Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Oct 2005

MMQB: They Was Robbed

Well, we need somewhere to debate the Marcus Pollard call. I thought his knee was over the line. Peter King disagrees. But he may be right that, whether Pollard's knee was over the line or not, there wasn't indisputable evidence that Pollard was out of bounds, and thus Detroit should be 2-1 this morning. Peter also hops on the Eli Manning bandwagon with everyone else -- he's been much better this season, but let's be honest, St. Louis and New Orleans are not the world's best pass defenses -- and tries very, very hard not to overreact to New England's loss like the rest of the football world. Look at their schedule after the bye week, folks. This team is still finishing 11-5.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Oct 2005

111 comments, Last at 06 Oct 2005, 5:06pm by dryheat

Comments

1
by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 11:51am

Wait a minute - if we think NE will do fine without Rodney Harrison, is it because we respect the Patriots, or are we disrespecting Harrison? It's all so confusing.

2
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 11:57am

I mentioned this elsewhere, but not only is St. Louis not a good defense, their defensive coordinator's an idiot, too. Or maybe it was Martz. Who knows.

People are fawning over Burress's performance, but c'mon - they were jump balls, over and over. There was an obvious mismatch between Burress and the guy covering him (Groce, I believe, can't quite remember) and the Giants just exploited it.

The thing that bugs me is looking at the Giants schedule. They don't face a top-ranked pass defense until Week 10 & 11, when they face Minnesota (?) and Philadelphia.

NYG's opponents:
Team Pass Defense
ARI 23.8%
NO 40.0%
SD 34.3%
STL 7.5%
DAL -4.1%
DEN 7.6%
WAS -4.6%
SF 53.9%
MIN -13.3%
PHI -42.8%

Who wants to bet that in Week 10, we hear about how "Eli's wearing down as the season goes on"?

3
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 11:58am

OK, I've got a complicated comment on the Pollard "TD". I believe it was a TD, but overturning it was entirely consistent with how that situation is usually ruled by officials. I've always thought officials overdo the whole didn't-have-control-of-the-ball yet angle. I mean if the guy ends up with the ball and there wasn't any obvious juggling or bobbling then surely the guy had control of the ball as soon as it hit his hands?
However, this is not the way catches are ruled in the NFL, and if I go by the way officials usually do it, I think his knee was clearly out-of-bounds by the time he clearly has possession of the ball. Therefore, no TD the only call to make to keep consistency.

4
by Bruce Dickinson (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 11:58am

I watched that game. I thought his leg was out. If the game were played in Detroit, the it might have been the opposite.

aside: I'm predicting that 2-3 years from now the Broncos make a wholesale purchase of the lions receivers after they are certified as busts. shanahan will again be ridiculed, but one of them will probably step up and play well.

2nd aside: Is it just me or does Harrington look like a junior high school student when he drops back to pass. i suppose he's practicing sound fundamentals, but he just doesn't look like a professional at all.

5
by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 11:59am

I want someone who saw NFL Primetime last night to try to convince me that Pollard was out of bounds. If you didn't see NFL Primetime, ESPN froze the video and enlarged the image. With the ball in Pollard's hands, his knee is on the ground with a sliver of green grass between it and the white line.

Another problem I have with replay in general is that you often get reversals of plays when it's clear that the on-field official had a better view than the camera had. In this case, the guy who ruled it a touchdown seemed to have a more clear look at it than you could get from any camera angle.

6
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:04pm

George Young must be spinning in his grave like a lathe this morning

the late GM of the Jints was VERY vociferous in explaining the purpose of the reinstitution of Instant replay, especially when people said it was going to be used to review "questionable" calls

no, said Young, that's the OPPOSITE of what it's going to be used for--it's to be used only to overturn UNQUESTIONABLY wrong calls

now, maybe Young was the only one who believed this, but that was the official NLF line; and it was THE reason why there was the (now ignored) time limit; if the ref couldn't see something obvious in the first 60-90 seconds, then he was supposed to let the call stand

that idea lasted about 1 quarter of the first season of Instant Replay II

I have no idea if Pollard was OB, and I suspect that neither did ref, even after looking at it--putting it in slo-mo only makes it worser

so the play stands as called

7
by MCS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:05pm

OK Conspiracy Theorists. What's going on with the Bucs? Does the NFL want them to win (borderline calls go in their favor) or is it simple luck?

I agree that the Pollard catch was definately disputable. I thought he was out and others that I was with felt he was in. Based on that disagreement alone, it was not clear enough to overturn.

Last week, an early whistle takes a TD away from GB in the GB-TB Battle of the Titans.

That's two weeks in a row where the Bucs very easily could have lost if not for the fortuitous calls.

8
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:05pm

re #5: well, it's like I wrote. To officials, the ball being in your hands isn't enough. You have to have control. Like I said, I think this is ridiculous, but that's how it's always been. Another problem is that the officials usually interpret drawing the ball closer to your body as 'juggling' the ball, which of course it isn't, but again, I've seen catches overturned because the receiver reached out for the catch and then pulled the ball closer to his body after catching it, and the officials ruled this as juggling the ball. It sucks, but this play by the Lions certainly isn't the first time I've seen a seemingly good catch ruled incomplete because the officials decided there was not yet control when the guy went out-of-bounds.

9
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:13pm

OK Conspiracy Theorists. What’s going on with the Bucs? Does the NFL want them to win

of course they do--large market, and everything

(oh, wait a minute..)

ummm..they want residuals from the "Chuckie" series?

(I'll think of something)

the wonderful thing about a conspiracy theory is that the complete absence of evidence to support it can be taken as proof of a cover-up

10
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:20pm

I think it's payback for TB underperforming thier record for the last couple years. Either that or Chuckie renewed his pact with satan and they're going to win the superbowl again.

11
by Ned (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:24pm

I agree completely with MDS that the Primetime look proved to me it should not have been reversed. That being said, when I was watching the game on FOX, I was sure that it should be reversed, as he looked clearly out to me. Instant Replay has given us the illusion of perfection but it is often based on faulty camera angles and obstructed views.

For the most part, I feel NFL officials do a good job on replay, so while I realize this was probably the wrong call, I hope it does not lead to a movement to eliminate replay.

12
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:26pm

Aaron -- I wish I was as sure as you that the Pats will go 11-5. I had thought that, but after seeing (a) the way the team completely packed it in and gave up in the 2nd half yesterday, and (b) the atrocious play-calling in the two losses, I'm not a believer in 11-5 any more.

I figure they are going to lose to Indy and Miami (at Miami) on merit, so that's 4 losses. Despite the two losses so far, Brady still hasn't had his standard annual "total collapse and throw 4 INTs" game, so whenever that happens, that'll be loss #5. And then there's sure to be a bad luck/bad bounce loss in there somewhere for #6.

Like I said in another post, I figured they get to the bye at 4-2, which even now is certainly not farfetched. It's not the losses themselves which have me discouraged, it's the way they lost those games. And I am also perturbed by Brady having approx 2.5 games (OAK, CAR, SD) where he's been consistently wild high, even when not under pressure.

13
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:29pm

The Detroit @ Tampa call (which I haven't seen) wasn't the only bad use of repaly this weekend.

