Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features


» 2017 Adjusted Games Lost

Two NFC teams were hit hardest by injuries last year. One already set the AGL record in 2016, while the other has a coach with the worst AGL since 2002. Also: the Rams' incredible bill of health in L.A., and Tampa Bay's questionable injury reporting.

28 Oct 2010

Walkthrough: The RefBerry

by Mike Tanier

Picture for a moment the typical on-field referee conference.

Derrick Mason falls out of bounds, his tippy toes brushing the line and his hands juggling the football. Or Ben Roethlisberger comes within a yard of the end zone with the ball in his general vicinity. It's conference time. The zebras gather. What did you see? What did you see? What does the rulebook say? Does anyone have one?

It's primitive, like cavemen trying to recreate the mammoth hunt from memory. Especially compared to what we are doing -- watching slow-motion replays from 30 angles, some on the high-def television, some on our high-tech telephones.

Portable, reliable, hand-held devices that provide instantaneous information. What an idea.

I finally upgraded my cell phone to one that does things like Tweet, check e-mail, and play video. Those features are probably old hat to you, but I find them amazing. The video quality on my phone isn't great, but if I had spent an extra hundred bucks I could have gotten a bigger, clearer screen. My phone plays the NFL Network and NFL Red Zone. With a wave of the commissioner's hand, it could easily stream the video of a game in progress. That would grant fans and reporters instant access to replays in the stands, the press box, the car while driving, and everywhere in the world except the field itself, where they can actually do some good.

So, why can't referees use this technology?

I propose a new device: the iRef, or the RefBerry if we don't want Apple to have a monopoly. Basically, the iRef/RefBerry is a smart phone customized for football officials. No more conferences based on faulty memories of split-second plays. No more trips under the hood to consult the magic dragon. No more challenge sequences like this one, straight from the Gamebook of the Browns-Saints game:

(Shotgun) D.Brees pass short left to M.Colston to CLV 22 for 4 yards (E.Wright). FUMBLES (E.Wright), and recovers at CLV 23. M.Colston to CLV 23 for no gain (E.Wright). After the play, the Saints attempted to rush a field goal attempt, as Cleveland through the CHALLENGE flag, asserting that Colston FUMBLED and the ball was recovered by Cleveland. This challenge was DENIED, as the play was not reviewable. After the third quarter ended, the Saints then challenged the ruling that Colston was down by contact. New Orleans challenged the runner was down by contact ruling, and the play was REVERSED. (Shotgun) D.Brees pass short left to M.Colston to CLV 21 for 5 yards (E.Wright).

My proposed iRef has a screen the size of a Kindle, high-def feed, and a searchable rulebook Wiki built in. The Wiki is voice activated, so when the official says "Possession in the end zone," the relevant page in the rulebook appears. The video feed runs on a 15-second delay, about what television feed runs on (delay varies from seven to almost 45 seconds). So when Mason catches a ball on the sidelines and it's not clear where his feet were, one official can whip out the device and get a second look almost immediately. If he thinks the live call got botched, he can correct it quickly. If he needs to, he can call a quick meeting and show the other refs another replay. He can even show it to the coaches to explain his decisions.

The RefBerry can dial straight into the satellites to provide officials with every possible camera angle, even ones television didn't show. The line judge and umpire can be tuned to the cameras that follow the trenches. Did the Packers hold? Let's double check on 15-second delay. Yep. Throw the flag.

Did that linebacker lead with his helmet? Check the replay immediately. Yep: 15-yard penalty. Suddenly, there's more safety and less controversy.

The iRef/Refberry wouldn't make officials technology-dependent. It would just make them more like us. Officials need instant information to make instant decisions. We've all seen referees peek at the Jumbo Screen while conferring, but the league frowns on it, and the home team is only going to show the most favorable angle on a controversial play. The iRef frees officials them from an outdated system. It gives them the same advantages we have. Doesn't that make basic sense?

Would it slow the game down? You would have more 30-45 second stoppages while officials checked the feed immediately on the field, but fewer five-minute delays while they ran back and forth from the mystery hood for every play after the two-minute warning. Instead of back-and-forth challenges, officials could point to a screen shot, point to a line in the rulebook, and resolve conflicts fairly. Heck, they could even upload the feed to the jumbo screen and the television satellite and point out to us why they made the call, instead of standing around scratching their elbows nervously.

