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RUSH: Donald Trump says the NFL has gone soft just like America.

TRUMP: So I’m watching the game yesterday. What used to be considered a great tackle — a violent head-on and violent — if that was done by Dick Butkus, they’d say, “He’s the greatest player!” If that were done by Lawrence Taylor… It was done by Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus, and Ray Nitschke, right? Ray Nitschke. We used to see these tackles, and it was incredible to watch, right? Now they tackle. “Oh, head-on-head collision! Fifteen yards!” The whole game is all screwed up.

RUSH: He wasn’t finished.

TRUMP: It’s gonna affect the NFL. I don’t even watch it as much anymore. The referees, they want to all throw flags so their wife sees ’em at home, “Oh, there’s my husband! He just gave a 15-yard penalty on one of the most beautiful tackles made this year!” Right? That’s boring.

RUSH: I don’t know what tackle he’s talking about. My guess is he’s referring to the Vontaze Burfict attempted decapitation of the Steelers wide receiver number 84, Antonio Brown. You know, folks… (sigh) That game was won. The Bengals had the game won! Vontaze Burfict could have just let 18 seconds wind off the clock for the most part, and Vontaze Burfict could have been a hero. He could have written his own ticket. He would have been the star of the game two or three times over. And then he tried to take Antonio Brown’s head off on a tackle, when there was no hope of Brown catching. The pass was already long ago incomplete. It was just the most… It was just downright stupid, whatever else it was.


RUSH: I have to talk about the Steelers and Bengals on Saturday night. Now, I made a study, too. Folks, I don’t know how many of you saw the game. I hope a lot of you. For those of you who missed it, I’m just gonna give you the high points of what happened here that determined the outcome in the final minute, but it was a disgrace.

It was a flat-out disgrace. I don’t even think the referees could have controlled this unless they had been willing to throw people out of the game long before the events late in the fourth quarter happened, and that just doesn’t seem to be a step the NFL wants to take. But the Cincinnati Bengals had been stymied for three quarters on offense, they came back and they had a one-point lead over the Steelers.

Vontaze Burfict, number 55, great linebacker for the Bengals, had had the game of his career. He sacked Roethlisberger and took him out of the game with an injured right shoulder. In fact, when Roethlisberger was being carted off the field, Bengals fans were throwing batteries and bottles and cans at him. This whole thing was a total breakdown.

In the stands, people were urinating on each other, Bengals fans were urinating on Steelers fans, Steeler fans were beating up on Bengals fans, and women were being beaten up in the face. There were five or six charges, I think, or crimes charged by the Cincinnati police once it was all sorted out, and it was all a direct result of what was happening on the field.

It was just mind-boggling to me. Here you have Vontaze Burfict, who has taken Roethlisberger out of the game on what everybody thought at the time was a legal hit, it was a sack. There’s now video that surfaced that supposedly shows Burfict ramming his knee into Roethlisberger’s injured shoulder on the ground. It’s debatable whether that happened, but it looks like it did. Then Burfict intercepts the Steelers backup quarterback, Landry Jones, in what looked like the Steelers’ last-chance drive to get down to field goal position, field goal range. And then for one reason or another — well, it wasn’t the one reason or another — the Bengals fumbled on their next offensive drive, the Steelers recover it, and I may be off on the times here, but they’ve got one drive left. We’re down here to like a minute, and they have time-outs remaining, and they’ve gotta go at least 55 yards to get into field goal range.

And the Steelers bring Roethlisberger out with his inability to throw anything longer than 10 yards, bring him out to quarterback the final series, third down and long, tries to hit Antonio Brown over the middle. The pass is high. Brown has no chance of catching it, barely got a handle on it, and out of nowhere, here comes Vontaze Burfict, right shoulder, trying to take Brown’s head off. Launched himself off the ground at the head of Antonio Brown, who was knocked unconscious briefly, flopping around on the ground. Number 24, Adam “Pacman” Jones today claims that Brown was faking it, deserves an Oscar, that he was barely even hit.

He said go back and look in slow motion, Vontaze barely hit the guy. They’re just all wet. But the point is, it was stupid. Vontaze Burfict at that point had been the hero, the toast of the town. Plus they were gonna win the first playoff game since 1991. They had it as much in the bag as you can possibly have it in the bag. It was just stupid. Well, it was worse than stupid. It was totally unnecessary, and it was brought on by whatever cultural problems these players seem to have these days. Just watching this game was a seesaw up and down.

But the actions that took place after Burfict tried to decapitate Brown, Brown’s laid out field, here come the Steelers medical staff out to check him. They throw the flag for 15 yards, the Bengals are outraged, they start arguing and so forth. Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter is on the field, which Adam Jones objects to, and Adam Jones, number 24, tries to get at Porter. In the process, practically knocks a referee down. That’s another flag, another 15 yards. The Steelers end up with 14 seconds left, and they have to just kick a 35-yard field goal to win, which they did.

