Monday, August 23, 2004

Mark Maddening


In Friday's Post-Gazette (subscription req.) Gerry Dulac speculates on the very short-term future of Jerome Bettis. In fact, he wouldn't be surprised if Bettis is cut before the start of the regular season. Specifically Dulac points to the signing of Staley, the desire to get Verron Haynes more carries and the emergence of 2nd-year player Dante Brown as three reasons Bettis may not be around in September.

Personally, I'd like to see Bettis in Pittsburgh for all of the 2004 season, but Dulac is entitled to his opinion. On the other hand, Mark Madden is not.

Madden, having been reduced to post his hare-brained articles on his radio website, wrote last week that Bettis should be cut, but his reasons bordered on the insane.

Contrary to popular belief, Bettis stinks in short-yardage situations. He has the power to bowl over a safety, but not a lineman. He proved that this past Saturday at Detroit, and in the Steelers’ recent intra-squad goal-line drill.

So, if the Steelers want the best chance at winning, Bettis figures to spend most of the season nailed to the bench.
Yep. That seems about right when you consider that Bettis had 10 carries for 48 yds and a TD Saturday against the Texans. Madden's yap once again gets in the way of rationality. But what's more ridiculous than Bettis being an awful short-yardage back is that Madden doesn't consider the consequences of someone like Staley getting injured (which happens often). What then, Verron Haynes? The same guy who has also been oft-injured during his short tenure in the NFL. Oh, Dante Brown is the answer? The same Dante Brown who was cut last season, clear waivers for 31 other teams, and spent the season on the practice squad?

Well, Madden goes from the riduculous to the imbecilic with the following observations:

Bettis, an attention whore by nature, won’t instigate open revolution (to Staley starting).

But Bettis will jump in front of microphones and cameras and – lips curled downward in bewilderment, eyes droopy with disappointment – say something approximating the following:

“Well, the coach is the coach and he’s making the decisions, but I don’t understand it. I’m in great shape and I think I still have a lot to contribute. Duce is great and I want what’s best for the team, but [here Jerome takes a poignant pause; cue violins]…I still think I can play. The record still shows I can still play.”

Actually, the record does anything but. He's been crap for two years. But Jerome isn’t one to let the truth get in the way of shrewd self-promotion.

It’s called sowing the seeds. Bettis won’t explode, won’t rip Duce, won’t blast Bill Cowher, won’t cry on the sidelines, won’t call a teammates-only meeting to deny being gay. Jerome will just play the humble, all-I-want-is-a-chance card.

And he will do it over and over again.

Sooner or later, the Steelers will play bad. Sooner or later, Staley will play bad, though it probably won’t be his fault. The whispers will start about Bettis deserving another chance, mainly because Jerome will have started them. And like he’s done so many times before, Cowher will turn to his Bus-sized security blanket.
Is Madden the worst-positioned person to accuse someone of shameless self-promotion? Ugh. This is the same chubby chap who spends most of his time making inane comments for no other reason than to get a rise out of people (like me, for example).

And to call Bettis an "attention whore," in one breath and then to say that Bettis won't "instigate an open revolution," "Bettis won't explode, won't rip Duce, won't blast Cowher, won't cry on the sidelines, won’t call a teammates-only meeting to deny being gay. Jerome will just play the humble, all-I-want-is-a-chance card," is a bit disengenious on Madden's part. How can you have it both ways. If you're talking about attention whores, you're usually taking about Terrell Owens and Deion Sanders. But Bettis? How did he make into that group? And how funny is it that Madden contradicts himself in the same article by calling Bettis an "attention whore" but then conceding that Bettis won't try to attract any negative attention if he doesn't start?

The good news is that Madden has been marginalized due to his dismissal from the Post-Gazette. The bad news is that I can't stop reading his dopey comments because they're so illogical and unreasonable and at the same time so amusing. Keep up the good work!