The iRef. The RefBerry. It's time to take officiating out of the Stone Age.

Burn This Play!

Every once in a while, the Giants do something terrible that doesn't involve a punt, a Brandon Jacobs mental error, or a tipped pass. When that happens, Walkthrough is there.

Midway through the second quarter, the Giants trailed 13-7, thanks mostly to a tip-drill interception and a Jacobs fumble. Tony Romo had just been knocked out of the game, and the Giants wanted a big play on first down from the 20-yard line. They dialed up a deep play-action pass to Hakeem Nicks to test the vulnerable Cowboys secondary. Sounds simple enough.

Figure 1: Giants triple-team Ware

The Giants had no intention of letting DeMarcus Ware get to Eli Manning on this play, so they did four things to stop him (Fig. 1). First, they kept Kevin Boss (89) in to block. Second, they rolled Rich Seubert (69) to his left to double-team Ware. Third, they had Ahmad Bradshaw (44) try to chip Ware after taking the play fake. Finally, Manning rolled right, away from the guy they were triple-teaming.

Ware responded by shedding Boss, taking one step to the outside, then dipping and cutting inside. Both Seubert and Bradshaw were protecting against an outside move. Three blockers, and Ware gets inside all of them.

Manning only has two receivers. The pre-snap read was a two-deep zone, and the Cowboys cornerbacks were clearly in man coverage from the snap. Mike Jenkins stayed over the top of Nicks, and Alan Ball got excellent position underneath the receiver. It's hard to be more covered than Nicks was on this play, but Manning had nowhere else to go with the ball, and Ware is closing in. The pass fell incomplete, but it could easily have been an interception.

In summary: Three-on-one blocking is a little excessive, and if you are going to do it, it had better work. If you are sending a receiver on a post pattern against man coverage with safety help, send a nifty-shifty guy, not a possession-type like Hicks. And when you're out of the pocket and no one's open, you can throw the ball away. Or, you can just burn this play.

Sneak It

The punter sneak may replace the surprise onside kick as the "cool" special teams trick after Reggie Hodges rambled 68 yards for the Browns on Sunday.

Fake punts aren't that unusual -- teams run about one per year -- but most fake punts aren't punter sneaks. Designed fakes are usually direct snaps to the personal protector, who is often a running back. The occasional punter pass gets sprinkled in, because many punters were quarterbacks in high school. The punter sneak is easier to execute and camouflage than either of these plays, and most punters are pretty good athletes. Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer said Hodges ran "like a logging train on an uphill grade," but that was a little poetic license. Hodges ran like an average quarterback, not as well as Vince Young but much better than Philip Rivers.

Look through punter rushing stats, and you can see just how rare punter sneaks are. It's hard to find a successful punter with significant positive rushing yardage. Here are the rushing statistics for the top five punters in history by yardage, plus a few other legendary punters:

Rushing Stats for Punters
Punter Rushes Yards Longest
Jeff Feagles 19 -1 12
Sean Landeta 3 0 0
Lee Johnson 10 -32 13
Brad Maynard 4 5 20
Chris Gardocki 0 0 0
Dave Jennings 6 16 9
Ray Guy 11 43 24
Reggie Roby 9 4 12

I am not sure how Chris Gardocki got through an entire career without a single "carry," since punter runs are mostly aborted plays and "run backward for a safety" plays, in addition to the odd sneak. While fumbled snaps and blocked kicks fall into other categories, plays where the punter is just overwhelmed and forced to crumple account for a large number of their carries and huge chunks of negative yardage. Feagles is at minus-11, for example, because he lost 15 yards on one play in 2002 when he was swamped before he could get rid of the ball.

While looking up the rushing stats I also checked out the passing stats. Feagles was 0-for-8 as a passer, while Johnson was 5-of-6 with two touchdowns. Johnson's touchdowns came as a field-goal holder, and many punter rushes also come when they are forced to tuck and run while holding. In other words, we're in a fascinating little statistical junkyard. Every punter carry is a play where something happened -- good, bad, embarrassing, nutty, or straight from the fertile imagination of Jim Zorn. Walkthrough favorite Hunter Smith has four carries for 42 yards and two touchdowns, plus a touchdown pass. He's the only modern punter I could find with three touchdowns, certainly the only one with three touchdowns and a music career.

