Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jason the Babarian

It was Sunday, November 17, and I was about three fourths of the way done with my weekly three hours of suffering watching the Falcons stink it up again (I mean, they can't even beat Tampa Bay). But, as always, I had two other televisions on too, with the sound down, so that I could keep an eye on other games during all the breaks and timeouts in the Falcons' game. Since the Bears were in a weather delay and the Chiefs weren't playing until later, that meant I was following the Jaguars more closely than usual, as they took on the Cardinals. And that meant I saw something that at first was hard to believe.

Just before going to a commercial break after a Cardinals punt in the 3rd quarter, there was a brief replay on the Fox telecast of a Jaguars player holding up what appeared to be a handful of dreads that apparently had been ripped away from somebody's head. Well, that's exactly what it was. Now I don't normally freak out and do a post every time someone gets his dreads yanked during a game; but this wasn't just one or two strands of dreads this guy was holding up - it looked like a whole bunch. And when he let go of them and they fell to the ground, it became evident that it was close to a dozen dreads that somebody had just lost.

My first thought was that somebody must have been Cardinals rookie RB Andre Ellington - because on the play before the punt his helmet came off while he was tackled after catching a pass. But that didn't add up because I've seen dozens (hundreds?) of helmets come off before and have never seen that many dreads come loose. Actually as it turned out, it was the play before that one - where Ellington took a handoff on 2nd and 10 and was tackled for no gain - when all the damage was done. And who was responsible for this unthinkable, barbaric, and dastardly deed? None other than DE Jason Babarian, ..... I mean, Jason Babin. If you haven't yet seen the Fox replay, you can watch it by clicking the link below.

I haven't followed Babin's career at all (he must be a pretty good player to still be in the league 10 years after he was drafted) but apparently those who are familiar with him weren't surprised to find out it was him who did something like this. There are several different versions of this incident on various sites and blogs that you can look at. I'll include links to three of them. The first is from the Florida Times Union. The second is from the SB Nation blog and includes what Ellington tweeted about it after the game. And below those is a video from the Cardinals website featuring Ellington's reaction as it happened, as he just happened to be mic'd up for the game.

Babin says he wasn't trying to grab Ellington's dreads, but don't believe him. It was a dirty play, just like Ellington said. Take a look at the photos from Getty Images.

Looks to me like Babin's decided the best way to make this tackle is to grab the hair. That's OK. But the thing is, two or three teammates were also in on the tackle. At some point, as Ellington is going to the ground, Babin could have let go. But did he? No. Now it doesn't bother me too much if you need to grab hair to make the tackle. But that wasn't the case here. This was just cruel and uncalled for. But that's life in the NFL. Losing some of his hair just added to Ellington's misery for the day. Andre had his least productive game of the season, finishing with 13 total yards (3 yards rushing on 8 carries and 2 catches for 10 yards). At least he came away with the W.

I saw Richard Sherman get beat deep for a TD (for real). I saw Antonio Cromartie get beat deep for a TD. I also saw Cromartie barely miss a pass that would have been an easy pick 6. I saw Rashean Mathis miss not one but two chances to get an INT. And I saw Roddy White finally get his 1st TD of the season.

Indeed, as Ellington tweeted: Shout out to the dread heads! ...... for making this week the best ever for touchdowns. In a week where nobody gained enough yards to make the dread stars list, there still were a record number of TD by players with dreads for one week. I only have been keeping track since the 2009 season, but surely there have never before been more than the 19 TD scored (by 15 different players) in Week 11. Here is the list of them all.
  • Chris Johnson (TEN) 2: 30-yard run, 7-yard run
  • Joique Bell (DET): 2-yard run
  • Chris Ivory (NYJ): 1-yard run
  • Vontaze Burfict (CIN): 13-yard fumble return
  • Alex Smith (CIN): 2-yard reception
  • Roddy White (ATL): 6-yard reception
  • David Bass (photo) (CHI): 24-yard interception return

  • Danny Noble (JAC): 62-yard reception
  • Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC): 1-yard run
  • Larry Fitzgerald (ARIZ): 14-yard reception
  • Denarius Moore (OAK): 5-yard reception
  • Keshawn Martin (HOU): 87-yard punt return
  • Eddie Lacy (GB): 4-yard run
  • Marshawn Lynch (SEA) 3: 4-yard run, 1-yard run, 6-yard reception
  • Jarius Wright (MIN) 2: 38-yard reception, 21-yard reception

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