Thirty yards in penalties, 15 yards of it a dead-ball foul, running into an official. All they had to do was back off. All they had to do, the pass to Brown was incomplete. It’s fourth down. Roethlisberger cannot throw. And Vontaze Burfict couldn’t help himself. The announcers were talking throughout the game how coach Marvin Lewis had failed to keep him in control, keep him in check. I mean, the telecast looked like a bunch of players on the Bengals side literally could not be controlled.

I watched the media, as you know I’m wont to do, I studied the media on Sunday and today to try to see how the incidents in this game would be reported and reacted to, ’cause it should have been, what happened in this game, how it happened, why it happened, who did it, should be the story of the weekend, notwithstanding that poor kicker in Minnesota who botched the chip shot at the end of the Seattle game. But what happened in Cincinnati is the story of the year in the NFL, for what it represents, what it tells us, and what it indicates. It’s not a surprise to me that many in the media tried to downplay it as just another game where emotions kind of ran a little hotter than usual. It was much, much more than that. And it’s fascinating.

Let’s go to some of the audio sound bites on this. First off — and, by the way, back to Trump, I think something’s going on with Trump on this. I think there are a lot of people who think the NFL is going soft in a lot of ways, but that Vontaze Burfict hit on Antonio Brown is not an example of the NFL going too far in the other direction trying to take the manliness out of the game. That hit was uncalled for, it was unnecessary. It may have taken place in the game back in the fifties and sixties and seventies. It may have even happened helmet-to-helmet back in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. But it was unnecessary.

You know, folks, that hit, the best way to put this in perspective, that hit is criminal assault if it happens outside of a football stadium, outside of a game. What happened to Antonio Brown is criminal assault, and it could be charged and prosecuted as such, if it happened anywhere else. So Trump the next day comes out talks about how the NFL’s going soft. There’s lots of examples of how that may be true, but not after that game. Saturday night’s game was not an example of the NFL going soft. That game was brutal, and a lot of the brutality was not called for in terms of penalties. This was not a wussified NFL on display Saturday. It was quite the exact opposite, in fact.

So Trump coming out and talking about the wussification of the NFL after that game? I’m scratching my head, what game did he watch? So it tells me Trump has a radar, and he’s aware of what people are saying about various things and decides to chime in now and then if he thinks that it’s politically opportune, but this was not the game to accuse the NFL of wussifying. This was not the game to accuse the NFL of becoming a bunch of pansies. This was not the game where you complain and moan about the referees going soft. I mean, there’s a reason why some in the media are calling it a prison gang riot.

Remember, I once referred to a Chargers-Patriots game, I told people I thought I was watching the Crips and Bloods. Remember the media jumped all over me for that? They called me racist and prejudiced and all this sort of stuff, and I had specific reasons for it. It was all about, you know, a guy lost the game for San Diego simply ’cause he thought he’d been dissed. He lost. Like Burfict lost the game. Vontaze Burfict and Pacman Jones can say whatever they want to say, they lost the game, they had the game won. They were both, Burfict particularly was a hero, despite who he is, despite whatever his character is, he could have been the toast of that town, and threw it all away and probably felt happy that it all happened because of whatever cultural things go on here that define toughness and manliness.

I don’t pretend to understand it. But it was just stupid. The game was won. There was no reason for any of this to happen in terms of playing to win. The reasons for it to happen were entirely personal, out-of-control emotions, inability to focus, no professionalism. It was just stunning. And to have it, for the most part, downplayed?

Now, the immediate aftermath, CBS, some of the NFL people were over the top in their criticism of everybody involved, but then it tamed out. By the time today got here, ah, ho-hum, no big deal, let’s move on. And I don’t think it’s a ho-hum. I think it’s indicative of so much that’s happening throughout our culture, not just in football and not just in professional sports. And there’s no place for it.

But let’s go to the audio sound bites here. Let’s hear Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. And while all this was going on, they downplayed this, too. And it’s understandable. I mean, they work for CBS, which pays the NFL a lot of money, and the NFL… There’s a back scratching thing going on. I mean, you don’t… You don’t rip and criticize the people paying the bills and making your programming possible and all that. But after a certain point, they could no longer ignore it, and when the slo-mo happened of Burfict attempting to decapitate Antonio Brown, that’s when Phil Simms and Jim Nantz finally had had enough.

SIMMS: Can it get any worse?

NANTZ: No. … I don’t know.

SIMMS: It’s a terrible hook.

NANTZ: It’s been so many others in places tonight —


NANTZ: Roethlisberger being taken off the field and —

SIMMS: Fans cheering.

