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Bad Beats

   by Ben Burns - 10/13/2009

Maybe we were bullied too much on the playground, but puffed-up egos really piss us off here at Bad Beats Central.

Losing a bet because someone can’t keep their ego in check and feels the need taunt or excessively celebrate is infuriating.

Take Ray Lewis for instance. Does anyone in the NFL not know this guy is a hard-hitting, physical bad ass?

Yet, on a seemingly game-by-game basis, he feels the need to prove it.

It happened again during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals and couldn’t have come at much worse of a time.

With the Bengals driving for the eventual winning touchdown, Lewis blasted Chad Ochocinco after an incomplete pass over the middle.

Check out the hit here.

It wasn’t late, but did send Ochocinco’s helmet flying and drew a flag for unnecessary roughness.

Normally, we don’t mind seeing Ocho-obnoxious get leveled, and there have been way dirtier hits on defenseless receivers. But the name of the penalty says it all: It was an unnecessary play.

"It was a good hit. But I think he should have just pushed me down instead of hitting me," Ochocinco told reporters. "I was in midair, and I had no way of protecting myself."

You cannot hit a defenseless receiver, especially anywhere near the head. We see it called over and over again. But we rarely if ever see a defender pull up to avoid creaming a defenseless player.

At least, Lewis was making a play in the context of the game. Patriots’ safety Brandon Meriweather can’t use that excuse.

With Denver driving for the eventual tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, Meriweather broke up a pass intended for Eddie Royal along the sideline. Meriweather then jumped up and celebrated with some jawing and a fist pump in Royal’s direction. He was flagged for taunting, giving the Broncos first down at the New England 11. On the next play, Denver quarterback Kyle Orton connected with Brandon Marshall for the touchdown. The Broncos went on to win overtime, 20-17.

Meriweather didn’t comment on the taunting foul after the game, but Royal did.

"He was just kind of pointing and talking," Royal told the Boston Globe. "I don't know if it was directed at me or not. He is an emotional player. He is really into the game. It just so happens it's the rules of the game and you can't do that. He is a great player. You had to be aware of him wherever he was at on the field and he made a great play on that one."

Royal added that he felt the call could have gone either way. In Meriweather’s defense you do see similar type celebrations on a regular basis that don’t receive flags. But that doesn’t make it right.

Celebrate the play, just don’t do it in your opponent’s face. It’s really not that difficult to understand, unless of course you let your ego get in the way.

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