What happened at The Palace in Auburn Hills on Friday is a wakeup call – not only for the athletes but for the fans. They must realize that sporting events are supposed to be enjoyed. Sports are supposed to be entertainment.
The incident made me stop and take a look at where sports are now. I wonder whether we've gone too far as a society in what we expect of players and athletes. I wonder why there's this outright disrespect for the opposition.
People still tell me things like "I used to hate you because I'm a Bears fan." What sense does that make? Brett Favre broke my heart plenty of times, but man, I love him as a player. I never rooted against him or wished for something bad to happen to him.
In my mind, the fan has gone too far. Fans think that, because someone is a professional athlete, he's not a human being. A person can only take so much – one can only have so many things done to him. I try to put myself in Ron Artest's shoes, and if someone threw something at me like that, I don't know what I would've done.
(Those who made great strides in Week 11)
1. Cutting Edge. Edgerrin James is so important to the Indianapolis Colts. What Peyton Manning is doing is amazing, but if they're going to really make a mark in the playoffs, the Colts are going to have to run the football, especially outdoors. Being able to eat up the clock with the running attack makes Indy's defense stronger, too.
2. Pro Boller. It's nice to see the development of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller. Every week, he's getting better. He made some nice throws against Dallas and squeezed the ball into some tight spots to pick up more first downs than usual. It was his best game of the season.
3. Top Bill-ing Willis McGahee rushed for over 100 yards for the fourth time this season, all victories. The Buffalo Bills' second-year back really takes pressure off quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Just imagine what McGahee is going to be like for the Bills next season when his leg is stronger.
(Those who dropped the ball in Week 11)
1. Relapsing Rams. Does anybody want to win the NFC West? Orchard Park is not an easy place to play, but the St. Louis Rams find themselves at .500 and in second place behind Seattle again after losing 37-17 to the Bills.
2. Sorry Saints. It's not too early to talk about Jim Haslett being the next coach to lose his job. It's not just that the New Orleans Saints are losing; it's how. Owner Tom Benson said they played like high school kids. That's always an indictment on the coach.
3. Big D(isappointment). It's over for the Dallas Cowboys, who suffered their fifth loss in six games – four of the defeats by 20 points or more. They make a lot of careless mistakes and don't play defense like we're used to seeing them play. It's impossible for them to win if their defense isn't good.
You can tell Eli Manning is going to be a good quarterback in the NFL just by the way he goes about doing things, and I was pretty pleased with his first NFL start. Facing a very good Atlanta Falcons defense, he kept the New York Giants in the game, but he could've used a little more help on the outside from his wide receivers.
When you have a young quarterback like that, receivers need a lot of separation from the defensive backs, so I partly blame the receivers for not getting open enough and giving Eli enough space to throw the ball.
Now, I don't know what happened for Green to decide to bench McCown, but in the long run I think the move will benefit the team. Green realizes he can't win the NFC West. So if he can make his mark now by benching the starting quarterback, it'll get the players' attention and command more respect from them in the future.
I don't think Steve Mariucci should bench Joey Harrington. It's not all his quarterback's fault. The Detroit Lions aren't getting many opportunities to score because their defense isn't forcing turnovers like it was earlier in the season. Plus teams have made adjustments to rookie wide receiver Roy Williams, who had a hot start but has been banged up.
The Minnesota Vikings' comeback against the Lions really showed the maturity of Daunte Culpepper. Detroit totally outplayed them for three quarters, but even without his No. 1 receiver, Culpepper rallied the Vikings back from a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit. This Vikings team isn't like last year's team that played its way out of a playoff berth. These Vikings are far more mature and far more balanced.
Final thought: We're moving into the late part of November when things are really starting to take form as far as the playoffs. It's nice to see the teams that aren't headed for the postseason still playing with a lot of heart.