Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss the tactics of coaches Mike Tomlin and Jason Kidd, the strategy of the Raptors' Rudy Gay, and the glow of victory in Saskatchewan.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who jumped out of the way just in time to avoid a thumbs down. Tomlin's Steelers were down 13-7 to the Ravens Thursday night when Baltimore's Jacoby Jones took off on a kick return that was interrupted just enough by a certain Steelers head coach nonchalantly watching himself on the Jumbotron as he strayed onto the edge of the field. Tomlin leaped out of the way just in time; Jones had to change direction just enough that he was tackled. Tomlin grinned like the Cheshire Cat. Pittsburgh didn't win, but come on. There are lots of ways to sort of cheat, but using the Jumbotron as a rearview mirror? Timing your jump out of the way? Thumbs up to sort of cheating with style.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Jason Kidd, the struggling rookie coach with the Brooklyn Nets, who can't seem to do anything right in his first year removed from playing the game. Kidd's nets can't win games but at least give him points for creativity: the other night he was out of timeouts late against the Los Angeles Lakers and while standing in front of the bench, quietly asked one of his players to bump him so he could inadvertently spill his soft drink on the court. The ploy worked. Sort of. He got his stoppage. But the NBA, lacking a sense of humour afterwards, and a sense of pity for the overmatched coach, fined Kidd $50,000. Maybe, in this season gone wrong, they should have looked the other way, applauding him for his guile.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: Because there is no "I" in either the word "stat" or "sheet," my thumb is up to Raptors forward Rudy Gay, who has banned those offending stat sheets from the post-game locker room. Gay says the only stat that matters is the "W." This is true - as long as, say, you're not trying to negotiate a contract. Anyway, this selfless stand is worthy of applause, unlike Gay's shot selection and shooting efficiency. If his teammates could peruse the stats immediately after a game, they might note that Gay, shooting 38 percent on the season, has had games of 6-for-23 and 11-for-37. Gay's right. Nothing to see here.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up to Saskatchewan - to the province, to the people, to the football fans, to the football team. The Grey Cup was their celebration, and for the rest of the country, it was a reminder of what sports can do to inspire, to enthuse, to make life better or just to make life seem better. It has long been said of the Saskatchewan Roughriders that they're the favourite team of some CFL fans and the second-favourite team of all the others. Their Grey Cup victory and the reaction to it explained that for anyone who wasn't sure why the team in green was so easy to root for - you just had to watch last Sunday and look at the faces - in the crowd and under the watermelons and inside the helmets and you understood. We haven't seen a sports story told so well by pictures alone in a long time.