Steve Weatherford of the Jets is the league's most well-known sneak artist, besides Hodges and Smith. A former high school decathlete, Weatherford has 47 yards on three carries in his career and was given the green light to sneak a few times last season. Like many Rex Ryan innovations, the punter sneak was inherited from dear old dad. Eagles fans remember John Teltschik well: seven carries, 91 yards, and three 23-yard sneaks. Teltschik was also 1-of-3 as a passer. Teltschik couldn't punt with any consistency, but his tendency to sneak without warning (sometimes, it wasn't a called fake, just a wild hare) added to the chaos of Buddy Ball.

The last punter to gain more than 60 yards was Tom Wittum of the 49ers in 1973. Wittum's 61-yard run wasn't a designed sneak. From the newspaper account: "The snap was high and when he came down he saw that New Orleans had rushed the middle, the flanks were open, and he took off. 'I was just going for the first down, but I had a lot of blockers so I kept going,'" Wittum reached the four-yard line but was tackled when he "ran out of blockers."

Wittum was a good athlete. The White Sox offered him a baseball contract, and the Niners later let him catch and throw a few passes, in addition to running two more times, once for 13 yards and once for a loss of 10. The newspaper article from 1973 noted that Wittum had a higher per-carry average than O.J. Simpson (one carry for 63 yards will do that). Wittum's career per-carry average of 22.0 has to be among the highest in history once you strip off the per-carry minimums, though Hodges is higher for the time being. One or two near-blocks will bring him back to earth.

The punter sneak is an easy play for the special teams coach to install mid-week. If he sees the opponent's return unit bail at the snap on film, ignoring the punter while blocking the gunners, he can put it in the game plan. He can call the play if the situation is right, and the punter can audible out of it if the opponent surprises him by going for the block. Because it is so easy to check out of, a fake punt is low risk. A look at the stats suggest that it's also low reward, but maybe, like the surprise onside kick until recently, it has been underutilized. And once the opponent is on notice that the punter might run, the gunners may have an easier time getting downfield.

So let's get these guys some carries. Well, all of them except Matt Dodge. That poor kid has enough to worry about.

My Opponent Blows His Nose with Your Tax Dollars

I demand a ban on political advertising during football games.

It's bad enough to sit in a sports bar and see the same light beer ad flicker from one satellite feed to another, forcing me to look at men in rainbow Speedo shorts who didn't "man up" and order the proper light beer. But when the same stupid, accusatory political ad runs seven or eight times in a row, it turns a beautiful autumn Sunday sour. Instead of wondering how good Roddy White has become, I get mad at how my intelligence is being insulted.

To be clear, I demand a ban across all parties and affiliations, including and especially those vague Americans to Promote Justice and Goodness groups who accuse candidates of canary fondling. In our local campaigns, one guy is accusing the other of funding a front for a terrorist operation. Seriously. Not to be outdone, his opponent accuses him of sending jobs away to China. The ad comes complete with Bruce Lee-style lettering and a fortune cookie, just in case you didn't catch the casual xenophobia. At least I think these guys are opponents; the ads make it clear who to vote against but not to vote for, so I get mixed up about who is challenging whom. Ban them, ban them all.

There's even an ad that goes like this: "My Opponent, Mike Poopyface, claims that he created 9,000 jobs for Bumblehump County. Unfortunately, nothing can be further from the truth." Really? Nothing? What if he claimed to create nine million jobs? Assuming your point is that he didn't create any jobs (he sold them all to ring wraiths), wouldn't logic dictate that creating 9,001 jobs be "further from the truth" than creating 9,000? Can we at least get the internal logic of a 30-second ad correct? Nope. So ban them all.

I argued in the New York Times baseball blog that political advertising should be banned from the World Series, and I really think Congress should act on that one. The World Series is a time for Americans to come together, not get torn apart by sectarian politics. Kids are watching, and parents shouldn't be subject to questions about why the senator hates humankind. World Series ads should be about things we can all agree upon: dumb police dramas, insurance-providing reptiles, and a deodorant strong enough for a man but Beachwood-aged for extra Fahrvergnügen.

