When Miami plays Maryland tomorrow, less than a week after the murder of Hurricanes defensive lineman Bryan Pata, the hurt won't be on just the Miami side.
Ray Bentley, the analyst calling the game for ABC, said the players on both teams - on all teams, really - have a connection.
"Football is a big fraternity," said Bentley, a former NFL linebacker who works with play-by-play man Dave LaMont. "It's a brotherhood. When we lose someone, we all hurt."
Still, Bentley agreed with the decision to go ahead with the game.
"I hoped that they would [play]," he said. "Regardless of what happens, life has to go on. You're going to grieve, you're going to mourn.
"If something were to happen to me, I would want them to go on."
What does he expect from Miami?
"Initially, there's going to be a lot of emotion," Bentley said. "At some point, that's going to fizzle out, and they're going to have to play football."
Though the Hurricanes might commit a lot of many mental errors because their focus has been away from football, they also might turn in a strong effort.
"Motivation, to me, is a key factor in football," Bentley said. "They're going to be ready to play."
Bentley hasn't seen Maryland play live, but he said he's impressed from the tape he has observed. He praised the Terps' defense and special teams "and they have a quarterback [Sam Hollenbach] who doesn't make mistakes. That's a formula to win football games." ...
That voice of the Terps - what a card. Johnny Holliday stuck a little needle in basketball partner Chris Knoche before the men's opener Tuesday. Knoche said he would have an interview with Vermont assistant coach Matt Hahn, a former Maryland player. Holliday asked Knoche if the interview was an exclusive.
Where's the ball?
Sure, the Ravens game Sunday was in high definition, but that doesn't mean you saw everything. On the Ravens' second touchdown, CBS' cameras stayed focused on the hit on Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson. Meanwhile, the ball was landing in the arms of Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle, who handed off to Ed Reed to complete the interception return for a touchdown. A camera swung over just in time to catch Reed heading to the end zone.
But for those of you with HDTV, it was crystal clear. ...
On CBS' The NFL Today on Sunday, host James Brown interviews Ravens quarterback Steve McNair about his return to Tennessee to face the Titans. ... Speaking of The NFL Today, Charley Casserly has established himself as an authoritative insider and might be the best thing about the telecast. ...
And do you remember when CBS' pre-game show was the more sober one and Fox NFL Sunday was a yuk-fest? These days, Terry Bradshaw and Co. on Fox seem all business compared with CBS' jocular ex-jocks Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason and Shannon Sharpe.
Sticking with team
Make of this what you will.
Despite the team's struggles this season, Pittsburgh drew the second-biggest ratings of the week for NFL games Sunday with a 44.6 for the Steelers-Denver Broncos game. (Indianapolis was first, at 47.6, for the Colts-New England Patriots.)
Meanwhile, in Miami, the Dolphins' upset of the Chicago Bears ranked 21st, at 17.7.
The Ravens-Bengals game got a 25.5, good for 17th.