Houston got a shocker @ Cincy. Carr is hit as he throws, the play is ruled a fumble and Cincy recover. Carr clearly had control of the ball and his arm was moving forward when hit, so on review this should be ruled an incomplete pass.

Somehow it wasn't, the play stood as called on the field, and when Houston got the ball back the game was essentially over. I'm not a Houston fan, but this was a replay call where there was indisputable visual evidence to reverse the play and the referee got it wrong.

14
by Aaron (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:33pm

I always figured that the Patriots would hit the bye at 3-3, then go 8-2 the rest of the way, and I still think that's reasonable. I don't understand why the comeback against Pittsburgh suddenly doesn't matter because yesterday's loss "exposed" the Patriots. The same players were missing in both games. The Patriots only play two offenses as good as San Diego for the rest of the year: Indianapolis, and Kansas City. And we know that Tom Brady can score on Kansas City at will.

Minnesota is only a top pass defense because Aaron Brooks was so awful last week. That will change once you include Week 4. But Denver and Washington are good pass defenses, and those two games will be the test for Manning.

15
by Joey (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:33pm

Re: 3
I agree with you about the control issue. Best example I've seen was the Broncos-Chiefs game last Monday night when Shanahan challenged the called Kennison TD. Shanny hates Kennison (for good reason) and just wanted to deny him the TD since he was clearly down short of the goal line. But the ref waved the entire catch off because he thought the ball hit the ground. I'm a Bronco fan but there was absolutely NO WAY that call should have been reversed. Did the ball touch the ground? Maybe. But that isn't supposed to be the issue anymore--it's control, which Kennison clearly seemed to have. The problem with replay is that if you get too caught up in it you end up overturning correct calls and that defeats the purpose.

16
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:36pm

My problem with replay is that it requires refs to go against their instinct on a call. If they think a play was probably a forward pass when it's batted out of the QB's hand, they have to rule it as a fumble anyway. Then, even though their initial judgment was that it was really an incompletion, now the burden of proof falls the other way.

Could they eliminate this problem with a late whistle? On such a play as the one above, they have to call it a fumble, because the whistle blow on an incomplete would invalidate the recovery. But if the ref were to just let the players recover it, then make the ruling based on what he really thought the play was, then the burden of indisputability would fall against what the ref actually thought happened, not by what he was forced to call, based on his instructions, on any iffy play.

17
by houlie (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:37pm

MDS: I saw the replay on Primetime, and I agree with you about seeing the "sliver of green grass" when the ball is clearly in his hands. However, when they continued the replay, it looked to me like the ball continued to slide ever so slightly in his hands towards part of his arm. It was an almost imperceptible move, pretty much just the nose of the football, but I thought I saw it. I figured that tiny bit of movement might have been considered "not having full control" by the official.

That being said, it probably was full control anyway, and regardless, it was way too close to overturn in my opinion. But I'm a Packers fan, so hey, I'll take it.

18
by Illinois Bucs Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:39pm

Re: the refs favoring the Bucs

If the Bucs were favored by the refs then they would not have missed a blatant holding call by Lions OT Backus on Simeon Rice at the beginning of the Lions' last drive, or an even worse intentional grounding no-call on Harrington earlier in the drive.

It the same for every team. The refs get it right sometimes and they get it wrong sometimes.

19
by Russell (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:47pm

Count me as a Bucs fan who believes, it was probably out of bounds, based on Pollard not having control the instant the ball hit his hands. At the same time, by the letter of the replay rule, that on-field call should NOT have been reversed. It's still debatable, so call should stand.

Calls like this are simply part of the game. Sometimes your team gets hosed, sometimes they get a gift. They usually even out in the end.

20
by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:51pm

"For the most part, I feel NFL officials do a good job on replay, so while I realize this was probably the wrong call, I hope it does not lead to a movement to eliminate replay."

Actually, the very reason I'm not a fan of replay is that I think NFL officials do a good job on the field. And I HATE the delays. The second I see the red flag I reach for the remote. So combine the delays and the occasional plays like this one where the ref screws up, and I don't see replay as something that's good for the game.

The ref didn't say Pollard didn't have control; he said Pollard's knee was out. That's a key distinction.

21
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 12:53pm

On a related note, this is one of the better MMQBs that I've read in a while. He's absolutely right calling out that there was nowhere near enough evidence to overturn that call. My only gripe is him jumping on the Eli bandwagon.

And "Jazzmen Williams"'s brother's name is hilarious.

I also agree with him in that I wonder why people seem to be eager for the Patriots to fall. I'm not. They're a phenomenal team, being coached at the top of their game, and their Super Bowls were great games to watch. I'd much rather watch that than the TB/Oakland crap where Bill Callahan could've been replaced with Mickey Mouse.

22
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:00pm

MDS:

That's mainly why I wish that that time limit meant something, and I wish it was shorter. It shouldn't take long. If you're looking for evidence that's contained within one frame of the replay, that's crazy.

There was a good use of instant replay in the Giants/Rams game. Bulger passed to Holt at the end of the first half as he was going out of bounds. The two officials on the sidelines teamed up to determine the call - one looked at possession (he had it) and the other looked at feet (he had one in bounds, and the other foot the official couldn't see, since it was behind the one that did touch). They ruled it a catch, the replay assistant reviewed it, and it should've been an easy review. One glance through the replay, and "oh, whoops, the official didn't see that the other foot didn't get down."

Easy, simple replay, and completely understandable miscall.

But too often they're reviewing incredibly close calls, and taking way too long to do it. If it takes you more than 45 seconds to tell, trust the guy who saw it and actually had depth perception on it.

23
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:09pm

I don’t understand why the comeback against Pittsburgh suddenly doesn’t matter because yesterday’s loss “exposed� the Patriots

You should post that on patriotsplanet.com, Aaron, where I had to defend your FoxSports Power rankings after the folks there ripped you a new one when you ranked New England behind Pittsburgh.

24
by Joey Harrington (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:11pm

I was robbed.

25
by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:13pm

Also robbed:

-David Carr, whose hand was clearly moving forward on that "fumble".

[side question: is there any reason why the NFL can't have officials let these borderline fumbles play out, and THEN make the on-field ruling, even if the ruling is that the runner was down or the hand was in motion, so that you don't get into this situation when the referee can either blow it dead on the spot and negate any possible replay challenge, or fail to blow it dead and stack the burden of proof against the offense?]

-Terrible pass interference against Seattle handed Washington a touchdown. Probably only one of the week's usual raft of half a dozen ridiculous p.i.'s.

[Pass interference is like the ugly family secret -- it's so important and so badly called; an appreciable minority of games turn on a dodgy 45-yarder that probably should have gone on the WR if anybody at all. Really -- they have got to do something about this, carve out a replay exception or something. I understand penalties in general, but it makes no sense to have a boundary play like Pollard's reviewable but to hand out yardage in 30- and 40-yard increments on these things. But I realize the NFL is all about points on the board, however ill-deserved.]

25
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:13pm

I still think Detroit will win 9 or 10 games this year, which will be more than good enough to win the weakest division in the weakest conference.

At least that's what my computer tells me.

"Who said the Patriots are dull? "I love that guy,'' Pats tight end Christian Fauria said last week of Tom Brady. "I wish he didn't have a girlfriend.''

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

"By my ridiculously primitive count, the game took in about $2.7 million more at the gate by being played in Mexico City instead of Tempe."