NANTZ: — fans cheering the fact that he was injured. A couple of times tonight you’ve wanted to use the word “disgraceful.” And, uh, this certainly… It’s — it’s what it is.

SIMMS: It’s disgraceful, on so many fronts, by everybody.

RUSH: That’s Phil Simms and Jim Nantz. Boomer Esiason right after game on CBS.

ESIASON: I’m a former Bengal. I’m embarrassed by the way that this game ended and by the way these guys acted on the field today. I feel bad for Marvin Lewis. And I’ll tell you one thing: If Marvin Lewis can’t control his players, then maybe Marvin Lewis shouldn’t be standing there on the sideline coaching that dreck!

RUSH: They lost a game! This is incredible! Everybody’s looking past that, looking at the specifics of what happened. Yeah. “Was it criminal? Was it bad? Was it dangerous? Was it over the top?” They lost the game! They lost! The stupidity of this! They had the game won. A dead-ball foul. Simply be… You’ve got a coach out there… Like Pacman’s running around saying, “Joey Porter…” He called him “Jerry.”

“Jerry Porter’s got no business being out there! He’s out calling our guys b-i-itches.” Walk away, Pacman! Walk away, for crying out loud! What is…? Why do you have to bump a referee and practically knock him over to point a finger at Joey Porter? Walk away! But no. He had to get to Joey Porter and give him what for. Here came the flag, another 15 yards. Here’s Pacman after the game. We had to bleep 75% of what he said.

JONES: (Bleep) ref did a horrible (bleep) job. You got (bleep) Jerry Porter and the middle of the (bleep) field talking (bleep) at everybody then was somebody say something to ’em, he only supposed to be on the (bleep) field?

RUSH: I can’t tell you what I said and maintain our license here, folks.


RUSH: No, no, no! Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying the hit was anything unusual. I’m not saying the hit is unprecedented. Look, George Atkinson and Jack Tatum used to do this kind of stuff to Lynn Swann all the time. How many playoff games…? There were one or two playoff games that took Swann out with a simple blow to the head, forearm shiver, what have you. Swann wasn’t even anywhere near the play. Back then, they called a penalty on it much like they did here. But they didn’t do anything about it in terms of trying to police it down the road.

It was just something happened in the game.

This was unnecessary! The game was won! It’s more than hotheads losing control. There’s something seriously wrong here. The motivation obviously on the part of some of these players was not to win the game. They had another purpose being on that field Saturday night, and that’s where this problem breaks down. And the people that employ them — and they’re college people! They’re college graduates, for crying out loud. They’re college men. You know, people ask me all the time, “Why don’t these coaches tell these people not to do it? You know, how the…? Stupid penalties in the end zone after a touchdown, a 15-yard penalty for celebrating!”

You may think the penalty’s crazy or the rule’s crazy, but it is what it is. Why can’t a coach tell a young kid, “Don’t do it! I run this team; you’re not gonna do it. If you score a touchdown, give the ball to the ref and get off the field.” But the coaches today say, “They’re grown men; I can’t tell ’em what to do.” It’s a different era. “They’re grown men; I can’t tell you what to do”? Then why do we need coaches? What do you mean, “They’re grown men; I can’t tell ’em what to do”? It’d be no different than a parent saying, “This kid is my kid and he’s a little out of control, but I can’t tell him what to do.” It’s absurd. I’m telling you, folks: There’s a lot wrapped up in this that goes beyond the football field.

Here’s Vontaze Burfict himself, and you gotta here Deion Sanders following this. Vontaze Burfict in the locker room being interviewed by the media…

BURFICT: I don’t know. Any more questions?

REPORTER: … to lose in this way, Vontaze…?

BURFICT: I don’t know.

REPORTER: …emotionally?

BURFICT: I don’t know.

REPORTER: What words of encouragement have you said to your teammates after this loss?

BURFICT: I don’t know.

REPORTER: Have they said anything to you or…?

BURFICT: I don’t know.

REPORTER: How do you summarize the season?

BURFICT: I don’t know.

RUSH: Now, look at those questions. This guy has just personally… He and number 24 have just lost this game. Now, look, there are a lot of people that contributed. It’s a team; I understand all that. But these two people incurred 30 yards of penalties when the Steelers could not advance the ball to save their lives with 20 seconds remaining. “I don’t know.” “How’s it feel, Vontaze?” “I don’t know.” “Emotionally?” “I don’t know.” “What words of encouragement would you have to your team?” Words of encouragement? It’s amazing there wasn’t a mutiny! Now, here’s Deion Sanders, who watched what you just saw and commented on it.

