10 Things I Would Ask Pope Francis
Pope Francis I is "Poping" in the United States, and he's giving advice on political and social issues. You know you're big when you're speaking to Congress and the United Nations.
As a person raised Catholic (and I'm not a good one), I have some questions for him.
1. Does God care about the outcome of football games?
2. If no, does that explain why Notre Dame hasn't won a national title since 1988?
3. Is Tim Tebow an NFL Quarterback?
4. Has God considered talking to Tebow and letting him know he's not?
5. Is Bill Belichick the Devil?
6. Are St. Louis Cardinals fans Satan's messengers on Earth?
7. Did you have Kentucky winning March Madness in your Vatican bracket poll last spring?
8. You know you can't wear white after Labor Day in America, right?
9. Is your visit sponsored by Fiat and DraftKings?
10. How many Hail Marys do I owe you for writing this post?
Spygate, Deflategate, now HeadsetGate?
There was actual football on Thursday night as the Patriots had the opening game of the 2015 season to celebrate their Super Bowl 49 win with a symphony, T-Pain and Robert Kraft walking out with the Lombardi trophy while "All I Do is Win" was performed live.
The Patriots beat the Steelers 28-21 after a four touchdown performance by Tom Brady, the man centered around a controversy involving under-inflated balls, who had his four-game suspension wiped out by a federal judge because the National Football League mishandled their "independent" investigation.
So you have the pomp and circumstance, the national anthem and finally! Kickoff. Time to put all controversy aside, right?
Well, that was until the first quarter when it was reported that the Steelers coaches were receiving the Patriots radio broadcast in their ear.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said there have been headset issues in the past when his team plays in Foxboro.
Uh, oh! Do we have another case of cheating by New England?!
No. This isn't stealing signs or letting air out of footballs to get a competitive edge. It's an odd coincidence that just happened to occur at Gillette Stadium, home to the team that many are convinced have cheated their way to four Super Bowl titles in the last 13 years.
Tomlin was clearly irritated during his postgame Thursday night. First, his team lost, and second, he's listening to Bob Socci and homer color commentator Scott Zolak in his ear during the first half while trying to talk to his coordinators and other coaches upstairs. Tomlin is the more vocal version of Belichick. Bill will disregard your question with a scowl and mumble, but Tomlin will be short and direct with you.
The NFL said that the malfunction was due to the heavy rain, and the league does control communication on the sidelines. It's an embarrassing moment for them, but some will try to come up with a theory that the Patriots have a man on the staff they call "The Transmitter" who tampered with the Steelers signal to gain a competitive edge.
If you think that, I hope you're wearing your tin foil hat.
Even Bill Belichick said the Patriots experienced some issues. He wasn't specific on what he was receiving in his ear, but don't think for a second he was receiving Keith Butler calling out defensive plays. The way Brady and Gronkowski abused the Steelers secondary, it wasn't necessary. Also, the Patriots head coach said they've had issues before.
But please, for the love of God, do not turn this into another "Gate" situation.
I am "gated" out, and a lot of people who follow the NFL are, too.
Roger Goodell, who was probably in a secret, underground bunker watching the game Thursday night, moaned when he heard Al Michaels say that the Steelers were getting the Patriots radio team in their ear.
But, with the NFL news cycle operation on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year format, it will have a clever nickname and hashtag on Twitter, and with the Patriots' reputation, people will look far too deep into this headset thing.
Side note: Former Patriots tight end, current convicted killer and bad prison inmate Aaron Hernandez was brought up by Chris Collinsworth during the NBC broadcast Thursday night. It was like the joke a comedian makes during a roast that makes the audience groin and go "oh". Too soon? Yes. It will always be "too soon" for Hernandez.
For the fourth-straight year, it's the good, the bad and usually ugly of the FBS-FCS matchups to open the college football season.
Every year, most of these FCS schools are at the mercy of Power 5 conference teams that need a tune-up before they face a school from Conference USA or the Sun Belt the following week. Sometimes, those schools get the great pay day and an upset victory that people will talk about for years (remember Appalachian State's win over Michigan in 2007?).
There were two FCS upsets this weekend, but it did not involve any program that has a legitimate shot at the college football playoff. When you see who they are, you will understand.
THE GOOD- FCS teams that knocked off the FBS that paid them to show up and be beat (but didn't)
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 41, KANSAS 38
-The Jayhawks are a colossal mess. Charlie Weis was the only person to come out a winner at Kansas last season. Even after being fired four games in, he's still making millions from his Notre Dame contract and now the one at Kansas. Weis is a mediocre college coach who still gets big paychecks from one of the most prominent college football programs in the country. Now he's got K.U. paying him seven figures to not work for them.
Worst of all, in-state rival Kansas State mocked them with their marching band's halftime show. That doesn't look like the Starship Enterprise, Mr. Spock.
PORTLAND STATE 24, WASHINGTON STATE 17
The Vikings are from the Big Sky Conference and beat the Cougars, who were 3-9 overall, and dead last in the Pac 12 North division.
THE BAD- Lopsided scores that just missed being "ugly".
RUTGERS 63, NORFOLK STATE 13
-Kicking five players off the team didn't hurt the Scarlett Knights. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Spartans were shut out 42-0 in the second half after going into the locker room only down 21-13 at halftime.
MIAMI (FL) 45, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 0
The Canes scored 31 in the first half and coasted with two more scores. Another yawner. Next up for the U...Florida Atlantic! At least they are FBS. The Wildcats, who hail from Daytona Beach, had to endure a lightning delay on top of being shut out.
THE UGLY- What most of us expect from these games
OLE MISS 76, TENNESSEE-MARTIN 3
-The SEC has bragging rights as the best conference in college football. One criticism would be the scheduling of pushovers at the start and in-between games against conference opponents. The Rebels made easy picking of the Skyhawks. They play New Mexico State at home and Memphis on the road October 10 and 17. Hotty Toddy y'all!
GEORGIA TECH 69, ALCORN STATE 6
-The Yellow Jackets will be force to be reckoned with in the ACC this season. The Braves provided a nice tune up for Georgia Tech's triple option offense.
CALIFORNIA 73, GRAMBLING STATE 14
-It was 52-0 at halftime. Grambling State scored twice in the final quarter against all of Cal's backups.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN (UGLY)
LSU and McNeese State was cancelled due to lightning in Baton Rogue. Mother nature prevented a potential slaughtering by the Tigers. Some places just can't escape late summer weather that puts a damper on the first few weeks of the season.
HONORABLE MENTION "WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN"
CONNECTICUT 20, VILLANOVA 15
-The American Athletic Conference is Conference USA 2, but the Huskies losing to the Wildcats would have killed that buzz for the upcoming rivalry game against Central Florida later this season. You know. The one coach Bob Diaco created? Yeah, it's sad. So is the status of what used to be the Big East football conference.