I tend not to watch many bowl games, because I read "Death to the BCS" and can't fathom why the Dallas area needs three bowls. I also lose interest in the lead up to bowl season with the talk of being bowl eligible, which translated means "just mediocre enough to get ripped off by a bowl."
If the term had any value, the NFL would use it (since the playoffs end with the Super Bowl). Seattle and St. Louis are playing for bowl eligibility this weekend. Actually the term fits perfectly there.
I did watch the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday, because New Era is a Buffalo-based company and if I'm going to spend my time watching a bowl, at least knowing the sponsor helps.
I'm not really sure what Advocare V100 is, or how it relates to football. I also like watching football in baseball stadiums, the closer stands help bring a unique feel to the games.
The NHL should have had the Winter Classic in PNC Park, but they wanted more money and karma is going to pour rain on them for their decision.
What I saw in the Pinstripe Bowl today was an entertaining game, with an unsatisfying ending.
It was fun to listen to the broadcasters brag about the teams hanging out in New York City for the last week. Bet that was fun. The players got to view snow, wind and a lack of snowplows from their hotel windows.
New York City rules when transit isn't working and businesses are shut down. With the large amount of snow crippling the city, the stadium crew did a magnificent job of cleaning up the field and the stadium for the bowl on the 30th.
Despite a cold and somewhat hard field, the setting turned out to be fantastic for football.
Syracuse and Kansas State took advantage of the conditions and field to create a very entertaining game. Syracuse had almost 500 yards in offense, Kansas State threw for 258 yards and there were big plays throughout the game.
Both teams stepped up and made the game feel important, even for that short period of time. In Yankee Stadium, two teams trying to regain prominence played a high scoring back and forth game to where Kansas State was down 36-28 with under 2 minutes to go and were driving.
Then Carson Coffman throws a beautiful pass down the sideline and Adrian Hilburn makes the catch, into the end zone to make it 36-34. Once Hilburn scored, he stepped over the line.
Kansas State had to go for 2, and were going to have to make it from the 18 yard line, since Hilburn was penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration. Obviously the official saw an act that was offensive, that drew attention to Hilburn in a taunting manner.
The official saw a hideous, gratuitous, shocking, repulsive display that made puppies shiver and kids cry. Joe Buck was disgusted and Syracuse players were ready to retaliate after Hilburn made the big touchdown all about him as he looked into the crowd...
And he saluted,
Yes, at the end of the Pinstripe Bowl, an official penalized Kansas State a key 15 yards because he gave a salute to the crowd.
Now, I needed to delve deeper into the salute, since the official believed the act was meant to draw attention to Hilburn, you know, the guy everyone in the stadium just saw catch a touchdown. He had everyone's attention at that moment.
According to Webster's, a salute has a few meanings. One is to address with expressions of kind wishes, courtesy and honor. Another is to give a sign or respect, courtesy or goodwill to.
Adrian Hilburn was so callous that he scored a big touchdown and decided it was a good time to basically honor or respect someone. How dare he?
To get an excessive celebration, doesn't a player actually have to commit a celebratory act? Hilburn basically greeted someone in the crowd. A salute isn't a celebration.
I know the Broncos used to do it to each other after touchdowns, but that was spawned from Terrell Davis having a dad who was in the military. A player doing it to a person in the crowd is an acknowledgment that each other exists. It should never decide a game.
If a salute is excessive celebration, then another team that played on Thursday is the master of taunting and bringing unnecessary attention to themselves.
They can try to hide behind the flag all they want, but those showoffs at West Point over and over again make a self-gratifying display using this weapon known as the salute.
I hope the higher ranks of the military catch on to all of this taunting taking place in their world. I'm surprised that Army didn't have to kick every extra point from midfield with all of the cries for attention taking place at the Armed Forces Bowl.
See, they even needed to be part of the name of the bowl. The salutes are out of control, and finally one man is taking a stand.
Just like the Jake Locker penalty against BYU, when a big touchdown is scored at a big time of the game, natural enthusiasm needs to be allowed, as long as it is not in a taunting or ridiculous manner.
The official in the Kansas State game decided he needed to follow the letter of the law, even if it's vague, and throw a penalty to ruin the Wildcats chance to tie the game.
I will admit that officiating is difficult, but common sense should keep the one simple rule about officials in their heads for moments like this.
IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU!
Nobody would have minded had there not been a penalty. Kansas State still had to get the 2 point conversion. Syracuse still would have had over a minute to score even if Kansas State did score.
Even if Kansas State did make the conversion and the game went to overtime, everyone would have been excited, because it was a good game. This was a game worthy of the video game idiocy of the NCAA overtime system.
Instead, Kansas State had a feeble attempt at 2, failed on an onside kick attempt, and the game was over. People will talk more about the dumb call then Syracuse scoring 36 points playing on ice and a fun inaugural bowl that stood out in the wasteland of time killers.
I felt like the end was perfect though in a BCS type of way, since it does encompass the lots of buildup for unsatisfying payoff attitude the system has mastered.
Syracuse won, Kansas State lost, they probably both lost money, and ESPN won with bored people tuning in and getting a nice surprise, for awhile. ESPN is also happy because they now have a new theme song for bowl season, inspired by the official who called the penalty at the end of the game.
"For Those About To Rock, We Excessively Celebrate You"