Banning political ads during football may be harder: We're talking about hours of television stretching across weeks, and the local affiliates have to make money. So I propose a limit on the type of advertising. Here are some suggestions:

  • Candidates must deliver their message in the pocket behind the Bears offensive line. If you can attack your opponent for breaking into the homes of working class families and stealing appliances during the three-fifths of a second before protection breaks down, then you deserve to get your licks in.
  • All political messages must be narrated by either Mike Singletary or Rex Ryan, with no editing.
  • All attack ads must be rewritten as elaborate football euphemisms. "My opponent wants to punt on fourth-and-1, but I stand for going for it." The ads will be just as uninformative, but trying to decode the message could be fun. "I want to zone blitz poverty and impose quarters coverage on spending while hitting our enemies with the surprise onside kick." I'll vote for that guy!
  • Any candidate who wants to advertise during football must submit to a debate with Matt Millen. If he wins the debate, he can advertise. If he loses, he's sterilized and exiled to a desert island.

I'm just trying to improve the fan experience here. We can grit our teeth through one more week, but we shouldn't have to go through this next year. Ban them. Ban them all.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 28 Oct 2010

69 comments, Last at 02 Nov 2010, 4:38pm by Jacob Stevens


by 2468ben :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:17am

In the Browns-Saints play by play excerpt, does New Orleans make the second challenge or Cleveland? I wouldn't be surprised either way.
I would also believe somehow that Cleveland "through the challenge flag".

I hate to be a Grammar Nazi, but I also don't want to underestimate the sheer absurdity of Browns football.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:22am

What a fantastically funny piece. I like the idea of the RefBerry, however i fear the refs are going to confer with it after every single play.

by trill :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:38am

My concern is that your last suggestion might prompt Millen to run for public office.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:42am

He's far too qualified and intelligent to be an elected official in this country, sadly.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:51pm

Unless we go to war and he's in charge of the draft.

by Bobman (not verified) (not verified) :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 11:46pm

What? Are we going to war with 10,000 young wide receivers as our front line of defense? Well, I guess if something bad happens, they'll be able to retreat damn fast. And do we really want to go 0-for-16 in the next 16 wars? That sounds undesirable to me....

by Matt M. (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:35pm

It is time to strengthen our national defense. As I can show you on these diagrams, we've gone into war and war with the same two deep, man under scheme.

by basmati (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:43am

Old-timers might recall that perhaps the most critical play in the Dolphins undefeated season was a punter sneak (37 yards or so) by Larry Seiple in the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh.

by Yesimadolphinsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 2:31pm

I'm too young for that era - did he obviusly fumble the ball but get rewarded posession anyway so the Dolphins could go on to win the game? Because then I wouldn't be nearly as angry as I've been all week.

by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:41pm

Whine, whine, whine. You whine more that Wendy Torrance.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 5:02pm

Is that your ex-girlfriend or something?

by Bobman (not verified) (not verified) :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 11:47pm

Think Jack Nicholson's wife... all work and no play, make Jack a dull boy....

by MAD AT PINK (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:52am

And please ban the color hot pink from the football field. We all hate cancer. So just auction off the regular items players wear for a month. Please. For the love of men everywhere just keep the hot pink off the field of play or else it is a 15 yard penalty every play it is worn until the hot pink wear is removed. I get it already. Don't drag it on for 5 weeks... I wish October didn't even exist now. PLEASE!

by Biebs (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:55am

It's been stated before by many people. But... It really is the height of stupidity that the refs are the ones looking at the replay rather than a video replay official @ NFL headquarters (or wherever) like the NHL does with every possible angle.

Has there ever been an explanation for why the refs on the field are the ones looking at the replay?

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 6:41pm

This is the most obvious thing to do, and it's baffling that the NFL went with the ridiculous "black hood TV machine" method over this. Just add one more official per crew, station him in the press box, and give him the authority to make calls from the replay. We'd save 15 minutes a game!

by fyo :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 6:52pm

From this weeks "Official Review".

"We want our guys on the field to make the calls." (perhaps paraphrased slightly)

Oh, you were looking for an actually reason WHY they want that. No, no explanation.

by Jerry :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 7:33pm

My recollection is that they did in fact want the guys on the field to make the calls without feeling like everything they called was a placeholder until the replay official ruled. By leaving the final authority in the referee's hands, they leave the decision on-field where any member of the crew who needs to be consulted can be.

