Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Sep 2012

MMQB: Manning Returns

PK breaks down Week 1 action, with an emphasis on Mr. Griffin, Peyton Manning, and the replacement officials.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 10 Sep 2012

37 comments, Last at 13 Sep 2012, 7:10am by Karl Cuba


by TheBlondeBomber (not verified) :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 11:39am

Is the site down for anyone else?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 12:01pm

Regarding Modell, how the hell does an NFL owner in 1995 get his finances so screwed up that a bank won't loan him 5 million? It wasn't as if the T.V. money wasn't covering payroll back then.

by dbt :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 2:32pm

Ugh; I'll have to find it, but I was reading a more thorough review of his career this weekend, and apparently he was highly leveraged/in debt when he first bought the Browns many years ago, and was always refinancing and taking on more debt after that; one of the reasons he desperately needed a new stadium paid for by the city in Cleveland is that he had absolutely no money of his own.


by Independent George :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 3:01pm

If that's true, then Modell's even worse in my eyes. If he really was that short on cash, the answer in any other industry is to sell either his team or some other asset, and not rely on a taxpayer subsidy. If sports reporters were real journalists, they'd try and determine what the finances really were instead of just parroting back answers from each side and calling it a day.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 4:02pm

I just looked his wiki page. For a guy to have purchased an NFL team, for 4 million in 1961, to end up close to insolvent by 1995, takes remarkable mismanagement, even if the original purchase purchase was about 70% leveraged. NFL teams, from about 1970 on, have been throwing off cash like a drunk with a handful of ones in a strip joint. He also tried to cheat some business partners, with dishonest accounting, apparently, which ended up with civil judgements against him.

He could tell a good joke, though, so all's well with the likes Peter King, Intrepid Journalist.

(edit) Let is also be noted that if this guy gets into the HOF before any player who put together a season's worth of starts in his career, it's a crime.

by Biebs :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 12:03pm

How is it that Tim Tebow did enough to say his name 10 different times in the article. (Tebow Count By Page: 2, 3, 4, 0, 1).

by Dan :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 12:21pm

And now 2 of the first 4 comments in this thread mention Tebow. It's pretty ridiculous; Brad Smith never got this much attention.

by merlinofchaos :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 12:32pm

And now I imagine someone chasing down Miracle Max shouting "Tebow! Tebow Tebow Tebow!" "Shut up, witch!"

by Joseph :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 12:38pm

"unknown RB Jonathan Dwyer"
Wasn't Dwyer a high-round draft pick?

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:32pm

Nope, they got him in the 6th round. However, he did play in 7 games last season and averaged over 7 yards a carry, so not sure how somebody like PK wouldn't have heard of him.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:13pm

Dwyer was a yellow jacket in college. Played in triple option offense. For ACC tema. So like guy should be known

by KamMoye :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:19pm

Peter King is such a hack.

by Guest789 :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:20pm

Smith outplayed Aaron Rodgers? I wasn't aware that they were playing against the same defense.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:22pm

I think PK is spot-on regarding the replacement officials. They've done a darn good job and if I were a regular ref, I'd be looking to settle right about now. Particularly if I was a guy who DIDN'T have an amazing day job that outpays what the NFL is offering. (And I'm guessing that must be most of them.)

by RickD :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:29pm

I wasn't quite as impressed as you or PK. They let Drew Brees get away with intentional grounding twice.

A lot of penalties happen on the field on parts that are not covered by the camera. If we don't see a penalty that the refs don't call, that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Of course the same criticism holds for the regular refs, but I mean it just as a check on some of the enthusiasm.

I thought the refs were reluctant to make game-changing calls like PI. Of course, that might be a good thing - too many receivers thrive on playing the refs.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:36pm

I don't disagree with anything you said, but for the regular refs to come out ahead in this deal, the replacements need to be utterly awful. And instead they've been pretty much indistinguishable from the regular guys. Have there been some mistakes? Sure, but the regular guys routinely made mistakes, as well. And you get the attitude from the replacements that they're actually interested in learning from their mistakes. The regular guys have had an aura of not wanting to be questioned for a long time.

by Craig in NS (not verified) :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 6:48pm
by Harry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 4:33am

You're right. Today the replacements are inferior, but the longer the replacement refs work, the more experience they'll get and the better they'll get. Good refereeing is mostly about experience. Every week-end that goes by without a major screwup reduces the leverage of the regular guys.

by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 5:55am

You don't think they were awful? You must have been watching different games than I. Deadspin has a good roundup. Some of the worst errors were in the afternoon games:
- SF-GB Refs calling a block in the back on the kicking team
- SF-GB Refs throwing a flag on a clear block in the back (there were, as Aikman pointed out, two clear blocks in the back on the play, which was a punt return for a TD), and then incredibly stating that there was no penalty.
- SEA-ARI Refs giving Seattle a 4th timeout and then lying about it.

