of what this results in is the legal low hit that ended Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller’s season. It was announced that the NFL Competition Committee will review that hit and similar ones throughout the upcoming season to decide if the rules need to be changed.
So, if high hits and low hits on defenseless players will be penalized, what other area is left to hit? Safety Ryan Clark of the Steelers has said that if the NFL decides to change that rule, they might as well put flags on the players. That’s a bit extreme, but there is a point. Sooner rather than later, it seems that a defender’s job will be even harder because of the new rules.

 

Kowaleski: You know, Mike, I really sympathize with the NFL’s dilemma here. On the one hand, NFL alumni are banging down the door suing the hell out of the league for injuries sustained while playing. They want to stop that, as anyone would want to avoid a lawsuit. So they want to implement rules to make the game safer and subsequently save themselves money.
On the other hand, the main reason they have that money is because the NFL is contemporary gladiatorial entertainment. Making it safer deprives fans of the violence we crave. We’ve been complaining about these rules since their inception. “Take the skirts off!” we yell.
So they are, as we mention above, in a catch-22, especially with the low vs. high impacts. While I’m not sure that kind of hit was 100% necessary in a preseason game (disclaimer: I’m also a Dolphins fan), I agree with D.J. Swearinger that he isn’t left with many options under the current rules.
Perhaps the best course of action is to develop better equipment and padding. Has anyone even mentioned that yet?

 

A major rivalry is brewing between the Knicks and the Nets for the title of New York’s team. NBA Commissioner David Stern took steps this week to calm the storm a bit by meeting with the owners of both teams.

Kelley: The NBA lacks a true rivalry and now has the makings of one right in front of them. Ever since the move to Brooklyn, NY, the Nets and the incumbent Knicks have been exchanging barbs with the residents, from the owners down to the players, and of course, the fans.
The Nets have exploded onto the scene, jamming their roster with All-Stars in the attempt to win now. Brooklyn has made its intentions clear to become New York’s team. But rightly so, the Knicks aren’t quite ready to yield that title.
So, putting two and two together, it seems we have quite the rivalry ahead for this season. Fan interest is through the roof. But halt all of that – David Stern has decided he wants to act as school principle and calm the feuding between Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Knicks owner James Dolan.
No matter what Stern happened to say, there is no stopping this rivalry. It’s ridiculous he even attempted to tell two grown men to play nice. With the opportunity to catapult league popularity to an even higher level, Stern should be embracing this, not preventing it.

 

Kowaleski: The days of rivalries like Celtics-Lakers, Bulls-Pistons, and Knicks-Pacers have long since passed. While the Heat vs. everyone else (most notably Pacers, Celtics, and Bulls) has been entertaining, we need subplots to distract ourselves while The Show that is Miami isn’t playing.
Sure, the Hollywood-glitter Lakers vs. Clippers is entertaining, but we need something else.
The crosstown potential presented by the Knicks-Nets is a goldmine. Stern is probably one of the most shrewd and devious commissioners ever. Not the elderly and addled fool he pretends to be. I believe Stern has orchestrated many events in the NBA’s history to increase revenue. My conspiracy theory stretches as far back as Michael Jordan’s first retirement—the world’s greatest star retires unexpectedly, only to return a year later? Ratings bonanza. Imagine if LeBron did that, played football for a year, and came back to the NBA, TV records would be broken.
Things have played out wonderfully for Stern over his career. I see this as a thinly veiled ploy to not quash the rivalry, but promote it even further. How many more people are talking about this now that Stern held this meeting?
Expect the Knicks-Nets to be highly promoted in the upcoming season, and for this meeting to be referenced many times in the process.