Brownie Points: Little humor to be found in sports this week - East Valley Tribune: Fox Sports Arizona

Brownie Points: Little humor to be found in sports this week

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Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at

Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 6:36 pm

For more than 25 years, I've had a lot of fun turning sports issues on their side and snickering at a world that takes itself so seriously.

But nothing is funny this week. Not the millionaires and billionaires fighting across a bargaining table in New York, not the NASCAR racers' road rage that forces people to take away their keys, and certainly not in a place that suddenly couldn't be more mis-named.

Happy Valley.

Although I was among those who felt he should have retired a decade ago, I have been a fan and admirer of Joe Paterno's since I first saw those short pants and white socks on the sidelines.

He wasn't just about winning. He was about right. He was about tradition and honor that shortcuts aren't always the only path to success.

But Paterno stayed too long. He's not alone in that crime. Woody Hayes was and remains revered in Columbus, but many of us only remember the crazy old man who jumped off the sideline and punched Clemson's Charlie Bauman in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Tom Landry had to be pushed out of Dallas. There aren't many longtime bosses who enjoy the same glorious exit of Tony LaRussa - waving goodbye with a trophy in the other hand.

It is a true injustice that Paterno's face and fate have been dragged through the mud more than the alleged animal (Jerry Sandusky) who actually committed these heinous acts.

It's also clear JoePa's actions and reactions in this case, at the very least, fly in the face of the code we felt he stood for.

It's a disappointing time not only for Penn State students, alums and supporters. It's a sad day for our human race because someone we felt represented the best in us wasn't able to hold the rope.

He ... could ... go ... all ... the ... way ...

Isn't it interesting how all it took was a couple of cool punt returns for Patrick Peterson to go from draft disappointment to a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year in the NFC?

If you don't think sports is turning into a world where film clips, blogs and tweets determine what the world thinks of you, Petersen is a perfect example. Admittedly put in a difficult position because of bad trades (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and injuries (Greg Toler), Peterson has been underwhelming at best at the cornerback spot and has proven he has a lot to learn before attaining "shut-down" status.

But Petersen in the open field? That's a joy to behold. Devin Hester has nothing but a few more years on Petersen.

He is such a weapon that the Cardinals - who absolutely, positively cannot afford another injury at cornerback - are willing to put him in harm's way on special teams. It won't be long before teams kick away from him, leading to shorter punts, better field position and a true sea-change in games.

If Peterson was allowed to ease into the NFL, covering the No. 2 or No. 3 receiver as was the plan in training camp, he might be there with Cam Newton in the mind of ROY voters. But such luxury is rarely afforded a Cardinal, and only his extraordinary talent has allowed him to escape the tragic fate of so many other No. 1 picks in Arizona (yes Levi Brown, we're looking at you).

Quick hitters

Eagles 38, Cardinals 10. Wow, that winning streak was fun while it lasted, huh?

I know the Eagles are 3-5 and a shadow of the "Dream Team" so many predicted. As much as Rodgers-Cromartie would have helped here, he's been a huge disappointment in Philly. Luckily for DRC, he's far from alone in that regard.

But talented teams that need to right the ship always seem to find sea legs against the Cardinals. Even in the best of times, traveling East this time of year against an elite opponent has been an ugly experience. For a team that is two Peterson punt returns away from a winless season, this isn't the best of times.

Remember Thanksgiving Night, 2008? This could be a repeat.

• Are the Coyotes really going to let Kyle Turris sit for the entire season? This team is off to a decent start, but it certainly doesn't have the organizational depth to allow Don Maloney to teach his petulant center a lesson.

Over the last two weeks, the Coyotes have played two games without Martin Hanzal and one without Daymond Langkow in the middle, and the domino effect through all the lines was obvious. Andy Miele isn't ready and Kyle Chipchura isn't the answer.

This team needs another offensive asset on the ice, either a soothed Turris or whatever you can obtain for his services.

Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. He can be reached at


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