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Posted on: February 8, 2010 10:38 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2010 10:38 pm

Peyton Manning: Unsportsmanlike?

Peyton Manning didn't shake hands with New Orleans Saints players after his Indianapolis Colts lost 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV. Apparently some think this is a sign of poor sportsmanship from the NFL's greatest player. It's not.

Walking off the field without congratulating Drew Brees may go against our misguided notion of what sportsmanship should be, but it wasn't at all disrespectful or bitter. It shows how much Peyton Manning wanted to win the game. And who can argue about that? 

"It's just a job for these guys," is a familiar refrain. The natural response to that is the great ones make their job their passion. Hall of Fames don't tend to include guys who can't care. The desire to win is what sustains greatness. You think Michael Jordan was hugging Isiah Thomas after losses in the 1980s? Or that Larry Bird stayed on the court to congratulate Kareem? Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio weren't going out for drinks after the Yankees beat the Red Sox. The great ones are competitors and competitors can't flip a switch immediately after a devastating loss and act like it didn't matter.

Being a good sportsman is playing fair, respecting the game and giving credit after to an opponent. Manning did all those things Sunday. In his postgame press conference he said of his quick exit:

"I certainly know how it was three years ago when we won. There's not much consolation for the guys who didn't win. There's the stage being set up and the celebration. It's time for the Saints to celebrate. It's their field."

That's probably a tad disingenuous, but no more than it would have been if Peyton had walked over to congratulate Drew Brees.

For the record, Peyton did call Brees later in the night. Said the Saints quarterback: "Peyton's a class guy." If the man who was supposedly snubbed thinks so, that's enough for me.



Posted on: January 16, 2010 1:03 am

11 Minute Football Games

While watching the NFL's divisional playoff games this weekend, you may have more time to go to the refrigerator than you think.

According to a Wall Street Journal study of four games from week 16, the average NFL game features just 10 minutes 43 seconds of action. Commercials account for nearly 60 minutes of the three hour affairs. And when the networks are showing the game, the bulk of the time is spent either on replays or shots of players huddling, in pre-snap formations or "milling about."

The beauty of football is in the controlled chaos of those 120 or so snaps. Eleven men on one side trying to advance the ball while 11 men on the other try to stop it. That's the appeal of the game. 

Plus, in dramatic contests, the inaction is sometimes as exciting as the action. Football can maintain the drama throughout that 164 minutes of inactivity. Some of the best moments are in the build-up to the 4th and short or as the clock ticks down when a quarterback marches his team down the field. The 10 minutes and 43 seconds are what we watch for, but without the other time there'd be no context with which to enjoy it.

Some other highlights from the piece:

-- No, you're not just imagining things: Networks do show Brett Favre more often. In the Monday Night Football game studies by the WSJ's researchers, ESPN showed 41 percent more replays than other networks. A producer said it was because Favre is a "move the meter guy."

-- FOX shows the fewest replays and most shots of the sidelines.

-- Some producers only care about the cheerleaders if they're from the Dallas Cowboys.

Category: NFL
Tags: NFL, playoffs
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or