You can debate the merits of the system, but that's the rationale.

by JPS (not verified) :: Tue, 11/02/2010 - 4:55am

I believe that, when the use of replay first started many years ago, a referee in the press box did indeed originally make all replay calls. Then the replay call was relayed down to the field. I remember a game from those days in which "incomplete" was the replay official's call, but due to crowd noise the ref on the field only heard "complete" when that call was relayed to him, and that's how the call stood. Unfortunately I don't recall any other details; does anyone remember the specifics of this event -- when, which game, etc.?

by Led :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:00pm

Is there something wrong with canary fondling?

by Jerry :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 7:25pm

Did you tweet that?

by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 8:57am

Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?

by verifiable (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:35pm

Depends if the birds or the hands are in the bush

by SonOfDad (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:01pm

"If you are sending a receiver on a post pattern against man coverage with safety help, send a nifty-shifty guy, not a possession-type like Hicks."

Well, "Nicks" and sure, he's great at catching the ball, by by no means would I call him a possession receiver, when he gets open field he becomes quite the "nifty-shifty guy".

by Dales :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:18pm

Yeah, was going to say that Nicks is both misspelled and mischaracterized there.

by JonC :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:20pm

There's actually no reason at all why television networks should allow political advertising at any time. Congress could pass a law that banned all political advertising and mandated that all TV stations set aside a set number of hours for candidates to have access to TV audiences, mandate that all candidates for a particular seat must be included, etc. etc. There are already regulations on what political campaigns can and can't spend money on (apparently you can't pay condo rent even if it's your "campaign headquarters"). If the laws are challenged, energetic Justice attorneys could do what prosecutors did with pornography: pick the most disgusting and offensive examples of the "art" to show juries or judges.

by Joe T. :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:32pm

You see, we have this first amendment thing...

by billsfan :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 1:53pm

Which applies to the government, not private corporations. That's why you see coaches fined for exercising their first amendment right to criticize officiating.

(I also like the Eagles)

by Kurt :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 2:10pm

When you see "Congress could pass a law", do you think Congress is government, or private corporations?

by billsfan :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 8:01pm

Whether corporations are in charge of the government is beyond the scope of this forum.

Although maybe "Goldman Sachs the Economy" will be my second-half Loser League team name.

(I also like the Eagles)

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 8:29pm

The original poster in this thread asserted that congress should enact a law restricting the freedom of speech of television networks by not allowing them to show political ads.

That's a pretty clear violation of the constitution.

by billsfan :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 5:30am

My bad. I was responding to the OP's first sentence, from which the rest of his post did not apparently logically follow.

(I also like the Eagles)

by evenchunkiermonkey (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 7:49am

Then there's the idea of corporate person-hood, which is as terrible an interpretation of the 14th amendment as the ref's interpretation of Calvin Johnson's catch. Refs don't need video feeds to the field, they need someone off the field with a 50 inch plasma equipped with a DVR. If the last few weeks have taught me anything about instant replay its that I don't trust the officials on the field to accurately review a play. Also, the last thing I need is to see is Ed Hochuli texting his wife....

non-football non-sequitor-
Until a corporation or organization can be imprisoned or executed for violating a law they should not be considered a person under the 14th amendment. I poison the water supply and I go to jail, corporation does and they get fined. By this measure a corporation is granted rights greater than those granted an individual, so if the 14th amendment guarantees equal protection under the law then any prison sentence should be considered unconstitutional unless corporations found guilty of criminal acts were forced to shutter their business for a period of time equal to that of a prison term that would be given an individual law breaker.

It's not so much an issue of free-speech because anyone can stand on a soap box and profess an opinion as it is an issue of why a corporation that is not eligible to vote should be allowed to attempt to sway voters to one side of any given issue. A free and independent press is the most wonderful gift bestowed upon the US by its founding fathers, but I will distrust any message that is presented with a corporate by-line, especially when it all sounds like this:

is clearly because . is out of touch on .

My name is Monkey, and I approved this message

by evenchunkiermonkey (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 8:00am

and this is why i should have previewed the comment before posting

(candidate A) is clearly (wrong/right) on (wege issue) because (rhetorical invective devoid of solid factual support). (candidate A/ candidate B)is clearly (out of touch/off base/out of control). (unrelated candidate/party-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with hyperbolic fear mongering with xenophobic overtones and distortions of fact)

by jebmak :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:02pm


by AudacityOfHoops :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:19am

Agree 100% with the non-football-related thoughts.

