Welcome to my favorite blog-cop-out. It's called the Re-Running Of My Weekly Sports Column, which I have pretty much no right to have anyway.
Without further ado:
By SPC. IAN BOUDREAU
Turret Sports Editor
According to the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, obscenities, profanities, and vulgarities are not to be used in a newspaper story "unless they are part of direct quotations and there is a compelling reason for them."
That rule is going to make writing about last Sunday's Patriots at Steelers game rather frustrating.
I could start by cursing about wide receiver Antwaan Randle El's screw-up of a perfectly good 30-yard reception in a baffling lateral toss to Hines Ward that resulted in a fumble, gutting what could have been a successful Pittsburgh drive.
Or I could easily swear at whoever jumped the gun and made Steelers kicker Jeff Reed have to back up and attempt a 52-yard field goal (which he shanked, ending a streak of 21 successful attempts).
But I can spare those guys any barroom colloquialisms.
No, if I were to use bad language -- and I won't, at least not here -- it would be directed toward whoever runs the clock at Heinz Field.
After a false start was called on Pittsburgh's Kendall Simmons at the beginning of the fourth quarter, operators reset the clock to 14:51 -- the time before the play began. It should have been reset to 13:59, but nobody noticed the error.
That gave quarterback Tom Brady and company just enough time to put New England kicker Adam Vinatieri in field-goal position, and he kicked in the game-winning three points in the last second of the game.
Unofficially, I've suggested that this may indicate an unholy pact Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have made with evil forces of some kind (something along the lines of blues legend Robert Johnson's "crossroads curse," or maybe the movie "The Omen").
It's also given me a chance to use a lot of what you might call "creative metaphors" -- the kind the Stylebook recommends against printing.
But that's me talking as a Pittsburgh fan, not as a -- ahem -- professional sports writer.
I can't figure out a way to correct for the error. The league can't just eliminate the last 52 seconds of the game from the books, since plays are designed to take advantage of whatever time's left on the clock, especially in the fourth quarter of a close game.
Counting the game as a tie would be pointless anyway.
With the schedule already set in stone, a rematch would be awkward and difficult to set up, and besides, the mistake wasn't the fault of either team.
Any talk of changing the records is a bit academic anyway, since the NFL isn't going to do it. New England will keep the win, and Pittsburgh's got to take the loss, despite grumblings of injustice. I imagine the only major change that'll be made due to the error is who the Steelers hire as clock operators at Heinz Field.
The Patriots and the Steelers are arguably the two best teams in the AFC, if not the entire league, and it's always good to see teams of that caliber face off. In fact, I think they could develop a very exciting long-term rivalry.
The other good news is that I've made it to the end of this column without using a single bad word. It wasn't easy.
UPDATE: Open Post at the Mudville Gazette.