As a result of their AFC Championship and resulting Super Bowl berth, the Ravens have finally received some well-deserved national media attention. Unfortunately, the media wield swords that cut both ways.
Upon arrival in balmy New Orleans, where yesterday’s high temperature was 68 degrees, Joe Flacco was asked about his thoughts on hosting future Super Bowls in outdoor venues in cold weather areas. In other words, reporters wanted to know what he thought about next year’s championship scheduled at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Even though he grew up in nearby Audubon, New Jersey, the usually understated quarterback flatly remarked, “I think it’s retarded.” Probably sensing the record needle scratching the room into silence and feeling the blind side rush of the politically correct mob, he scrambled out of his rhetorical pocket and immediately revised his statement, “I probably shouldn’t say that. I think it’s stupid.”
Oh, but the damage was already done. Joe’s picture prominently adorns today’s New York Post along with the title line of “Joe Wacco.”
Retarded. Say it’s not so! Oh the humanity!
A brief search of the great information cache that many call the internet allows one to quickly determine the origin of the “R-Word.” Thanks to dictionary.com, I now know that “retarded” is a derivative of the Latin words retardare and tardus which mean to delay, protract, loiter or be slow. The website acknowledges that the term has an offensive use in declaring that someone or something is foolish. Either way, it seems unlikely that George Carlin should add “retarded” to his list of seven words that cannot be said on television.
Despite the backlash from the legions of overly sensitive cold-climate dwellers, Joe Flacco is right. It is retarded (i.e. foolish) to host a Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in a location where Mother Nature has proven that she has a better than even chance of distributing misery in the form of snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain on the fans, players, and coaches.
One would think that the individual responsible for coordinating the league’s business decisions would agree with Flacco since miserable fans would likely spend less money than happy ones. But apparently, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell chose this moment to stand up for the integrity and tradition of the game. “…[F]ootball is made to be played in the elements,” he told the New York Post.
This statement comes from a man who has overtly (and unapologetically) led the charge to modify such basic rules of the game as how defenders tackle.
Bernard Pollard recently made minor headlines when he stated that the NFL might cease to exist in thirty years. While there is a certain amount of hyperbole in this statement, his reasoning is sound. If the rules continue changing to the point that defenders can’t defend, we’ll end up with 2-hand touch contests that look an awful lot like the Pro Bowl. And we know how popular those are with fans outside the greater Honolulu area…
So, while Goodell doesn’t want defenders inflicting hardship on ball carriers or receivers, he doesn’t have problem exposing all the players – and the fans – to Mother Nature’s vagaries.
Now that’s retarded.