Though I think FO has a rule about not talking about politics, so we probably shouldn't continue this thread.

by billsfan :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:49am

"Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility"

--Ambrose Bierce

And it would be great if all political attack ads stuck to the zlionsfan template... or if candidates could get FOMBCed

(I also like the Eagles)

by Sjt (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:34pm

Such a law would likely get struck down, because campaign spending is considered "free speech" under the law. Not that it would likely get passed in the first place. The TV stations would never go for it, because it would dry up a revenue source. Congress would never go for it, because they use those tv ads to get and stay elected. This is especially true because one of the major advantages most incumbents have over challengers is the funds to pay for TV commercials.

by verifiable (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:43pm

I think it could constitutionally apply to over-the-air broadcasters as they are regulated by the FCC and are currently prevented from airing some legally permissable speech e.g. nudity, swear words. But I agree with your analysis of the political reality preventing such a law.

by dcj207 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:34pm

You spend enough days in that coal mine and those canaries start to look awfly nice...just saying, don't judge `til you've walked a mile in a canary fondler's shoes.

by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 9:02am

Are you a member of NACFLA?

by jebmak :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:03pm


by fek9wnr (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:56pm

Reggie Hodges now has the seventh-highest per-carry rushing average, with 2 carries for 68 yards. He has the highest average for any punter, as well as the highest average for any player with more than one carry:
Pro Football Reference link

by Independent George :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 1:07pm

Your rules on political advertising seem designed to get John Runyan elected.

I would also add Mora I as an acceptable narrator.

by Floyd (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 2:15pm

Wait, is Runyon the canary-fondler?

by Mike Tanier :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 9:00am

Runyan was not any of the people I talked about.

And please, no specific candidates, not even Runyan. I know I talked about him politically last year, but that was last year, when he was still playing.

We can joke and discuss political ads without singling anyone or any party out.

by Independent George :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 12:39am

I was referring to standing behind the Bears' O-line, and speaking entirely in football analogies.

by Ben 14 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 1:06pm

Don't forget about D II track national champ (400 hurdles I think), Brian Moorman. 13 rush att, 55 yds with longs of 34 and 21. He also has 2 TD passes.

by Joe T. :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 1:44pm

Every time he gets the ball in his hands he produces, I don't understand why he's not a bigger part of their offense.

by joon :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 2:13pm
by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 6:45pm

Sad. He was the best safety I've ever seen play. I remember him taking over games unlike even Polamalu can.

by drobviousso :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 2:11pm

"I am not sure how Chris Gardocki got through an entire career without a single "carry," since punter runs are mostly aborted plays and "run backward for a safety" plays, in addition to the odd sneak."
No Blocki Chris Gardoki has never had a punt blocked, either.

by matt w (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:35am

Well, technically -- I think by the stats a punt doesn't count as a block unless it winds up behind the line of scrimmage. Gardocki definitely had at least one punt hit the rusher and wibble past the line of scrimmage for not much yardage. He also had some punts wibble past the line of scrimmage for not much yardage even without hitting anyone.

by matt w (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:45am

Specifically, in 2005 against Jacksonville, he had a punt deflected by Rashean Mathis that went out of bounds after nine yards. Gave the Jags a field goal at the end of the first half, in a game the Steelers lost in overtime (on a Tommy Maddox pick-six). Steelers wound up not doing anything that season, as I remember.

by Sancho gaucho (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:19pm

I would prefer a camera into the referees cap to know what they saw. Besides that, let's keep them in Stone Age.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:56pm

I see you channeled your inner Peter King this week with regards to technology.

Anyways, I have a much simpler system than having refs carry around mobile devices which are sure to break and/or malfunction.

Why not have the replay refs be allowed to make calls throughout the game? They're already watching the TV feed, they're up in the booth the whole game, might as well like them do something all the time it's not inside the 2 minute warning.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 6:00pm

didnt jeff hayes have fake punt 61 yard run for 1986 bengals?

also betst fake punt ever by Larry seiple 1972 afsc champiosnhip game dolphisn vs steelers. guy run for 37 ydras

by Sidewards :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 9:52pm

The "Oops!" in the diagram killed me.

by Chiefsfan12000 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 3:25am

Mike, I see you have recently discovered the smart phone. I might suggestion you add another newfangled device to your electronic equipment, the digital video recorder also known as a DVR or TIVO box. With this device you can blow right past Congressman Poopyface and all the other commercials to get back to the action.

