I watched the first quarter of the Cowboys vs. Raiders pre-season game just to check out the former Penn State guys. Otherwise, I have no interest in either team. But this was the night that Dan Connor was to get his first start alongside Sean Lee for Dallas, so I didn’t want to miss that debut.
Oakland got the ball on the first series, which meant that Stefen Wisniewski would get some camera time, as he was starting at center. He was called out by ESPN announcers Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden, who mentioned that he played guard all last year and thought the chances were good that he’d be the next big thing as an offensive lineman. They didn’t bother to mention that he was a Penn Stater.
Meanwhile, Connor and Lee were in there at linebacker for the ‘Boys. Tirico and Gruden gave them some significant shout-out time, talking about how Connor came from Carolina and Lee was viewed as being a great leader in the locker room and on the field. They mentioned that Connor and Lee had played together and were reunited. That would have been the perfect time for a plug for Linebacker U., yet there was nary a mention of Penn State.
Was this my imagination? Penn State paranoia? You’d be inclined to think so if it weren’t for the fact that our buddies in the booth mentioned college affiliations for many other players on both teams, not only rookies, but also long-established NFL players. I might be over-sensitized, but when I hear the wonks talking about so-and-so, who is “an eight year pro out of LSU,” but haven’t heard a single mention of Penn State with three ex-Nittany Lions in starting positions, it almost feels as they are deliberately avoiding saying the poisonous two words, “Penn State.”
Before you say it is SEC bias, let me assure you that Tirico and Gruden mentioned schools such as Southwest Missouri State and Temple in connection with other players, so it has nothing to do with region, conference, or NCAA division.
Because the game was so boring, and because the starters were all pulled during the first quarter, that’s all I watched. (The final score was 3-0.) This leads me to ask two questions of you readers:
- Did any of you see the entire game, and if you did, was there any mention of Penn State?
- Do you think I’m paranoid? Just plain crazy?
Tell me what you think.