Did they charge the same gate? Were there luxury boxes? Club seating? Ancillary parking revenues? Concession and gift sales? Naming rights?

No. End of discussion. They're getting a new stadium, everyone seems to forget.

"OK, so you're tired of good sportsmanship? Tired of players who handle themselves well in the press? Tired of a team overcoming injuries and other obstacles? It makes you wonder."

Yeah. It's good the Pats are the only team with players who "handle" themselves "well in the press" (read: PR machine makes them spout jock-speak, a process helped by a local press that doesn't exactly push them), injuries and "other obstacles" to overcome.

I get the feeling there are fans of 31 other franchises who might want to win a Super Bowl. Just a hunch.

"Eli Manning nine touchdowns. Peyton Manning six."

Colts defense: 26 points allowed all season.

Giants defense: 98

P Manning: O fumbles, 0 sacks, 2 INT
E Manning: 2 fumbles, 6 sacks, 2 INT

" Saints: zero turnovers, four penalties. No surprise they won. They'd had 10 and 27, respectively, in the last two losses."

Add Buffalo, 0 QBs.

"The Denver run defense."

Courtesy of the Cleveland Browns' front office.

"The 49ers' awful offense."

Matched only by their awful defense.

"Minnesota's offensive line. I said it before and I'll say it again: Center Matt Birk's as a big a loss for that team as Randy Moss."

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I seem to recall a certain Peter King mostly blaming Peppy for these losses, alluding to the departure of Moss as a primary reason for the sluggish offensive start.

When I and others in here mentioned witnessing what might be the worst O-line in the NFC, a line that is bad not simply because of the loss of Birk (see also Dixon, et al), a problem compounded by a front office that didn't see the cause for alarm while they bid up the salaries of free agent DBs everywhere, where was King?

Blaming ol' Peppy, which is what Mike Tice did, too.

The Strib and Pioneer Press pushed Tice on this, which is exactly what a motivated, seasoned and knowledgeable media do in these situations.

"The Chiefs come to work today, the first day of their bye week, then have six full days off."

They started their vacation after the first half ended against Philly.

"I think Mike Tice is running out of clock to fix the Vikings."

Hey! I thought it was a problem caused by Moss and Culpepper! How quickly they turn.

"My favorite road Starbucks, decisively, is the Brown University Starbucks on Thayer Street in Providence."

Did you guys pay for the promo?

"Pack, 22-17."

Carolina by a FG.

27
by Browns Dude (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:14pm

Holy killjoys, Batman!

Sheesh! After all that went on with Manning last year, he has 2 great games and some people complain about people "jumping on the Eli Manning bandwagon"?

28
by Aaron (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:18pm

Re: Scott de B.'s comment. The readers of FOXSports.com are soon going to learn what FO readers already know. One of the main things that separates me from other NFL analysts is that I do not allow the results of a single game to whip my opinion of a certain team or player back and forth. They're great, they suck, they're great, they suck. I'm a little more even keel in my analysis. That meant that a slim win over Pittsburgh didn't make New England the best team in the NFL -- and a big loss to San Diego doesn't ruin their playoff chances either.

29
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:22pm

Somebody tell Carl he can put multiple comments in one post. Oh wait. See, wasn't that much nicer, Carl?

30
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:23pm

"Somebody tell Carl he can put multiple comments in one post."

They did. Last week.

31
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:24pm

"Oh wait."

OK.

32
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:24pm

"Oh wait."

OK.

33
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:25pm

"See, wasn’t that much nicer, Carl?"

Not so much.

34
by Browns Dude (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:27pm

Well, Aaron, you're wrong!

Don't you know it's all about opinions! Strong opinions! You gotta have a take!
You've gotta get noiced!

You'll never make it with that level headed, big picture, approach to things.

Has Jim Rome taught you nothing? :)

34
by Keivn (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:27pm

blah, blah, blah . . .

for the millionth time: "One call does not a game make" . . . if you need one call reveresed in order to win a game, then you need more than one ref can give you . . .

Also, how come no one ever remembers calls that go your team's way??

How many times have you ever heard this conversation ??

"Hey , how did your team do yesterday??"

" We won, but we got lucky . . . the ref gave us the ball on a fumble late in the game, and the replay clearly showed that it wasn't a fumble . . . the other team deserved to win"

probably never . . .

36
by Keivn (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:28pm

blah, blah, blah . . .

for the millionth time: "One call does not a game make" . . . if you need one call reveresed in order to win a game, then you need more than one ref can give you . . .

Also, how come no one ever remembers calls that go your team's way??

How many times have you ever heard this conversation ??

"Hey , how did your team do yesterday??"

" We won, but we got lucky . . . the ref gave us the ball on a fumble late in the game, and the replay clearly showed that it wasn't a fumble . . . the other team deserved to win"

probably never . . .

37
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:29pm

Kevin, it wasn't a "fumble" or a "forward pass." It was a tuck!

38
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:29pm

Carl:

Sorry, you're remembering wrong. Monday, September 19th's MMQB:

The loss of center Matt Birk for the season will turn out to be as damaging to this team as the absence of Moss.

I think King's doing exactly the right thing in placing blame here. Birk's loss is just as bad, if not worse, than Moss's, but it's Culpepper's fault for not compensating for it. He needs to start realize that he's rushing throws, and needs to start protecting the football more. If that means that the offense stutters more, that's fine. It's better than 4 turnovers per game.

That being said, I think the Tice comment was more along the lines of "when teams fall apart, coaches get fired" rather than "when teams fall apart, coaches should get fired".

39
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:33pm

Kevin, it wasn’t a “fumble� or a “forward pass.� It was a tuck!

"a fishstick is neither a fish nor a stick; it is a fungus"

40
by Tally (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:37pm

“One call does not a game make�

Why not? Based on win probabilities, a game on the cusp could be turned one way or another quite heavily depending on when the call was made.

Maybe a PFP article for next year can deal with which bad calls had more impact on a game based on win probabilities.

41
by Sean (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:38pm

San Diego was a very bad matchup, as they had players to attack New England's two biggest weak points- their inside linebackers and their safeties. It was demonstrated in 2002 and it was demonstrated again yesterday that Belicheck can't magically make gross player mismatches go away. On the bright side, New England isn't going to play many teams capable of exposing those flaws as readily as San Diego did, but when they do play those sorts of teams, expect the same result. That doesn't bode well for an extended playoff run.

42
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:39pm

“Five interceptions. Five! In the absolutely pathetic loss to the Bengals, Culpepper had his second straight rotten game, which – probably rightfully – is going to bring up a lot of Culpepper-is-lost-without-Randy-Moss talk. The loss of center Matt Birk for the season will turn out to be as damaging to this team as the absence of Moss.�

Peter King. Now, if I'm reading that, I think the emphasis is on Peppy and Moss first, then Birk. Maybe that's just nutty, but it's said within a context.

The context? Rewind to two weeks before that game.

"The Vikings play as well on offense as when Randy Moss roamed the tundra, and they're better on defense with Fred Smoot covering everything that moves."

Peter King, Sept. 5

Where's Birk? Where's Moss? In the world of King, no problem!

