Is it just me?
The Denver Post referred to him as “Muff Mariani” in its Sunday edition, and the Tennessean, the Nashville paper that covers the Titans, wasn’t any easier on Marc Mariani after he couldn’t hang onto a pooched kickoff late in Tennessee’s 26-20 loss to the Broncos.
Is it just me, or did nobody ask enough questions?
I listened to much of the Broncos-Titans game on 850 KOA while driving down to Woodland Park, Colo., including Mariani’s 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Then I watched the final quarter or so on TV at a relative’s house, and after the kickoff got away and the camera repeatedly focused on Mariani, I couldn’t help wondering if he got that much face time after his first professional TD.
Obviously Mariani felt horrible: He’ll tell you once a ball hits his hands he should hang on. But that was in effect an onside kick, whether it was intentionally pooched or not. Mariani was hit the instant he touched the ball, which was way short and bounced. Commentators said he should’ve called off his teammates and caught the ball on the fly, but I wonder if anybody would’ve heard (or if he actually did call for it and was drowned out).
I also wonder why Ahmard Hall didn’t fair catch it — the ball landed right behind him. Maybe because there was serious wind shear that knocked down the kick.
Again, I don’t know. Aside from this article from the Huntsville (Ala.) Times and Josh McDaniel saying, “The wind. That was it,” not much time was spent working on Mariani’s defense. Instead you get Shannon Sharpe and everybody else piling on. Welcome to the NFL, rook.