The NFL actually doesn't give a shit if their refs screw up all season, but let's not pretend that the refs didn't totally suck this weekend.

by RC (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:55am

" SF-GB Refs throwing a flag on a clear block in the back (there were, as Aikman pointed out, two clear blocks in the back on the play, which was a punt return for a TD), and then incredibly stating that there was no penalty."

And then Pereira pointed out, after Aikman was adamant, that they'd done the correct thing because the guy who they'd thrown the flag at wasn't actually a block in the back.

There was a block in the back, they just missed it. It happens on almost every long kick return/punt return.

Yeah, the replacements are terrible, but they aren't any more terrible than the regular refs.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 09/13/2012 - 7:10am

Refs do miss stuff on special teams but they usually get the blatant ones where the defender ends up flying face-first into the turf just in front of the returner.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 09/13/2012 - 7:08am

The penalty that was called on the 49ers after their first punt was legit. Spillman reached back behind him and dragged the Packer to the floor while diving, it was a real veteran/sneaky move intended to draw the flag. I'm not sure what they should have called it, maybe defensive holding or unsportsmanlike conduct. It's in the gamebook as 'illegal block above the waist', whatever that is.

by Alternator :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 1:41am

Some of the refs were excellent (Giants-Cowboys, Patriots-Titans) and some were atrocious (Packers-49ers), while most were pretty solid and didn't draw attention to themselves.

Certainly they were good enough that the league isn't in danger of immediately losing the PR war, and while I could care less about the pay scale issues, I really want to see the league successfully win in-season replacement crews. I see games as poorly called as Packers-49ers every year, and it'd be nice for those crews to take a week off and go over the tape.

by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 6:05am

I didn't watch all the games, but of the games I saw, the refs ranged between horrible and a total trainwreck, with the lone exception being the crew that did the Wednesday and MNF SD-OAK game.

SF-GB was absolutely insanely horrible. Worst officiating I've ever seen at any level.
SEA-ARI was a close 2nd. Just some terrible calls. Not knowing the rules is also a problem.
WAS-NO was pretty terrible as well.
NE-TEN had a bunch of really terrible calls and non-calls (and I say that as a Pats fan, when the Pats clearly benefited).

Maybe all the other games were really really competently officiated. But I doubt that. I think you probably weren't paying close attention, and the fact that the announcers are pretty clearly being instructed not to overly criticize the officiating probably minimizes that.

When the NFL has to issue gag orders to coaches (and most likely the networks) to not criticize the officiating, maybe we have a problem.

by RC (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:51am

"I wasn't quite as impressed as you or PK. They let Drew Brees get away with intentional grounding twice."

Marquee quarterbacks getting away with things? I'm shocked!

The regular refs called intentional grounding about 10% of the time it happened. I don't think the replacements are that far off.

by Tony D. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:54pm

If I didn't know different, I wouldn't have been able to tell a difference between the real refs and the new guys. And that's even with the extra attention they're under.

by Guest789 :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:29pm

Also, idealogical saddlebag. That is all.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by QCIC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 3:29pm

I think when people are complaining about the replacement refs they are failing to remember how much the discussion was exactly the same Monday with the regular refs.

Yes they made 20% more bad calls, but that is barely noticeable when the baseline is so high. Reffing is a hard job. I think they did a fine job for it being their first year.

by MaineSkin :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 5:39pm

20% more? That's incredibly high to start. Its not the missed calls as much as not knowing the rules. There's is no excuse why Pete Carroll has to run out onto the field dscreaming for a flag because AZ just called back to back TOs. And, its not a penalty to call a TO when your out of them, its to be ignored. These are unexusable and Goddell could have and should have
@MaineSkinhad a plan considering every analysis I trad forecasted this holdout over a year ago. I agree we complain about calls every year, but complaining about the recd not knowing the rules of a game that's a $9B enterprise is foolish.

by Jerry :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 7:16am

Aaron Rodgers only completed 14% more of his passes than Curtis Painter did of his last year. It was noticeable.

by MaineSkin :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 4:24pm

@MaineSkin ok new reader here.. why cant I see the article?

by merlinofchaos :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 1:43am

The title is a link to the article elsewhere. That is typical of Extra Points.

by Honest Abe (not verified) :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 4:04am

Ideological saddlebags --- nice phrase, Peter King. Also, nice balanced article about Modell.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 9:23am

You're getting lazy.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 9:53am

He was distracted while waiting for his double non-fat latte.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 10:58am

And there's a new beer he just heard about called Bud Light Lime.

by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 5:59am


And a new tasty concoction served at his hotel called "Taster's Choice." Full bodied, complex notes, and goes down easy. PK may have found a replacement for Starbucks for his coffee on the road.