During this two-week lull between the two NFL Conference championship games and the Super Bowl, there are gazillions of articles written just about everything and anything pertaining to the sport of professional football.

However, last week’s edition of “ESPN The Magazine” hit on something we have never seen before or even thought about in the past.

The article, which has an anonymous author for obvious reasons, points out that right now there are 30 NFL teams whose seasons are over. “In other words,” the one-page article states, “almost 1,600 players are home or perhaps on vacation watching the season-ending festivities. And most of them couldn’t be happier.

“That’s because the majority of the guys—say probably close to 70 per cent– are in the game only for the money. They don’t care about winning. Most players don’t care about the championship bling.

“Sure, in the interviews, 100 per cent of them will say it’s all about winning championships. But they know that’s what the public wants to hear. I’m telling you most of them are lying. They couldn’t care less about getting a ring.”

The article goes on to point out that for a lot of NFL players football is just what they are good at. It’s all they’ve ever known. “They never developed any other skills, so football became their path to making money and living like movie stars,” the article continued.

The article claims that paycheck players are easy to spot. “During the week they’re always pretending they can’t practice. They make up illnesses just so they can hang out in the training room, lie on the tables and take naps.

“The paycheck players, they’d rather complain. Wide receivers and defensive backs tend to be paycheck guys. Running backs, not so much. They know their careers typically don’t last long, so they have a strong work ethic.

“The absolute worst are the defensive linemen. They’re just loud and lazy. Worst part is that guys like them can still play, turning it on come Sunday because they know it’s what determines whether they get a new contract. Money is their motivator.

“Bad teams can breed paycheck players. Losers like the Cincinnati Bengals are full of them. When the tough times come, those bad-attitude guys start fighting with each other and turn them into bad teammates,” the article points out.

The author, who probably is or was an NFL player, does say something good about the four teams that made the conference championships—Steelers, Packers, Bears and Jets.

“Their rosters include enough guys who care only about one thing—winning games. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there will be paycheck guys playing in the Super Bowl. If they win, they’ll be able to put ‘Super Bowl Champion’ next to their name and that will pay dividends for the rest of their lives,” the author concludes.

And around the Dallas area it’s not the players but the Cowboys’ fans who are already getting tired of seeing all those Cheeseheads and Terrible Towels infiltrating their territory as the Green Bay Packer and Pittsburgh Steeler supporters are arriving daily for Sunday’s Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Supporting winners of three Super Bowls in four years in the 1990’s, Cowboy fans now lag behind both franchises when it comes to consistent, winning football. Dallas has won just two playoff games in the past 15 seasons, to the chagrin of the proud franchise that owns five Super Bowl titles.

When the Packers and Steelers square off in Arlington Sunday evening, those two teams will have combined for six Super Bowl appearances in the past 15 seasons.

Cowboys Idiot Owner Jerry Jones was corralled by reporters at Saturday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile. “I’m real excited,” Jones chortled. “We had dreamed of maybe being the first team to ever play in our own Super Bowl. We sure stunk that up. So now we’re going to try to put on the best Super Bowl.”

Dallas lost two Super Bowls to Pittsburgh in the 1970’s while Green Bay’s wins over the Cowboys in the 1960’s prevented them from playing in Super Bowls I and II.

It was pointed out in Sunday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle that “unlike the Cowboys, the Steelers possess and undeniable identity. Year after year, it’s their goal to employ a bruising running game and punishing defense.

“The Cowboys, meanwhile, undergo a transformation with every coaching change, and there have been plenty under Jones.

“Cliff Harris, the hard-hitting safety who earned six trips to the Pro Bowl during a career with Dallas that spanned the 1970’s, also suggested the Cowboys have more glamour than grit.
“There are players who play for the spotlight,” Harris said. “There are players who play only to get their pictures in the paper. Then there are players who play to win. The Steelers have a single focus: winning.

“It’s the same championship focus that’s been in the league since the beginning. Teams have gotten bigger and faster, but that intensity championship teams have hasn’t changed. You see that missing element in teams that don’t win.”

This Korner agrees with some of the old-time thinking about what it takes to be a winning football franchise. And that’s why we believe when Sunday’s game is over the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which is named after the Green Bay Packers great coach, will be hoisted by the Pittsburgh Steelers after a hard-fought 24-21 upset Super Bowl XLV victory.

KWICKIES…Due to the State of Texas’ projected $15 billion budget shortfall, one of the first items to get axed will probably be the steroid testing for public school athletes. This $6 million program for the state’s 700,000-plus public school athletes was established in 2008 and was cut back the following year to $2 million.

Long-hitting Bubba Watson rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to beat home-town favorite Phil Mickelson by one stroke in last weekend’s PGA Tour Farmer’s Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. The win earned Watson $1,044,000 and was probably the first time in PGA history where left-handed golfers finished first and second in a tournament. Tiger Woods also was in the tournament but finished 15 strokes off the winning pace, good for an, $18,096 check.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have 25 players and coaches with Super Bowl experience compared to just two for the Green Bay Packers.

The Lamar men’s and women’s basketball teams appear to be headed in opposite directions as the men lost a pair of games last week to Northwestern State and Nicholls State while the women were victorious against those same two schools. The Lamar men, 3-3 in the Southland Conference and 9-11 overall, play Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday (today) at the Montagne Center in Beaumont while the women (5-1 in SLC play and 16-4 overall) travel to meet the Lady Lions in Hammond also on Wednesday.

The University of Houston Lady Cougars, trailing SMU 67-61, used a pair of three-point goals by Orange’s Brittney Scott to tie the score 67-67 with 15 seconds left and then went on to down the Lady Mustangs 72-67 for their eighth-straight win in Conference USA without a loss. Scott finished with 14 points for the Lady Coogs, who stand at 17-4 for the season.

JUST BETWEEN US…Orange distance running enthusiast Kenny Ruane once again dazzled the field in Sunday’s Chevron Houston Marathon by taking first place in the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon 13.1-mile race in his age category of 65-69 years old. Ken outshone 100 entrants in his age category and posted a winning time of 1 hour and 37:53 minutes which placed him 187th in the field of over 11,000 who participated in the Half-Marathon that was run on an overcast day with a light drizzling rain and temperatures in the 60’s. Kenny, who had previously participated in 24 full marathons (26.1 miles) in Houston, had to scale his running back this year because of an injury. Another Orangeite, Billie Kay Melanson, took second place in the Women’s age 55-59 division of the Half-Marathon with a time of 1:44.32 and finished 91st in the huge field.