Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Slow Walking Is The Last Legal Taunt

In SNF's evisceration / division home game held serve with authority where Seattle curb-stomped San Francisco, there was an utterly lovely moment for those of us who had Seattle plus the points. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw a nice ball out into the flat against a goal line blitz, finding RB Marshawn Lynch at the Niner 2-yard line. With no defensive player within 50 feet of him, Lynch secured the ball, looked around, then went into super slo-mo mode to inch the ball over the line for the score. And we had one more moment of These Teams Don't Follow Each Other On Facebook OR Twitter... but more importantly, we achieved the great and good moment of Utterly Legal, Can Never Be Stopped, Taunting. Which is about to become more rare than a 3-and-out against a team with a good offense.

Well, no reason to describe it, really. Here's the play right here.

Now, I want to leave aside the fact that Seattle may have a discipline issue, and that this spectacularly talented and tough team may sow the seeds of their own destruction in moments like Lynch's play. CB Richard Sherman might be the best cover corner and biggest trash talker in the NFL, and his gorgeous pick in the second half was punctuated by a sideline dance-off with the cheerleaders; that kind of thing can come back to haunt you in scramble roll ups or guys diving at your legs in runbacks. Keep in mind that Seattle has also led the league in PED violations over the past few years, which also speaks to a certain lack of discipline, and HC Pete Carroll has never seemed like the taskmaster type. That ball-spinning flag from WR Sidney Rice is also all kinds of dumb, too.

One other not so small point: I don't, as a matter of course, basic human decency and he fact that I'm a hobbit, engage in trash talk very often myself. If I'm in a head to head fantasy league and looking to entertain, maybe. On the blog, perhaps. At the poker table, really pretty rare, and never with anyone who I have not known for years and years, as kind of a meta-joke. I'm not saying that people are wrong to talk trash, or that it's not a defensible strategy to get your opponent off their game. It's just not what I was brought up with, and the simple fact of the matter is that those habits are learned very early.

Which isn't to say that I don't secretly love it, mostly as a writing exercise. If there's nothing else on the TV and I need something in the background to keep me awake and typing, I will fire up pro wrestling purely in the hopes of finding a good heel talker on the mic. Getting people upset is an art form at things like comedy roasts, and a fair amount of effective modern stand-up comedy is just saying awful things in a fairly post-modern way. Times are tough, and in those times, humor goes for the edge. (Historically true fact, that. Check out baseball nicknames from the '30s. "Losing Pitcher" was one of the nicer ones.)

The No Fun League is moving towards litigating against profanity now, along with the tragedy of ball spinning, and within a few years, just about everything else you can imagine. If the Chip Kelly Blur Offense takes hold, you'll also see less first down celebrations and runs up the sideline, since getting the ball back to the refs to spot it quickly is mission critical. (No wonder DeSean Jackson is picking up flags this year, right? He's pent-up. Also, given the lack of a credible WR2, beat up. But I digress.) The highlight shows don't broadcast your touchdown celebrations any more, either. So what's a happy football player, especially one who wants to delight in the defeat of others, to do?

Well, slow-walk in your score, since you could have just blown a hammy there, or you are looking to take time off the clock as a strategic move, and the refs can't judge the quality of your heart in that strolling moment. And also, look for other ways to get in your taunts. Personally, I long for the Random Picture Sign Movement on the sidelines for signals from the coach to go to things like showing the wives of the opposing team's players, especially if they've got a background in modeling. But since the players don't have input on those, probably not...

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