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Monday, November 14, 2011

"Don't Fear the Reaper: In Defense of Ryan Clark" by Chris Ryan - Grantland.com

I woke up to this song today. Love it. Always have, even before the more cowbell skit. So it was a fine coincidence that I came across this eponymous article about Steelers safety Ryan Clark and violence in football.

The author notes that every time there's a big hit in the Steelers defensive backfield, he thinks it's Ryan Clark. I have the opposite reaction. I feel like Clark, who is a hell of a safety and a big time hitter for sure, gets kind of lost on that defense. He plays alongside perhaps the most recognizable mop in football, Troy Polamalu, he doesn't have Kiesel's beard, he's not built like James Harrison, who looks like a Volkswagen with a yellow helmet on: He's just kind of generic Steelers defender No. 1.

But man does he put the whomp on people. The article's about how we can't help but salute his kind of game, even if it's what we're supposed to be saying we don't like about football. Listen, football is about violence. That's just the way it is. That's why guys play it, and that's why fans love it so much. Yeah it's a sport and there's strategy and marvelous athleticism on display, but at the end of the day people want to see big hits. And yeah, one of these Sundays, you're going to witness somebody actually die going over the middle or returning a kick. It's going to happen. It doesn't mean football is evil. It doesn't mean Ryan Clark is going to Hell. It's just a fact. A fact the author doesn't shy away from.

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