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Friday, October 7, 2016

Rob’s Rants on Sports: Sixers Lose Simmons—For How Long? Howard Bids Farewell to Phillies Fans; Goodell Should Chill, and Gives Brady a Deflategate Gift

Bye weeks are always tough on football fans—particularly this week, when the NFL offered up some terrible games on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the Eagles not playing wasn’t the worst part of the weekend for Philadelphia sports fans as Ben Simmons of the 76ers went down with a foot injury last Friday. At least the dull football choices on Sunday afternoon gave fans a chance to watch (part of?) Ryan Howard’s likely last game in a Phillies uniform. Here’s my latest sports rants:

  • A week later, I’m still numb to the news that Simmons broke his foot in the last scrimmage of training camp. But I don’t want to hear any of the garbage about sitting him for the season. On Sunday, Keith Pompey of the Inquirer, echoed many, including Simmons’ agent from what I’ve heard on radio, writing, “The 76ers should strongly consider ending Ben Simmons’ season before it officially begins.” Later, he added, “The typical recovery time for a Jones fracture is six to eight weeks. Teams usually add two to three weeks for recovery time. He’ll be out around three months just to make sure an eager-to-play Simmons won’t be rushed back.” No! Sitting Simmons all season would be absurd. The injury occurred in September. I’m not ripping Pompey, but even by the timetable he reported, Simmons is back right after the new year. That leaves four months of a six month season. There’s zero reason to sit him after that (assuming normal recovery). It’s unbelievable how Hinkie-ized Philly has become! Play the damn game. Learn by doing. It’s an actual thing. Adjust to your teammates. Adjust to the NBA. This whole concept of waiting for everyone to get here and be in perfect health before they start to actually try to win basketball games has been ridiculous from the start. Case in point—possibly the best player on the team just went down with an injury. Oh, scratch off another year. Things are going to happen. We’re already beyond the point where guys who were part of the beginning of the “process” are long gone (i.e., Michael Carter-Williams). Enough. It sucks Simmons got hurt. Actually, it’s un-friggin’-believable given what this franchise has put fans through. Yes, make 100% sure he’s healthy. Then play the guy.

  • Meanwhile, there’s still plenty to watch with the Sixers this season—assuming the tank-athon doesn’t resume. Finally seeing Joel Embiid on the court Tuesday night was encouraging. Stating the obvious, the man is huge. I can’t remember the last time I saw an NBA player truly stand out for his size among other NBA big men. It’s tough to make any judgments on him based on the little he played, but he actually seems to have a light touch on the ball. Last night, I only saw highlights, but it looked like he showed flashes of dominance down low. Dario Saric wasn’t exactly lighting it up on Tuesday, but he looks like he can shoot as advertised. Thursday’s 5 of 7 shooting, including 2 of 3 from 3-point territory, in 18 minutes seems promising.

  • Ryan Howard did a great job addressing the crowd just prior to his presumed farewell appearance as a player for the Philadelphia Phillies. Some questioned the lack of emotion from the first baseman leading up to the final game, but I think it made complete sense as he has said repeatedly that he wants to continue playing. He actually surprised me with the emotion he showed on Sunday, a tear running down his cheek and his voice cracking at one point. As I wrote last week, there is no championship parade in Philadelphia in 2008 without Howard. I’m glad he got the farewell he deserved from fans.

  • I heard this on 97.5’s “15 Seconds of Fame”—the Phillies congratulated the New York Mets for clinching the Wild Card on the scoreboard after Saturday’s game at Citizens Bank Park. (Confirmed here.) Seriously? I’m all for a kinder, gentler society, and better sportsmanship. I just don’t think we need a huge message on our home scoreboard congratulating our division rivals on going to the playoffs while our team goes home—especially when the Phillies had a chance to play spoiler and came up short.

  • Someone please give Roger Goodell a “chill pill.” Antonio Brown was fined again for a touchdown celebration. I will never understand why the commish worries about such nonsense. It’s part of what people like about the NFL. They even advertise TD celebrations. I know, the excuse was that the celebration was sexually suggestive. Thankfully there are never any sexually suggestive ads on the game broadcasts or scantily dressed cheerleaders on the sidelines. (Shhh! Don’t tell Roger.)

  • Tom Brady returns from his Deflategate suspension to face . . . Cleveland. A little in-season preseason-esque game as an olive branch from Roger?

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