I seem to recall a certain person named Carl who mentioned, at the time, that the two things to watch in that division were: (1) The worst D-Line for GB in a long, long time; and (2) the worst O-line in MN in a long, long time.

43
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:44pm

I seem to recall a certain person named Carl who mentioned, at the time, that the two things to watch in that division were: (1) The worst D-Line for GB in a long, long time; and (2) the worst O-line in MN in a long, long time.

nah--it was TMQ who said that

44
by Darth Goofy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:51pm

With regards to reviewed calls and the receiver having possession, one of these replays ovvured in the Colts-Titans game which could have gone either way. The receiver seemed to have possession of the ball until he hit the ground. The ball did not touch the ground until a Colt's defender caught the ball and ran it back 20 or so yards. It was initially ruled a catch at the 2-yard line. After the review, it was ruled an interception because the replay official did not think the Titan's receiver ever had possession and the ball never touched the gound (cool play for anyone who did not see it). Regardless, even though I am a staunch Colt's fan, I thinght the Titans were robbed. These possession calls are so hard to call, I think there should be some clarification to make these calls eaiser to make.

Regardless, Scream, Yell "Go Horse!"

45
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 1:58pm

Now, if I’m reading that, I think the emphasis is on Peppy and Moss first, then Birk. Maybe that’s just nutty, but it’s said within a context.

Wow, that's almost the opposite of how I'd read it. I'm reading it as if he's saying "most people would say it's the loss of Moss that's the problem, but I'm telling you it's Birk."

I think King thought that the loss of Birk wouldn't be a problem, but I think he changed that opinion real, real fast.

46
by JayZ (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:05pm

How does King rank San Diego above Philly?

If they played tomorrow, Philly would murder San Diego.

47
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:08pm

A few comments.

1. Nothing is 'indisputable'.

2. If the King ten out of ten standard were actually used, no calls would be reversed by replay.

3. Re: 16 - I agree with the fundemental change in the way replay has impacted officials. However, I think the solution is to dump replay.

4. Re: 26 - Can I make a wager with your computer on Detroit winning nine games this year? Offensively, they don't look like they can run at all and I can't see Harrington suddenly turning it around.

48
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:11pm

mawbrew:

I don't agree. The Rams/Giants game where Holt was out of bounds is a great example. He didn't have both feet in. It was obvious from the replay. It was also obvious the official couldn't see his second foot. I can't imagine 10 people in a room wouldn't agree on that.

49
by B. Berrian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:13pm

As a Chicago Bear I can only say, what goes around comes around. I was in bounds too last year.

50
by OMO (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:29pm

Thank you Carl...I can promise you it still reads well.

My wife (massive Lions fan) and I (massive fan of pushing my wife's buttons by making fun of her Lions) Tivoed the Lions game, the replay and the slo mo replay on Primetime and watched it at least 100 times and it comes down to two frames (of the tape).

On the last frame before Pollard is touching the white line, he seems to have possession. But on the first frame that Pollard is touching the white line, but ball moves considerably, above 6-9 inches from the previous frame.

So the end result really comes down to a judgement call of when the ref thought he caught the ball.

Obviously the ref chose the latter, which I can't say is right or I can't say is wrong...but in my book, the ball can move and still be considered "in possession" but traditionally in my opinion the NFL views "in possession" as "the ball can't move much", which in this case it did.

Now my wife's argument and Peter King's (yes, my wife loses some points agreeing with King) is that when it's that close...you shouldn't overrule it. Which has some validity...but think about the shot...the camera is 100% focused on Pollard and the line. You couldn't have asked for a better visual record of the play and in my mind...if you can't use video replay to make the call on that "perfect shot" than you shouldn't use it at all.

51
by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:33pm

Re: 35/36 & 40

Strongly agree with Tally. Statistically unrepresentative samples are often enough discussed on this site: 16 games is an extremely small number; there are only, what, around 60 offensive plays per team per game; the success of one field goal try, the bounce of one fumble, the mark of the ball on a close fourth down play, these are almost uncontrollable chance occurrences on which whole seasons turn. The league's whole celebrated philosophy has been to distribute talent and opportunity widely. Most teams are within a few points, two or three decisive plays, of each other on most days.

It's sportstalk-jock laziness to just say, "you shouldn't have been in that position in the first place." There are 11 other guys on the field every play paid millions of dollars to put you in that position.

52
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:35pm

Peter King should never write about baseball again. Frank Catalanotto has 3 good games and suddenly he is a great player? Mariano Rivera 2nd on his MVP ballot? Jeter more valuable in the Yankees lineup than ARod? Bragging about Young getting more hits than Pujols (does he realize Pujols has a higher average and just has less hits because he didn't get as many at bats?)? And he called TB the Bucs, but maybe that was supposed to be a joke instead of a mistake.

#47,48:

I think perhaps we should change it to ten people with no rooting interest in the game. I agree that Holt call would get overturned. There was also a Holmes TD against the Jets (or was it Oakland?) where Holmes's knee clearly hit when the ball was about half a yard away from the goal. If the opposition had challenged, that would be one where 10 out of 10 agreed.

53
by Kami (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:36pm

How does King rank San Diego above Philly?

If they played tomorrow, Philly would murder San Diego.

O RLY?

54
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:40pm

I think SD has looked better than KC recently, and it took sloppy turnovers and repeated excellent field position for Philly to win by 6 against KC.

55
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 2:50pm

DavidH:

Other way around. It took sloppy special teams and repeated turnovers for KC to keep the game close. If Philly had gotten the ball on the 10 yard line each drive, they still would've scored. They were simply moving the ball at will versus KC in the latter half of the game.

KC had two good, successful drives - the first, and the last.

And actually, all the turnovers for Philly weren't sloppy. They were forced. The interception by Brown was beautiful, where the defense showed Cover 2, but was actually in Cover 3. Green threw to a crease in Cover 2, which is exactly where Brown was watching. Then two forced fumbles, one by Kearse and one by Labinjo.

You want a sloppy fumble? That's Rod Hood's first fumble on the kickoff return. The KC turnovers were forced, not sloppy.

56
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 3:06pm

In terms of the way it's been executed, I like the NCAA review system much better than the NFL's, at least to this point. I agree that the NFL's time limit is a joke. I'd like to see an announcer say, as the ref heads to the sidelines, "We'd show the clock, but there's no point, because officials all take as long as they want anyway."

The NCAA system seems to work this way:

"The play is being reviewed."
"After review, x."

in about as much time as it takes for you to read this paragraph. I don't know how I feel about college coaches not being able to ask for challenges - where would we be if we couldn't mock Martz for a random first-quarter challenge?

I saw the Pollard play a few times. To me, it's not the type of call for which replay was designed. It's not clearly one or the other, so no matter what the ref decides, it's going to look wrong. Replay was supposed to be for the Testaverde-goal-line-sneak plays.

As a Lions fan, it sucks that it was overturned, but they had already thrown away a number of points by scoring only one TD after the Bucs' flurry of turnovers. They didn't deserve to win the game.

Besides, even a last-minute TD drive doesn't always win the game for you. I remember the Minnesota game last year. Even if Pollard's touchdown had stood, the Lions would probably have allowed the Bucs' first kick-return touchdown in franchise history.

