Steelers 23, Bengals 20
So, these are the images of the NFL this morning.
First things first, the recap.
Trailing 17-3 at the half, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger tossed a pair of second half touchdowns before Chris Boswell’s 38-yard field goal in the final seconds capped off a dizzying comeback.
There were, as per usual between these teams, some significant injuries. Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was laid out in the fourth quarter by Steelers wide receiver Ju Ju Smith Schuster and before that, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier had to be carted off the field with what appeared to be a serious back injury.
Now, back to the bigger story.
EDITORS NOTE: If you don't want to be informed about what the bigger ramifications for last night's events mean to me, move on to the next story. You've been warned).
There was no shortage of nastiness on the field last night, and while we can sit here and offer up the obligatory "thoughts and prayers" to players who had to be helped off the field, the reality is that football is a violent sport, and until the absolute worst thing happens on the field it's not likely to change.
Player safety, increased fines, suspensions and even the most significant studies on the long-term effects of injuries isn't going to change the brutality of the business.
And many of you don't want it to change.
Once again, the bravery of being out of range comes full circle.
In between calls from so-called prayer warriors on social media last night come the other side of the fence, with such comments as "They signed on for this... they knew what they were getting in to... they earn millions and millions of dollars."
True. True. And true.
But even knowing that they did sign on for this, and they did know what they were getting in to and they do earn a great deal of money, at what point does civility go away?
Because if the line of demarcation between sympathy and a lack thereof is their millions of dollars in cash, then it stands to reason there must be a line the other direction.
What's the minimum amount of value we place on human beings who we don't know and have never met in our lives? Do the thoughts and prayers mean more or less because of a person's net worth?
This isn't about football anymore. This is glorified violence. And we love it, we watch it (yes, a lot of you do despite your pleas and insistence that you don't), and we feast on it because it doesn't negatively effect us.
I'm not interested in what amount of fine a player will be asked to pay. I'm not interested in a suspension anymore. I'm interested in the idea that we (not just football fans, but people in general) seem to be more and more concerned about whether a player voices his concerns about his hometown or our general lack of common decency, but we're perfectly alright with endorsing, encouraging and even embracing corporate-influenced brutality.
When a player gets hurt on your fantasy football roster, you replace them.
When a player gets hurt on your favorite football team, yeah it sucks for that team, but you give it a passing moment of thought and move on with your life.
As well you should, because you've got your own life to live.
But thoughts and prayers aren't going to cover it anymore.
We're becoming sanctimonious punks with every passing day in which we refuse to take into consideration that those who entertain us are engaging in something so brutal we couldn't imagine doing it ourselves.
I'm off the soapbox.
LiAngelo no longer a Bruin - Sports world doesn't collapse
LaVar Ball told ESPN that he has pulled his son LiAngelo out of UCLA.
LiAngelo Ball, a freshman, is one of three UCLA basketball players who were indefinitely suspended after a shoplifting incident in China.
Ball, the middle Ball brother, did not play a single game in college after being suspended from the team -- along with teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.
"I'm not sitting back and waiting," LaVar Ball told ESPN. "He wasn't punished this bad in China."
"We get back over here and the consequences were even stiffer than China. So basically they're in jail here."
UCLA coach Steve Alford issued a statement later Monday.
"We learned today of LiAngelo Ball's intention to withdraw from UCLA," he said. "We respect the decision he and his family have made, and we wish him all the best in the future."
Ball told ESPN he hasn't decided where LiAngelo will play this season.
But dad's gonna throw a hissy fit and we're all going to sit back and get a good giggle.
McAdoo, Reese fired.... and it looks like Eli is back
Well, time for a new streak to begin.
With the announcement yesterday of the firings of New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo as well as general manager Jerry Reese also comes reports that quarterback Eli Manning will get his starting job for the final four games of the regular season, particularly this weekend when the Giants play host to the Dallas Cowboys.
Let's call it what it is. A good choice for a marketing spin on what otherwise is a trainwreck of a season.
If all goes well, Manning will get three more home games this season before he's dealt someplace else.
But a few extra ticket sales before the tearful goodbye will go a long way.
Gronkowski gets a one-game suspension
Just as most people expected, Rob Gronkowski has been suspended for one game for a cheap hit that no one could have expected.
The Patriots star tight end will be out for one game over his violating the NFL's rules on unnecessary roughness.
The suspension stems from Sunday's 23-3 win over Buffalo, in which Gronkowski hit Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White with a late elbow to the neck while the defender was down and out of bounds after the play was whistled dead.
Gronkowski was quickly flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play, which saw White pick off the ball before the Patriots pass-catcher lowered the boom. The eighth-year tight end later apologized to White, who currently is in the league's concussion protocol. -- Wire services
Oh yeah.... one more thing.
I don't know where this photo comes from.
I don't know when it was taken.
I simply do not care.
It's Jennifer Lawrence, and she's talking about armpit fat.
I think she's adorable. Armpit fat and all.