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Kick returns, Tebow and tennis

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The crispness in the air tells you it's football weather. You step outside and know what season it is. What other sport has weather and temperature attached to it? Ah, the magic of football.....

Remember when the NFL instituted its new kickoff rule in the preseason? The powers-that-be wanted to "improve player safety" by moving up the placement of the kickoff to the 35-yard line. Fans immediately started shouting from the rooftops how the most exciting play in the game has been eliminated. 'Too many touchbacks!' they yelled. Petitions were passed around in an effort to get it changed back to the 30-yard line, like a petition would have ever worked. After one week, the NFL has never seen so many kick return touchdowns in a single weekend. Eight returners returned kicks for touchdowns during the opening weekend. Sure, there were more touchbacks, 79-of-152 to be exact. But it certainly didn't eliminate the kickoff return from the game. Maybe the NFL Competition Committee knows what they're doing after all. Could the committee made up of coaches, owners, executives and players possibly know more than some fans? Of course not....

Speaking of knowing more than a coaching staff, the fans in Denver have started calling and chanting for Tim Tebow to start at quarterback after one game. The coach who drafted Tebow in the first round, Josh McDaniels, was fired during last season. McDaniels may be the only coach who thinks Tebow can actually play. The fans in Denver spent much of the fourth quarter Monday night chanting, "We want Tebow!" much to Iowa-native and current starting quarterback Kyle Orton's chagrin. New coach John Fox is steadfast in his decision that Orton is his starting quarterback. Don't tell that to the nuts who are willing to spend 10 grand on two billboards in the Denver area that would say Tebow should start. A billboard to change a coach's mind? Do they think that will actually work? Thankfully, Tebow has said the billboards won't be necessary but that probably won't stop these Tebow fanatics. And for as crazy as the Tebow supporters are, the detractors might be crazier. It's one or the other with Tebow; there's very little middle ground. Tebow may be able to win some games, but Orton gives you the best chance to win right now, despite one of the worst fumbles seen in a while during Monday night's game....

Veering sharply away from the most-watched league in the country to perhaps the most underappreciated, the US Open was held over the last two weeks. The major men's tennis tournament in New York culminated with a showdown featuring No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic defeating No.2 Rafael Nadal Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, the sport-watching masses don't recognize or appreciate the greatness going on in men's tennis right now. Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer are the best tennis players the world has ever seen, and they're playing right now. I've only seen documentaries of Bjorn Bjorg and Johnny McEnroe, and Connors, Agassi and Sampras are also legends, but these three are in a class by themselves. The speed, power, precision and consistency they play with leaves me in awe. Federer has already passed Pete Sampras for most majors of all time, and if healthy, Nadal will give him a run for his money. Call me crazy, but I'll watch a tennis match featuring Djokovic, Nadal or Federer over the majority of other sports on television. I don't like missing opportunities to watch living legends in action....

Speaking of living legends, Mariano Rivera is about to become the all-time saves leader. He just recorded number 600. And that doesn't count all his postseason saves, which he is also the all-time leader (42). The most amazing part about Rivera is he did it all with one pitch. A cut fastball that's been closing out games and making hitters look foolish for the past 16 years. Don't miss your chance to see legends in action.

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I have Kyle Orton's autograph back from when he was a Bear and everyone was bitter that he chose Purdue over an Iowa university. That and the fact that I think Tebow is overhyped gives Orton the edge in my mind. Buying billboards just cements that fact, as I think anyone who is willing to spend money to complain doesn't deserve to get what they want, anyway.

-- Posted by notinia on Sat, Sep 17, 2011, at 8:49 AM

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Zach Jevne
Real Sports Talk
Zach joined the Daily Reporter staff as sports editor in March 2011. He is originally from Decorah, Iowa. He played baseball at University of Northern Iowa and studied multimedia journalism at Simpson College.