57
by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 3:15pm

It didn't end up mattering, but the last TD by the Chiefs, was a very strange replay call. I was certain his knee was down way before the ball crossed the plane. And I was shocked the replay upheld the original TD ruling. Didn't change the game outcome, but as a replay discussion, I can't explain the call.

I've always felt that on catches, replay had a problem because 'possession' is pretty much meaningless in stop motion. That is, to make it work, you need to know that in Frame 612 the reciever does not have possession, and in frame 613 he does, and I have no idea how you would ever figure that out. The real situation is you know he has it Frame 615 and you're sure he didn't in 610. Possession happens somewhere in between, but you don't know exactly when. With the Lions play, the first frame in which you could argue possession is last frame where he's in bounds. So, maybe that makes incomplete the right answer, I guess, or maybe inconclusive the right answer.

Sorry for the long winded post, but I've always wanted to try this argument out and see what people think.

58
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 3:20pm

Larry:

Hence my argument up above that if you're doing a frame by frame analysis, you shouldn't be using instant replay on this call.

59
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 3:46pm

Re: 48

Okay, my previous comment was (intentionally) overstated. You're right, there would be a few plays each year (I didn't see the play you referenced) that would pass the ten for ten test. Personally, I don't think those few plays merit the hassle of the system.

Re: 57

I think the Chiefs TD you reference is a classic replay quandry. Most of the camera angles suggest he didn't make it in. But the angles are such that you can't be certain. On the one really good angle (from across the field) you can't see the ball at all. IMO, the guy didn't make it in, but I'd be hard pressed to say there was indisputable proof in the replays.

Regarding your 'possession' comment in still frames, I agree completely.

60
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 3:46pm

Speaking of teams "handling" themselves well "with the press," what would happen if a franchise owner took a page from Mark Cuban and did the zany thing of ACTUALLY TALKING TO FANS.

Click on my name for the candid feedback from a Celtics' owner.

Do I think the Celts might select some pretty softball questions from the emailers? Yes (something Cuban doesn't really do).

But is it still impressive?

Yes.

Could you imagine anyone from the Pats' front office doing this?

No.

Could you see anyone from their conference rivals doing this?

Yes.

Bill Polian does it every week. In this age of moneyball analysis, isn't it kind of nice to see guys who plot salary cap strategy, player development and retention talking shop with the fans?

Yes.

61
by OMO (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 3:55pm

The whole point of instant replay is to use technology to HELP get the call right. I say HELP, because the entire act of officating is situational decision making that usually is judgemental.

Whether it's viewing the entire play at normal speed from another angle that the ref wasn't able to see it from or viewing a play frame by frame to see if the call was correct or not...I don't see why that matters.

The technology is there to HELP the call...not make the call, and in this case the ref still has to use judgment to determine when the catch was made...then use the technology to see if Pollard's knee was out of bounds.

Agree or not with the ref's decision point that possession was reached and when...that's fine...but I can't agree with trying to further idiotproof the subject of video instant replay applicability when the ENTIRE premise of when you use it or not is built on the same subjective opinion that later determines the correct or incorrect call.

I've never stuck my head in one of those silly photo-mart replay booths on the sidelines...but I would bet a large sum of money that the screen doesn't flash "Overturn" or "Play Stands" like some HAL 9000 AI computer is at the switch. The refs still have to display judgment and from where I sit...I'd rather trust the NFL ref on-the-field to determine applicability vs. 10 guys in a room playing "what if" with a dry erase board figuring out the zillions of possibilities that can occur on a football field and if replay applies or not.

In summary, my vote: either leave it alone or kill it all together...but either way...realize that even with Video replay...it is still judgement and mistakes will happen, just less than if it wasn't there.

62
by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 4:05pm

RE: #15 by Joey
That challenge by Shanahan in a 30-3 game killed me-- I ended up losing my Fantasy League game when they took the TD away from Kennison.

My attorney says I should sue "The Genius".

63
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 4:23pm

First off, sorry for the long post. It's about the KC-Philly game, so if you're not interested you can jump past it...

Pat:

That's true, Philly was moving the ball at will. I am letting my pro-KC bias cloud my memory of the game already. I just looked at the drive logs, and they scored on 6 of their last 8 drives. The only exceptions were the last drive where they were just kneeling to run out the clock, and the interception.

It took sloppy special teams and repeated turnovers for KC to keep the game close.

I'm going to try something I haven't done before - assigning positive and negative points for sloppy and good turnovers/special teams play. I have no idea if this will make sense or be useful, but it will at least be interesting for me.

Philly turned it over twice, right?
-The first time was the botched kickoff. That gave the Chiefs the ball at the Philly 20, and they scored a TD off of it. But the past two drives the Chiefs had gone 63 and 76 yards, it's not like they were having trouble moving the ball yet. And the Eagles hadn't figured out how to move the ball at will against the Chiefs yet. The first four drives were punt, punt, miss FG, punt. Let's say this gives the Chief a TD when they otherwise would have gotten a FG (-4 sloppy PHI)
-The second time was the interception (which was a good play). I know we hear "it's as good as a punt" and scoff, but look at this. If he drops it instead of intercepting it, it's 3rd and 17 from the Philly 46, and they are likely punting the play after that. You can't do much better tha pinning a team at their own 7, which is what the result of the INT was. KC gets one first down, punts it, and Philly has it at their own 40. I don't see that turnover being very important. (neutral)
-And Hall returned a kick for a TD. I have no idea if that was sloppy play by the Eagles or what, but it's not like Hall hasn't done this before. Doesn't he have the most in NFL history? I'm just saying, I think KC should get some credit for that, it wasn't all due to the Eagles playing badly. (-3.5 sloppy PHI, +3.5 good KC)
-Oh, and the missed FG and PAT. Damn, I forgot about those. (-4 sloppy PHI)

The Chiefs turned it over 4 times.
-The first was the Brown interception you mention. It was a good play by Brown. Also not a smart throw by Green, but good job by Brown baiting him into the throw. TD Eagles. (+7 good PHI)
-The second was the LJ fumble. You could clearly see on the replay that the ball was coming out before Kearse ever got to him. It was a bad handoff. The Eagles get the ball on the 50 with 2:40 left and get a TD. Without the turnover, the Chiefs either get some yards and a FG, or at least run some time off and punt, and the Eagles have more field to cover, and less time, amd may not score before the half. Let's say it costs KC a FG, and upgrades Philly from a FG to a TD (-7 sloppy KC)
-The third was the Hall fumble. I actually was out of the room, so I didn't see this one. But like you said, at that point KC wasn't doing much, and the Eagles were moving the ball well, so this one doesn't really seem important. (neutral)
-The last was the second Brown interception. Good play by whoever was covering the receiver to keep it up in the air for Brown to grab. The Chiefs were around the 50. so they may have been able to get a FG out of this drive with a couple plays, but I doubt it. Again, you're right, this is good defense, plus KC probably wouldn't have scored anyway, and the Eagles could scored from anywhere on the field. (neutral)

OK, so we have
-11.5 sloppy Philly
+7 good Philly
-7 sloppy KC
+3.5 good KC

I don't know what that means. Philly was 4.5 points sloppier than KC, but also 3.5 points better due to good forced turnovers? So if you take out the sloppiness you were talking about, the Eagles' margin of victory increases by 4.5 points? Maybe that's it.

