What We Learned This Week in the NFL Offseason:
- New England Patriots allow fans to exchange Aaron Hernandez jerseys
- Replacement ref who made “Fail Mary” call umps softball game for Seahawks
- The Pittsburgh Steelers turn 80 years old today
Hopefully everyone has recovered from a holiday weekend spent with several trips to the cooler for more beer and the meat sweats from all the grilled goodness. If you haven’t yet noticed, we are in the same month in which training camp opens so let that excitement sink in for a moment. It’s that time when you’re too excited to watch preseason games to remember how badly they suck.
The New England Patriots took another step to separate themselves from the ex-Patriots tight end and current murder suspect awaiting trial and under investigation for what seem like a gajillion other shootings, Aaron Hernandez this weekend. The team opened up their pro shop at Gillette Stadium to allow fans with the No. 81 jerseys to exchange them for any other jersey in stock. Hundreds stood in line wrapped around the stadium to exchange their jerseys on Saturday and Sunday. The fans could exchange their Hernandez jersey for any other jersey in stock, no reports yet on how many Tebow jerseys were picked up. Seems like the Jets should have done that for fans who bought the No. 15 Tebow for last season, right? But that would just have opened up the flood gates for fans wanting to exchange their Sanchez jerseys too I assume.
Remember the replacement refs from last season? Almost forgot about that debacle huh? Yeah me too. Just another instance of the complete effectiveness of Rogeez as commissioner. So well prepared and professional he put the safety and integrity of the game in the hands of dudes who weren’t qualified to referee lingerie football. The straw that broke the camel’s back on the labor dispute standoff that went on last season was the Green Bay vs. Seattle Monday Night Football game in which a final second hail mary throw by Russell Wilson to Golden Tate was clearly intercepted by M.D. Jennings and resulted in one referee signaling touchdown while the ref next to him signaled a time out, which would indicate the ball was intercepted in the end-zone. The call was upheld as a touchdown for the Seahawks because that’s how it was determined to be ruled on the field and could not have been overturned by replay. Shortly thereafter, the league resolved the labor dispute with the refs and the real guys got back to work. This weekend, Seattle Seahawk CB Richard Sherman hosted a charity softball game and invited Lance Easley, the man who made that erroneous TD call to umpire. Easley is obviously not refereeing anymore and even more obviously, writing a book to cash in on his fame of making one of the worst calls in sports history. Hopefully a lot of money was raised for Sherman’s charity in all this.
On this date in 1933 one Arthur Joseph Rooney took $2,500 and founded the fifth franchise in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Originally named the Pittsburgh Pirates, they joined the Chicago Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and New York Giants. The franchise we all love turns 80 years old today. I grew up loving the Steelers. The Steelers seemed like a part of the family to me growing up. My Pap had this cellar where the walls were lined with Steelers pictures right along with my dad’s Navy pictures and my uncles’ football and wrestling pictures. The Steelers still feel like a member of the family today. Through the ups and downs, they are by far the longest relationship I’ve ever had. Happy Birthday Steelers, here’s to 80 more!
I’d love to hear how all of you guys became part of Steeler Nation. Leave your Steelers history stories in the comments section!