SANDERS: You’re not gonna get any sympathy in America, that African-American man putting on — we call it “the wife beater,” tank top. Putting on your weight (sic), putting on your jewelry, and saying that. “I don’t know.” It doesn’t look good whatsoever. Whatsoever. That really upsets a lot of people. All they just want is answers, man.

RUSH: So Vontaze Burfict (I purposefully didn’t play these) is sitting there at his locker in a tank top with his hair in a ponytail braid, and Deion’s saying, “Hey, man you’re not gonna get any sympathy in America being an African-American putting on the wife-beater tank top.” I did not know that a tank top signified “wife beater.” (interruption) It does? Well, it… (interruption) Okay. Well, I have tank tops. (interruption) Well, I don’t wear ’em, but… (interruption) Okay, you learn something every day. And then “putting on your weight,” meaning your jewelry. (summarized) “No, you don’t do that, man. You don’t do when you want America to understand.”

Deion, that’s the point here.


RUSH: You know, for all the talk here about Nitschke and Butkus, these people were sportsmen. There was no sportsmanship going on in these contested events on Saturday night Cincinnati with the Bengals and Steelers.


RUSH: Robert, Coronado, California, I’m glad you waited. You’re next. It’s great to have you here, sir.

CALLER: Radicalized by Trump dittos, Rush. I’d like to comment on Deion Sanders full-on defense of Vontaze Burfict’s horrible hit the other night and basically try to explain very briefly why I think it was not an accident.

RUSH: Wait, wait, wait. Did Sanders defend the hit? I didn’t see that.

CALLER: Yes, he did. He said it was an accident. He and L.T. got up on the stage and he tried to explain that he just ran past him and his shoulder clipped the guy in the head, but it was completely an accident.


CALLER: I think I can describe very quickly why I don’t think it’s an accident. When the human being runs your arm hangs at your side basically unflexed at the elbow and then with every stride it comes up to about a 90 degree flection.

RUSH: It happens every time I run, you’re right.

CALLER: Right, absolutely. And if I said, “Rush, I need you to break down a door with your shoulder,” what would you do? You would flex your arm up past 90 degrees, fold your fist over onto your chest, and now you would have yourself in Vontaze Burfict’s —

RUSH: I would be leading with my forearm, you’re exactly right.

CALLER: Yes. You would have your forearm across your chest and bracing your shoulder, and that’s how he hit the guy in the head. He didn’t hit him as he casually passed him on the field with his arm in a running position.

RUSH: There was nothing casual about it. He launched.

CALLER: Yeah. Absolutely. And then, you know, for Deion to go on, you know, and pull a mild race card and basically wasn’t even critical of him, he basically said his only problem was he didn’t address the media properly.

RUSH: Wait a minute, what race card?

CALLER: Well, he said, you know, what people are gonna see is an African-American male putting on a wife beater shirt —

RUSH: Oh, that. I thought you meant racism in the hit.

CALLER: No. No, no.


CALLER: It was subtle. I mean, I’ll give him credit. He threw it out there. I don’t know what the intent was. I think his intent was to defend the NFL brand. I mean, it was an appalling scene that night to watch.

RUSH: I can explain Deion. I’ve not met Deion, but you know, Michael Irvin is great friends with Deion. I’ve gotten to know Michael Irvin fairly well and I’ve watched Deion, and I think Deion considers himself a mentor for current players younger than he is. He’s an advisor, hired or unhired. He’s trying to be helpful in a mentor way. Grab sound bite 23. This is what the caller is talking about. Burfict, in his locker room after the game at his locker, reporters were asking… The reporters are scared to death of the guy, by the way. I mean, you can tell when a reporter’s afraid of a player.

The questions are timid and they’re soft-spoken, and reporter number one said, “Yeah, what a way to lose, Vontaze.” Another reporter said, “What words of encouragement or what have you said to your teammates after this loss? Have they said anything to you?” “How do you summarize this season, Von?” Everybody was afraid to go there, and every answer he gave was, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.” Every answer. Deion was not happy, and is attempting here in this the sound bite to advise Vontaze Burfict on how to do this the right way next to.

SANDERS: You’re not gonna get any sympathy in America, that African-American man putting on — we call it “the wife beater,” tank top. Putting on your weight (sic), putting on your jewelry, and saying that. “I don’t know.” It doesn’t look good whatsoever. Whatsoever. That really upsets a lot of people. All they just want is answers, man.

RUSH: Right. But don’t answer in the tank top, Vontaze. Don’t put on that wife-beater tank top after a game like this and say you don’t know when everybody knows. They saw what you did and everybody says, “You don’t know?” and then you don’t put your “weight on,” man (meaning your jewelry). You don’t throw your weight on, on top of the wife beater shirt, and run around and say you don’t.

So Deion’s trying to mentor Vontaze here, is my humble analysis.

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