This is kind of fun, but I'm not sure it's useful in any way, other than to get me to look closer at the game.

64
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 4:25pm

I’d rather trust the NFL ref on-the-field to determine applicability vs. 10 guys in a room playing “what if� with a dry erase board figuring out the zillions of possibilities that can occur on a football field and if replay applies or not.

I can't figure out what you mean here. Where did the guys with a dry erase board come from, and what do they have to do with instant replay?

65
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 4:37pm

"-11.5 sloppy Philly
+7 good Philly
-7 sloppy KC
+3.5 good KC"

Every sports department should put that agate into the paper.

Other ideas might include "Sucky coach -3; AstroTurf +1; wobbly ball +4.567; - 1.25 no mustard at concession stand; + 7 hot cocoa before third quarter, no line at restrooms = Kansas City wins!

66
by Al (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 4:38pm

This is at least the third MMQB mention of the Thayer St. Starbucks in Providence. Now, it's been a few years since I've been back in Providence, so maybe there has been development that I'm unaware of. But isn't King really going out of his way to get a cup of coffee when he's in Rhode Island?

There aren't any hotels on College Hill. If King is staying in Providence when he covers games in Foxboro, he's likely staying at one of the hotels downtown. Isn't there a Starbucks at the bottom of the hill? IIRC, there's at least one in the first floor of the Biltmore or some other hotel near the train station.

67
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 4:38pm

Where did the guys with a dry erase board come from, and what do they have to do with instant replay?

turns out that's what the refs have been looking at all this time when they go under the hood

68
by BlacktopDoc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 4:47pm

RE. Zebras aiding TB..

I noticed that no one commented on the phantom Offensive interference call on Jermaine Wiggins, calling back a TD, and changing the focus of the game. The TD would have put the Vikes ahead and forced TB to play catch-up. Replays showed clearly that the defender fell without ever being touched by the receiver.

So that is 3 games turned around for Tampa by officiating..

69
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 4:48pm

Other ideas might include “Sucky coach -3"

you might have to adjust that for Mike Martz

70
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 4:51pm

Re: 64

I think he took the 'ten out of ten' standard from King's article more literally than it was intended.

71
by ChrisG (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 5:17pm

RE#9 "the wonderful thing about a conspiracy theory is that the complete absence of evidence to support it can be taken as proof of a cover-up"

Truer words have never been posted!

72
by ChrisG (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 5:17pm

RE#9 "the wonderful thing about a conspiracy theory is that the complete absence of evidence to support it can be taken as proof of a cover-up"

Truer words have never been posted!

73
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 5:17pm

That’s true, Philly was moving the ball at will. I am letting my pro-KC bias cloud my memory of the game already.

Yah, I know. I saw the game thread comments by you. KC is probably my third favorite team (PHI/PIT/KC) as you've got Larry Johnson (from PSU) and Dick Vermeil (can't hate former coach who took them to the Super Bowl) so I do try to stay unbiased during KC/PHI games. :)

The Hall fumble was clearly punched out by Labinjo, although who knows what Hall was thinking by not going down quickly. I think he was a little eager there. There's a good photo of the ball popping out, with Labinjo underneath Hall and his arm wrapped around him.

The main problem KC had was not adjusting their defense at all at the half, and not getting Gonzalez into the game. The announcers pointed this out, but I had already screamed it to the TV about 4 times. What in the devil was KC doing using Gonzalez for a blocker on Kearse? I mean, c'mon, you can think the guy's overrated all you want, but putting a TE on him is just asking for trouble.

74
by Marcus Pollard (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 5:27pm

I had possession on frame 1545. My knee slid out of bounds on frame 1546. I know. I was there.

75
by Marcus Pollard (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 5:28pm

I had possession on frame 1545. My knee slid out of bounds on frame 1546. I know. I was there.

76
by T. Green (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 5:35pm

Is it just me, or whenever they show a picture of Dick Vermeil on the sideline, doesn't it look like he is trying to pass a kidney stone?

77
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 5:40pm

Is it just me, or whenever they show a picture of Dick Vermeil on the sideline, doesn’t it look like he is trying to pass a kidney stone?
::T. Green — 10/3/2005 @ 4:35 pm

There's part of KC's problem. Trent Green is watching TV during the game instead of paying attention to his coaches.

78
by ChrisG (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 5:45pm

I know replay slows the game down - and even though I am a Bucs (and Pats) fan there's no way THAT replay was indisputable proof of anything. I agree with #3 that it was probably the movement of the ball that caused the play to be overturned. I also agree that for the most part the hoses/gifts even out in replay like with all other calls.

My point after all this is that I like replay. Warts and all. I like the "hand of God" aspect of it. Your team just had something bad happen to it....but wait - there may be a red beanbag miracle to set things right!

79
by OMO (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 6:03pm

Dry erase board...comment further explained.

What I said (badly) is basically that I think a ref on-the-field is the best judge of when replay should be used and when it shouldn't be.

I'm fearful that an overreacting NFL (i.e., competition committee) will attempt to create more "rules" for replay use that just tie the hands of the refs vs. letting them decide on the field if the evidence supports reversing the call or not.

I'm always wary of laws or rules or guidelines that attempt to "idiotproof" decision making. I'd rather go with the philsophy that says: Put good people in positions to make the right decisions with the right support and 95 times out of 100 they will make the right call.

And when I look at the refs for the NFL, I see a bunch of well trained, highly experienced professionals that given some technological help for really tricky situations, will get it right 95 times out of 100.

80
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 6:07pm

OMO:

Keep in mind that all I'm suggesting, for instance, is to just enforce that time limit that's already suggested. Instant replay was only ever intended to be used when there's indisputable evidence. It wasn't meant to be used this way - that's why there's a clock.

I'm not suggesting change the way it's supposed to be used. I'm saying use it the way it already is supposed to be used. Can't tell? Trust the initial call. Stop trying to do this quasi-scientific analysis that's heavily limited by viewpoint, exposure time, and camera quality.

81
by buddha (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 6:09pm

"Even if Pollard’s touchdown had stood, the Lions would probably have allowed the Bucs’ first kick-return touchdown in franchise history."

Now THAT is a Lions' fan. Kudos.

After seeing botht the Lions and Wolverines get f-cked by replay officials this week, I'm beginning to question the boys in the booths...

82
by buddha (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 6:14pm

"Even if Pollard’s touchdown had stood, the Lions would probably have allowed the Bucs’ first kick-return touchdown in franchise history."

Now THAT is a Lions' fan. Kudos.

After seeing botht the Lions and Wolverines get f-cked by replay officials this week, I'm beginning to question the boys in the booths...

83
by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 6:17pm

Everyone thought Eli would be a good QB when he was coming out of college. Then the Giants mishandled playing him last year about as badly as possible. He started his first games against some of the best defenses in the NFL and he didn't have a whole lot of help on offense. Anyone who made definitive judgments about his future in the league based on those games is just stupid.

He is obviously better this year, even though the addition of Plaxico helps a lot. Always nice to have a stud who can make your jump balls look good. Ask Ben in Pittsburgh -- he had 3 of those guys last year!). (Gee, I wonder why those who think Ben is so great now downplay Eli for using Plaxico the same way?!)

Do you suppose Peyton wouldn't love just once to have a receiver who could go up a take the ball from a defender? Marvin makes some great catches, but he's never taken one away from a DB.

