Every day there are three things, here are those three things.
1) Bengals/Steelers. Let's start with them, even though I've blogged about last night here, here, and here. Frankly, the mechanics of how and why the Bengals lost is uninteresting to me. The ongoing toxicity of the team/fan relationship and what they do to repair it is far more intriguing than Marvin Lewis' laughably bad clock management or whatever plays the Bengals didn't make.
Apathy has set in, something I'd never thought I'd see. Most of my friends are at least casual Bengals fans, many of whom would ordinarily revolve their entire Monday around a prime time game against the Steelers. Yet I know more people who didn't watch last night than did, and sitting in PBS last night, it was hard not to notice the thousands of empty seats. I don't claim to have a perfect feel for the pulse of this city, but it feels like all of Cincinnati is either shrugging its shoulders at the Bengals or pointing and laughing.
It feels like this isn't worth mentioning, because it's never felt more certain that the Bengals are moving on from their coach, but with their relationship with the public having eroded as quickly as the public's trust in Marvin Lewis, they simply can't repair what's been broken if they bring him back.
As for the violence last night...
The onus is on the players to play the game according to modern sensibilities. You can draft all kinds of new rules, develop better equipment, hand out suspensions, and dole out fines, and if guys aren't vigilant in doing what's needed to avoid putting themselves and each other in harm's way, then all of it's useless.
The truth is that many players do not care enough about player safety to avoid compromising themselves and the guys they share a field with, and there's nothing the NFL can do to make them. There were players on both teams using their own bodies to injure guys on the other team. Until I stop seeing what I saw last night - and let's face it, a lot of us like what we saw last night - then I refuse to believe that NFL players give two shits about player safety.
I'm not sure the rest of us do either. Sports sites are filled today with pieces decrying what happened on the PBS turf last night. It's being called "bad football," "difficult to watch" and "a bad look for the NFL. Maybe those things are true.
But I'll guess that the average football viewer would prefer a game that looked like last night's over one where the hits weren't as brutal.
2) No apology needed. I think we're all taked-out on the aftermath of UC/XU from Saturday, except maybe for those I've seen holding out hope for Mick Cronin to apologize.
To that crowd, I ask why you think he should apologize?
If you think Mick was in the wrong, is an "I'm sorry" going to appease you? If you can't stand Mick Cronin, will you change your mind because he showed some contrition? If you're upset with the way Saturday went down, won't a look back at what could've been done differently keep all parties from moving on?
And do you want an apology from someone who doesn't really feel that he was in the wrong?
3) Late College Football Playoff takes. These will be brief, mainly because they're belated...
Alabama > Ohio State. The Crimson Tide were, and are, the better team.
UCF went 12-0 and finished 12th in the rankings. Can't make recruiting in the American Athletic Conference much easier. And so much for the AAC's "Power 6" campaign.
End of College Football Playoff takes.
This wasn't my best effort. My apologies.
Radio Show: Exasperation. Today. With Tony Pike. At 3:05 on ESPN1530.