Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss Roger Goodell, Jim Harbaugh and the Super Bowl, the arrival of Spring Training, and the hot start of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who the morning of the Super Bowl - before the game happened and wiped all memory of this away - went on "Face The Nation" and said, when asked, that he couldn't actually make a link between football and concussions - which is like saying there's no connection between football and money. It was an incredible display worthy of a tobacco executive. This is what happens when you have 4,000 players - fully a third of your current living players - suing your league over head trauma.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is down to San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. And not for his horrible play selection in the last minute of the Super Bowl with them in scoring position - but for his behaviour at the end of the game and post-game. Harbaugh did not lose gracefully in any way at all. Here's his brother winning, it's a nice story. But after the game, all he talked about was the holding call that didn't happen, the pass interference call that didn't happen - things that could have or would have changed the game. I don't believe once that he said anything classy about the winning Super Bowl team.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to the four sweetest words in sports, - and no Steve, it's not "Leafs Stanley Cup parade"...it's "pitchers and catchers report". Eastern Canada is socked in this week with snow, but for the next couple of weeks I'm going to be watching pitchers covering first base, guys throwing the ball, stretching on the outfield grass, and I'm going to feel good because spring is coming.
Dave Hodge, TSN: It's a risky bet to say "thumbs up" to anyone or anything in this NHL season, because good one night turns bad the next, except for one thing - the Chicago Blackhawks. I think it's safe to say "thumbs up" to them. 9-0-2 in their first 11 games, only two of which have been played at home. That's impressive under any circumstances. And heading the list of individual standouts is Patrick Kane, whose name usually gets mentioned in sentences that include the word "immaturity". Well, it seems he has taken a step forward in his hockey life, and if he has grown up like he needed to do and he's for real, the Hawks are too. Safe to say.