Ryan Chartrand

Class may not even be a word that exists in pro football anymore.

Watching the AFC and NFC championship games Sunday brought me to the conclusion that it doesn’t.

There were several moments from Sunday in particular that made me shake my head in disappointment. The worst part of it all was that the two players who conducted themselves in such a poor manner are two of the league’s biggest stars. Both players not only went out on a losing note, but they looked pretty foolish at the end of the day.

The first game of the day featured the New Orleans Saints, now known as “America’s Team,” against the Chicago Bears.

New Orleans running back Reggie Bush caught a five-yard pass and turned it into an 88-yard touchdown – showing the entire league just how stupid the Houston Texans are and how he can score on any given play, regardless of field position.

But before he scored he managed to turn around and point at Brian Urlacher, regarded by many as the best defensive player in the NFL. Then when he was done pointing he somersaulted into the end zone, and then proceeded to get up and dance.

Bush claims to want to be one of the greats. Better than backs such as Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith and currently LaDainian Tomlinson.

The one thing that separates those three from Bush is that they never would have done that. When they score they hand the ball to the referee and head to the sideline. They expect to make those plays, and wouldn’t think of acting like that. Bush definitely has the talent to be as good as or better than those running backs, but only time will tell if he will learn to conduct himself like them.

When the game ended, Urlacher didn’t want to show up Bush, so he just smiled and shook his hand. Then instead of pointing at him, he just pointed at the scoreboard. It read 39-14, Bears. While the All-Pro linebacker plays in the Super Bowl, Bush will be watching it from home.

I spent last week singing the praises of Tom Brady and how the Patriots would crush Indianapolis. Well, Peyton Manning proved me wrong when he was finally able to get over the hump and win a big game.

It was a great game coming right down to the end, but the Colts just made more plays. When the clock strikes zero, both teams usually meet to shake hands, even in this heated rivalry.

But Brady was nowhere to be found. Brady, obviously furious at the result of game, was too much of a baby to show Manning the simple good game and a handshake.

When I picked up Sports Illustrated last week and opened up the magazine, the picture was of a 2004 divisional playoff game in which New England ended Indianapolis’ season with a 20-3 loss.

Manning was shaking Brady’s hand.

Brady has been embarrassing Manning for years in playoff games, but one thing with Manning was in all his losses, you never saw him conduct himself after the game any differently than if he had won.

By all means, these are the two best quarterbacks in the NFL and one of the best rivalries in sports.

You just expect more out of a superstar. But like Tomlinson said, the Patriots have no class. Maybe it starts as much with the quarterback as the head coach.

That’s sure one accusation that you have never heard when referring to the Colts, especially when you talk about Manning or Tony Dungy.

Maybe that’s because they have – what’s that word?

Class.

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