Anyway, Eli is going to be a good QB. Even a fool could see that it would happen sooner or later. I expect he will continue to develop over the next 5 years.

84
by Lucas (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 6:26pm

Re:57

On the Dante Hall "TD" at the end of the KC/Philly game, I think the evidence was pretty indisputable that the ball didn't get into the endzone before his knee hit the ground, because the ball, in fact, never got into the endzone. The closest it got was Hall's shoulder hitting the pilon after he started to slide.

It wasn't that bad a call in real time, but that the official did not overturn it after the replay is mind boggling.

Somebody mentioned that the one replay where you could see his knee go down didn't show the ball...that's true, but you could see that his entire body was a full half yard short of the endzone.

That he let the call stand basically made it seem like he didn't feel as though the play mattered and he couldn't be bothered.

85
by Lucas (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 6:31pm

Re:57

On the Dante Hall "TD" at the end of the KC/Philly game, I think the evidence was pretty indisputable that the ball didn't get into the endzone before his knee hit the ground, because the ball, in fact, never got into the endzone. The closest it got was Hall's shoulder hitting the pilon after he started to slide.

It wasn't that bad a call in real time, but that the official did not overturn it after the replay is mind boggling.

Somebody mentioned that the one replay where you could see his knee go down didn't show the ball...that's true, but you could see that his entire body was a full half yard short of the endzone.

That he let the call stand basically made it seem like he didn't feel as though the play mattered and he couldn't be bothered.

86
by steelershomer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 6:55pm

San Diego was a very bad matchup, as they had players to attack New England’s two biggest weak points- their inside linebackers and their safeties.

And the Steelers didn't?

New England left everything on the field in the game against Pittsburgh -- whom they beat up. But it cost them. That's why they lost yesterday. I don't think they were "exposed" in terms of any game planning; they'll recover quicker than people wish.

87
by Clod (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 7:15pm

First off, sorry for the long post. It’s about the KC-Philly game, so if you’re not interested you can jump past it…

BRILLIANT!!

88
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 7:52pm

stan:

Really, don't jump on the Plaxico Burress bandwagon too early. Only Mike Martz is so brilliant that we can't understand his reasoning for leaving a 5'11" corner on someone almost half a foot taller, even after he's been burned for over a hundred yards.

Other teams defenses simply can't measure up to that brilliance.

89
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 10:12pm

You're right, blacktop. The Bucs may be in the midst of one of the most offciating-aided runs to the playoffs in NFL history. They could quite easily be 1-3 right now, if the zebras had called the games right, with all three losses coming against the pathetic NFC North. The again, if Detroit, Green Bay, and Minnesota each had one more victory, there would be less talk of how awful the division is, even though it is the worst in the league.

Funny how perceptions in the NFL turn on such slight variances.

90
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 10:25pm

Speaking of the Vikings, I'd love to know if it was Tice's call to not bring back Dixon at the veteran's minimum, and to do nothing to add depth to the offensive line. Also, amidst all the fault-finding going on, the Vikings receivers are getting off too easy. A guy who played in an option offense until July may be their best receiver right now, and on Culpepper's first interception yesterday, TE Kleinsasser demonstrated the vertical leap of an overweight accountant in a pick-up basketball game at the local YMCA. In contrast, when Vick threw his passes high, his receivers actually would leap, in an attempt to catch the ball, which they did with some success. Imagine that!

91
by Daniel (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 11:07pm

Why does it seem like perenial losers like the Lions always seemed to get the shaft? It was a bad call, but good teams overcome mistakes to win. Although that call may cost both the Lions and the Falcons at the end of the season.
Count me in as one of the people that is tired of the Patriots. I'm tired of announcers and columnists going out of their way to tell me what a great bunch of guys they are. Or how they all love each other and play selflessly. The analytical side of my brain tells me they are a great team and that their players are really good. But I cannot help rooting against them. I know Belicheck is a great coach. I know Tom Brady may be one of the best QBs since Unitas. But I still loved watching the Chargers stuff the ball down their throats in the second half. I hope other teams will utilize the Chargers game philosophy and the Patriots never win another game. But I also know that only the Chargers have LT and Gates to exploit those weaknesses. But I can dream, can't I?

92
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 11:12pm

I didn't see the end of the Detroit/Tampa game, so I haven't seen the play in question, and won't comment on that aspect. But I was wondering, what did Detroit do with 3rd and 4th down? They would have had the ball on the 12 with at least 2 more shots at the end zone (don't know how many timeouts), they could have gone ahead and scored anyway and made the whole controversy moot. They didn't. Did they even come close?

93
by Ted (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 11:14pm

Agreed with whoever said that this is one of the better MMQB's in a while. Also agreed with whoever said he shouldn't talk about baseball. So A-Rod is not an MVP because he plays with too many other good hitters. What? Don't even get me started on saying Jeter is as good as him.
Finally, "The Bengals have beaten four teams with a combined 3-10 record". Well, yes. But this ignores that these four teams are 0-4 against the Bengals. Take that out and it's a 3-6 record. I'll admit that the Bengals have had a pretty easy schedule, but how can King disparage the Bengals for this while ranking them below the Bucs and not even mentioning Tampa's even easier schedule (Green Bay, Minnesota, Buffalo, Detroit)?

94
by Ted (not verified) :: Mon, 10/03/2005 - 11:26pm

Sorry for the Carl-like posting here but I forgot to mention what King, or more accurately Phil Simms, said about the Patriots. He is dead right. I am not a Patriots fan (Raiders all the way) but I can't see why people are sick of the Pats. Don't they represent the qualities America claims to want in their sportsmen? They're great on the field, don't whoop and holler every time they make a regulation tackle, play with good grace and sportsmanship, and stay out of trouble off the field. You can be a little sick of the constant media fellating of them but don't take that out on the team itself.
The same thing is happening in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs. It seems like every other article I read about the NBA complains about "thuggish players with no fundamentals who are a bunch of selfish millionaires who don't play as a team or play defense". Then you have the Spurs who represent almost the polar opposite of these generally ridiculous, offensive (and often borderline racist) stereotypes, and what do people say? "Oh they're boring." The moral of the story? People are idiots.

95
by HLF (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 12:32am

Trogdor,

Harrington threw both third and FOURTH down passes out of bounds, both completely uncatchable, the fourth down pass ridiculously uncatchable even by plastic-man. These are my Lions. (sigh).

The only plus to come out of this game is WCF didn't yet extend Millen the supergenius and Harrington's contracts another five years each yet. Maybe next week?

96
by DavidH (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 12:53am

You can be a little sick of the constant media fellating of them but don’t take that out on the team itself.

The problem is that the only way for the fellating to end is to have teams stuff the ball down their throats.

Then you have the Spurs who represent almost the polar opposite of these generally ridiculous, offensive (and often borderline racist) stereotypes, and what do people say? “Oh they’re boring.� The moral of the story? People are idiots.

Are the people complaining about the "thugs" really the same ones who are complaining about SA being boring? It seems like I usually read a column that EITHER says "NBA thugs should be more like the saintly Spurs" OR "The Spurs are so boring." I haven't payed enough attention to know if those two types of articles are written by the same authors.

