This week will sound like an all Steelers WTF because, let's face it, when you are on Monday Night Football, and playing an AFC North rival like the Cincinnati Bengals, anything can happen.
And it did.
First, I really have to take ESPN to task for some WTF moments that make me think they have outstayed their welcome when it comes to football announcing.
For one thing, do your homework! Know player's names and how to pronounce those names. Now I am not talking about Patriots TE Michael Hoomanawanui. I could see giving a free pass for a name like that. (Even though in his third year his name is spelled wrong on his jersey for purchase at their local stadium!)
Let's, talk Steelers names. We know that everyone loves to butcher Martavis Bryant's name, by adding extra vowels in his first name. But to call Antonio Brown "Antonio Bryant", or William Gay "Randall Gay", WTF? These players are not new to the league, and they mostly well-known, on one of the most prolific teams playing in primetime. Do your job! Get the names right. WTF?
Now in saying that, I have to give some grief to ESPN host and former Raiders and Tampa Bay coach, Jon Gruden. He would not stop with his misguided lovefest of words featuring none other than Vontaze Burfict of the Bengals who has been and continues to be one of the dirtiest players in all of the NFL. Gruden would not stop gushing (yes it was gushing) about how talented Burfict is. He also couldn't believe how hard-hitting JuJu Smith-Schuster could knock him out!
Does he not know the history of Burfict and the Steelers? Or Burfict and other players he has intentionally injured in the league?
Also, his comments on flags that were thrown where he didn't see the penalty, when clearly a jersey was being pulled or a player held for an obvious pass interference was embarrassing. I think he is rusty and needs to get back to coaching.
Speaking of the same game, did you see the hit that George Iloka put on Antonio Brown? AB was a defenseless receiver catching the ball in the end zone, and Iloka came in late, leading with his helmet to make contact with Brown's helmet. I am surprised AB got up.
Iloka, along with Smith-Schuster received one-game suspensions for their respective hits... oh wait, Iloka's was appealed and reduced to a fine, while JuJu's appeal was denied. WTF?!
New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski also received a one-game suspension for a late hit, which was much more malicious.
In the fourth quarter of Sunday's game, White intercepted a pass from Tom Brady. While lying face-down on the sideline, Gronkowski came up from behind, took a few stutter steps, like you see in professional wrestling, and then dove onto White; not into, ONTO, sending his forearm and shoulder into the back of White's head.
— Dan Fetes (@danfetes) December 3, 2017
White's head bounced off the ground and he was helped off the field by an assistant and placed in the concussion protocol. Gronkowski was widely criticized around the NFL for the hit on Buffalo White that even the Bills called "dirty." It was the dirtiest, from a player who isn't known to be a dirty player, but if we are trying to set an example of what not to do, and protect players, then how is this viewed as the same suspension penalty as a live play hit? WTF!
The play was over. He was on the sideline. Even Gronkowski said he did it out of frustration. He knew it was wrong. But one-game for all three players? The league has no consistency in their punishments.
The only reason that "Gronk" did not get a more substantial suspension? They weren't playing in primetime like the Monday Night Football game. They were in a small market, playing the Bills, and half the NFL viewing world didn't see it. This league has to stop being so reactive and take the time to differentiate between hits, penalties, fines, suspensions, and yes the player's history.
Going back to the Steelers game, most Pittsburgh fans are grinning at the WTF of Marvin Lewis and the Bengals blowing a 17-point lead and being penalized 174 yards.
Will he have a job in 2018? (Doubtful!)
I will end our WTF this week with a plea to those "fans" out there from other teams to stop with the rude and obnoxious comments about wanting injured players to stay injured or worse. One of the tweets we had the displeasure of reading said: "I hope Shazier's legs are broken so we can now win our division."
WTF people? Have some humanity.
That is truly a disgusting WTF moment. These players are also family men. Show some compassion.
Until next week.