As a Chiefs fan for the three years prior to this one I have found an even more valuable use for the DVR. Late in games when your team has given up something nearing an NFL record rushing to the opposing team you can blow through the commentary about how bad your team sucks today just like the commercials. The key is to fast forward until the ball is snapped and hit play. TIVO rewinds just enough to watch the play. You can then fast forward again. Of course you could always skip the game altogether but this method allows the eternal optimist to still see if his team can pull of the miracle.

I really think you should consider this technological approach because your plan to ban advertising during sporting events has a fatal flaw. That ban would have to be a law passed by Congress. Because incumbent congressmen have a large fund raising advantage over challengers they can spend more money on the very ads you want to ban. They will therefore never pass the ban you propose. Congressman Poopyface likes those ads so you have better get that DVR ready to go.

by Mike Tanier :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 9:05am

I do have a DVR! I use it to tape several games. But I get most of my understanding of what happens on a Sunday by going to the local 60-TV bar and looking all over the place. Any ad, beer, politics, or whatever, shows on one game, then another, then another, and if it is really dumb, it sticks in the mind no matter how many times I try to look away!

Anyway, the DVR is usually filled with Spongebob and Pokemon. The only thing worse than political advertising is advertising aimed at children.

by Chiefsfan12000 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 2:57pm

Could be worse I suppose....the DVR could be filled with Barney.

by Pat Swinnegan :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 4:00am

wouldn't logic dictate that creating 9,001 jobs be "further from the truth" than creating 9,000?

Spoken like a true math teacher. Awesome.

by ammek :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 8:55am

The World Series is a time for Americans to come together, not get torn apart by sectarian politics.

Over here in Europeland, your American political commercials are a stalwart part of those low-budget 'gawp at funny foreigners and their zany TV' programs, together with Japanese gameshows where people take baths in sulphuric acid, and disrobing Italian newscasters. I can't imagine ever bringing myself to vote for someone who had authorized an attack ad — and, by extension, I read the sentence quoted above as a non-sequitur. Surely a sporting fixture, with its tribalism and regionalism, ought to be far more divisive than the simple question of which wealthy politican you invite to misspend your money?

If banning ads isn't a solution, what about making better ads that do not insult the intelligence of anyone, let alone a Tanier?

by billsfan :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:53am

You overestimate the intelligence of our electorate--most of 'em still think the Coors Light commercials that quote coaches out of context are funny.

(I also like the Eagles)

by Sid :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:29am

"I finally upgraded my cell phone to one that does things like Tweet, check e-mail, and play video."

This reminds me of one of those "It's 2010!" ads airing on TV, asking why we can't clone or whatever.

It's almost 2011 and Tanier only just got a real cell phone!

"With a wave of the commissioner's hand, it could easily stream the video of a game in progress."

What do you mean a wave? It already does do that, and I haven't seen recent hand waving from Goodell to this effect.

"No more challenge sequences like this one, straight from the Gamebook of the Browns-Saints game:

(Shotgun) D.Brees pass short left to M.Colston to CLV 22 for 4 yards (E.Wright). FUMBLES (E.Wright), and recovers at CLV 23. M.Colston to CLV 23 for no gain (E.Wright). After the play, the Saints attempted to rush a field goal attempt, as Cleveland through the CHALLENGE flag..."

More bothersome to me is that NFL.com doesn't have people catching obvious errors in the Gamebook.

by Mike Tanier :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 1:54pm

I also learned I can send pictures straight from my phone to Facebook, which is neat.

Go easy on the NFL Gamebook guys, who are trying to get that thing out FAST-FAST-FAST to the media. I would rather have it 30 minutes earlier with threw-through errors than 30 minutes later and grammatically correct if it's the night game and I want to meet a deadline before passing out!

by bengt (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:36am

I feel a bit ashamed that 'Fahrvergnügen' has apparently found its way into the American language.

by verifiable (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:59pm

Shouldn't that be Favrevergnügen

by SJHaack (not verified) :: Mon, 11/01/2010 - 6:00pm

Ugh. I hate those ads. The worst part for me is I get the exact same ads as you, but because I'm in a different state not only do they not sway my vote, but I don't know what they're running for or which party they're in .

The ads literally assume that "not creating jobs" is the MO of one party and "sending jobs to China" is another party. Plus the leaps in logic they take to go from "Statement" to "Conclusion" is insulting. Funny enough, I don't see any ads for the candidates I can actually vote for.

by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Tue, 11/02/2010 - 4:38pm

Loved the Ben Roethlisberger line.