97
by Ted (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 1:07am

DavidH,
Generally yes, these differing viewpoints are being written by the same people. I distinctly remember a Stephen A Smith article about the lack of marketable NBA superstars where he said that too many of them were tattoed, cornrowed guys obsessed with "street cred" who turned off generic white America and then later said that Tim Duncan was too "boring" to be marketable. Also for all the complaining that has been done about the thuggishness and selfishness of the NBA, the ratings for the Spurs vs Pistons, supposedly two of the "acceptable" teams, were terrible with people constantly complaining about how boring it was. We'll probably have to agree to disagree on the Patriots.

98
by Joey (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 2:01am

The problem with anything from Stephen A. Smith is that he's famous for taking both sides of arguments. I actually like him for saying whatever he thinks, popular or not. (He's like Barkley in that regard.) Problem is, it's all total stream of consciousness that oftentimes isn't completely thought out.

One pet peeve about him: The last three times I've seen him on air or read an interview with him, he's made a point of how much money he makes ("I'm making about NBA minimum now," or "Well, I'm not making the big bucks like so-and-so.") There's nothing more annoying to me than that. His income has absolutely nothing to do with anything. His takes wouldn't be any worse if he were making minimum wage and they wouldn't be any better if he were making $50 million.

99
by Bobby (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 10:14am

Most of this debate over questionable replay rulings ignores one thing: They almost always will favor the home team, unless it is late in the season and the visting team is playoff-worthy and the home team is going nowhere.

Generally, it is good business for the 70,000 paying customers to leave happy. If the referees -- who are paid by the league and who are more than likely being schooled somewhere, by someone who is also paid by the league -- are in a position to turn or keep a game in favor of the home team, you can bet that they will. If you have watched football long enough, then this should be very obvious.

In football betting, the oddsmakers give three points for home field. It ain't because the fans come down and make plays!

100
by Ted (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 10:23am

ATTENTION! The guy named ''steelershomer'' is linking us to spyware!!!!!!! Rot, pal!

101
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 11:28am

I don't get why people say the Patriots are boring. They're not a "3 yards and a cloud of dust" offense, and they have one of the most complex, creative defenses in the league. Last year TMQ said the Pats were boring because they win all the time. Well, this year is proving to be an exception to that rule, so can we drop the boring label?

102
by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 11:45am

Sorry for this being such a "Carl-like" post.

"TE Kleinsasser"

You know, Will, the Vikes wanted to turn him into a FB, which I actually thought was an excellent idea. He's a good blocking TE (with the biggest biceps I think I've ever seen in a locker room), and can sort of catch. He would be the perfect solution to the Vikes' obvious line woes AND would open up more short passes for a clearly exasperated Peppy to get off, especially screens.

The problem, of course, is that he's coming off major surgery and hasn't quite rounded into form. He never exactly had "breakaway" speed to begin with, and now he kind of slumps into the DB, using his bulk much as a NBA center like Shaq would use his to bang under the boards.

That's good in basketball, bad in the human pinball machine that's the NFL.

And it still doesn't really address a front office debacle. They knew Birk was going under the knife and probably would not be available on one side of his hip, much less on both. There were free agents available. Dixon wanted to come back, but the front office wanted to move on.

Well, if you're going to move on, you better have someone to move on to, and the Vikes didn't.

As for King, he clearly didn't see any of this when he went to the camp. Now, I didn't go to the Vikes' camp this year, but I could see on paper that they were going nowhere with that line. Having Burleson gone for awhile (although Tice was saying he was coming back soon) won't help, but it's not their chronic problem.

They can get by against teams with weak defensive fronts such as New Orleans, Green Bay, etc. But I don't see how they can compete against Chicago, Carolina, Detroit, NY Giants, etc.

It's a bad division and I think Detroit is the least bad of the bad.

103
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 11:50am

Go Chicago! the first 5-11 team to win thier division (5-1 vs NFC North, 0-10 vs everybody else). You heard it here first.

104
by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 12:21pm

"Carolina by a FG."

You're welcome.

105
by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 12:27pm

Pat,

Sagarin now has Philly as the best team in the NFL. I don't buy it, but I understand how the Markov would shake out. Indianapolis beat a team on Sunday that's still a year from melding its defense into place.

106
by steelershomer (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 2:30pm

Ted -- OMG, I'm really sorry about that. I have no connection to the site "nospam.com" and just listed it as something random to fill out the form. Never checked to see if it even existed. Crap.

OK, I've thought of a new one that I'm sure will never exist ...

107
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2005 - 3:18pm

Carl, when they didn't bring back Dixon, I thought they were taking a big chance on developing an effective left guard, although they have had some success in developing previously unknown offensive linemen. I do think you overestimate knowledge of Birk's condition. Why did they take him off the PUP list, if they thought he'd be going back under the knife? Doing so forced them to later keep a roster spot open for him until his return, or losing him for the year to the injured reserve list. If they thought he needed further surgery, they should have kept him on the PUP list.

In any case, Tice's is going to be the most prominent hanging, so it would be interesting to know how large a role in these personnel decisions he had. Tice may or may not be decent NFL head coach one day, but McCombs really screwed him. From losing Linehan, to having an assistant take on the coordinator role and the ol assistant job at the same time, to signaling to the players that the coaching staff was not likely to be around long, there were a lot of obstacles that even a very good NFL head coach would have trouble overcoming.

Toss in a poorly performing o-line, and a rash of injuries on the defensive side of the ball (why the spread in the Atlanta game was so narrow was great mystery to me), and Tice never had a chance. If he actually puts something together, and the Vikings win 4 of 6 divisional games, since if a NFC North team does so, it will likely win the division, then Tice is a candidate for Coach of the Year.

I agree Kleinsasses was a GREAT blocker prior to his injury. We'll see if he makes it back. It would be nice however, to have receivers jump more than two inches on passes that are thrown high when the QB is under pressure.

108
by Moe (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 5:03am

Classic King in the Tuesday edition - T

The Patriots are really a class act - except when they aren't... huh?

Not understanding why the rest of the country would prefer to see another team(read potentially their team) win?

King is a butt licking, management shill of a joke.

109
by Moe (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 5:07am

Classic King in the Tuesday edition - T

The Patriots are really a class act - except when they aren't... huh?

Not understanding why the rest of the country would prefer to see another team(read potentially their team) win?

King is a butt licking, management shill of a joke.

110
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 9:09am

Obviously "Daniel" in post 91 is really Skip Bayless in disguise....have some more haterade!

And LT seems to have our teams number in the few limited times we've seen him.

111
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 10/06/2005 - 5:06pm

I can't believe after 110 posts, nobody's jumped on the "lead of the week"

"Richie no longer is incognito."

Then King sings its praises at the same time he mentions how low that fruit was hanging.

Dear Peter:
I have some candidates for headline of the week. You may use them at will, provide you tell me that that's "one heck of a lead you've got there":

Thanks to Tom, Patriots are Brady's Bunch.
Junior makes ballcarriers Say Ow.
Opponents know what Natrone Means.
Jonathan Quinn Eskimo-cold.
To Drew, winning games is a Brees.
Ahman doesn't look so good in Green.
Orlando helps the O-line pick up the Pace.
Is Anthony the Wright decision for the Ravens?
Arnaz wins the Battle against Julian.