Venting about Rules:
Every year the competition committee for the NFL meets and amends or changes rules. I want to go on a small rant about whenever a change occurs, it’s either a rule that shouldn’t be changed, or the fact that the refs don’t seem to adopt it when they’re changed for the better.
Rule #1, the famous “Tuck Rule” is by far the stupidest call in Sports. Just like you will always remember where you were when you heard about Kennedy being shot, or September 11th, it seems to happen in sports the same way. Even though many of these happened when I was pretty young, there are a few instances in sports that I will always remember seeing and even where I was; Cal Ripken breaking Gehrig’s record, McGwire hitting #70, the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, Jordan’s sick crossover and 20 foot game winning shot to secure his 6th Championship, Steve Bartman ruining the Cubs’ playoffs, and the Tuck Rule. Yes, believe it or not the Tuck Rule is in that memory log for me, I remember more about the closing minutes of that game in 2001 than I do of last years’ Super Bowl…Anyway, this was based on a bad call http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHEQtASq9BI in the 2001 season, and in my opinion it was only adopted from that call to make the refs look good. Just because you’re bringing the ball back down to your body doesn’t mean you’re arm is moving forward. You are not intending to initiate a pass, therefore any tuck rule call should be a fumble. I seriously hate the tuck rule! This rule changed the face of the 2001 playoffs, and in the end, it created Tom Brady’s legacy. (Ironically, you can argue the Raiders got screwed twice with this rule. It kicked them out of the playoffs that year. But it also led to the rare Head Coach trade and John Gruden left the team for Tampa Bay, who won the Super Bowl the following year over the Raiders since Gruden knew all their plays).
Rule #2, the “force out.” This rule was changed a few years back, but doesn’t make sense to me at all. Remember when Nathan Poole for the Cardinals caught a last second TD that knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs several years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnl1YqcBQfg? This is a prime example of the force out rule. Nathan Poole had 1 foot in while Vikings DB’s did everything they could to force the player out of bounds. It was impossible to get his second foot down, but he would have if he wouldn’t have been pushed. This was a great rule, yet the NFL changed it saying any force out was an incomplete pass. What’s stopping the DB from catching the WR in the middle of the field and fireman carrying him out of bounds? The WR wouldn’t have got his feet down, yet with this literal interpretation of the rule, it would not be a catch. It doesn’t make sense to me how you can get rid of the force out rule and say that hands down it’s an incomplete pass. Probably since this rule with Nathan Poole changed the face of the playoffs that year, they felt they needed a change, but once again it was changed for the worst.
Rule #3 should have never been a rule in the first place, and it pisses me off how refs still hang onto it. To set the scene, Week 1 of the 2010 season, it’s Lions vs. Bears. Calvin Johnson catches the game winning TD pass with seconds left in the game, rolls on the ground, STANDS UP, and puts down his hand (with the ball in it) to stabilize himself http://www.nowpublic.com/sports/calvin-johnson-catch-video-overturned-td-catch-vs-bears-2663340.html . In this move, after having the ball for a good 3 seconds, he lets go of the ball. The refs challenge it and say that he did not “control the ball throughout the entirety of the catch.” No TD, Lions lose. Other than the Tuck Rule, this was the most BS call I had ever seen! So of course the NFL changes this rule over the offseason. Why do refs keep hanging onto this “control the ball throughout the entirety of the catch?” Since it was my Game of the Week, I watched the Lions vs 49ers game this past Sunday. The first TD by TE Petigrew, he catches the ball around a defenders arm, has the ball for 3 seconds, is laying down on his back not moving anymore, and a defender knocks the ball out just for posterity. But wait a minute, the refs have to challenge it for 5 minutes to make sure it’s a catch. Second time, Nate Burleson catches a TD, runs out the back of the endzone by 5 yards, starts tripping in the goal post netting, puts his hand down to stabilize himself and loses the ball. Refs challenge for ANOTHER 5 minutes saying he didn’t finish the catch. Are you freakin kidding me? What do the Wide Receivers have to do before it’s ruled a catch, hang onto the ball until Tuesday’s practice?!?! Luckily both were ruled TD’s otherwise I would have flipped out. But come on refs, control of ball, two feet in, it’s not that hard! For the record, due to penalties and stupid challenges, the game was 3 hours and 45 minutes long.
Rule #4: This years’ kickoff rule…don’t even get me started.
Commentator Rule #5: Not gonna lie, I miss the TD rule about only having to break the plane of the endzone simply for the fact that it was amusing to hear the commentators say “Theoretically, if you drew a line across the goal line, it would go all the way around the world. As long as the ball broke that line, it would be a TD” The new rule about inside the pylon is better though.
Stat of the Week #1:
The Bills and Lions both lost for the first time since December 5th of last year.
Stat of the Week #2:
Through 6 weeks, the Very Human looking Tom Brady has already thrown twice as many interceptions as he did all of last year.
Stat of the Week #3:
God’s Gift to Man Cam Newton has 6 rushing TD’s, in 2nd place only to Adrian Peterson.
Stat of the Week #4:
Raiders Punter Shane Lechler has a perfect 158.3 Quarterback Rating in his career.
Stat of the Week #5:
A whopping 17 QB’s have more rushing TD’s than Michael Vick this year, who is now undeniably the best rushing QB in NFL history.
Stat of the Week #6:
The Philadelphia Nightmares and Panthers are 3rd and 5th in the league in total offense, but have a combined record of 3-8.
Stat of the Week #7:
The Harbaugh brothers have a combined record of 9-2
Stats of the Week #8:
The Rams held the Packers to their fewest points of the season…The Packers have scored 4 times as many points as the Rams!
Stat of the Week #9:
The Nightmares have scored 145 points (24+ points per game) but have a losing record. The Redskins have scored only 96 points, but have a winning record.
Stat of the Week #10:
1 out of every 4 catches for Calvin Johnson has been a TD.
Just because I respect you doesn’t mean I have to like you:
As most friends of FMQB know, Team #2 that I hate is the New England Patriots. It’s a combination between Tom Brady being a pretty boy, Coach Belichick being a cheater and a cold pouter when he loses, because they win a lot and make it look so easy, and the fact that the Patriots beat my two favorite teams in 3 years in the Super Bowl including my beloved Rams. That combination forms the perfect storm of why I literally loathe the Patriots. I would like to point out however that I respect what they do for the game of football, and respect their greatness. I was watching the Cowboys Patriots game on Sunday, and the Cowboys were up by 3 late in the 4th quarter. The Very Human looking Brady started driving the ball, and once again got intercepted. For one fleeting moment, you think “Wow, the Cowboys might win this game!” But of course, the Last Place Patriots defense (yards allowed) knows the right time to decide to play, and Brady gets the ball back with under two minutes. You watch him drive, he’s at the 30 yard line with 30 seconds left, and you just have this gut feeling that he’s not playing for overtime, he’s playing for the win, and it’s going to happen. We’ve seen it too often with him, to the point where you just expect it. Of course, Brady throws a TD pass with no time for the Cowboys to even try anything. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the two most clutch QB’s when the game is on the line, they execute the 2 minute drill better than any QB’s in NFL history. If the ball is in their hands at the pivotal point of the game, you can pretty much say “Game Over.”
With the beginning of each season, it seems there’s always two teams that surprise people. Last year it was Kansas City and Tampa Bay. Typically one team makes the playoffs, and the other falters in the end to miss out (case in point, last year). This year is bizarre though, how the 49ers, Lions, Bills, Bengals, Raiders, Texans, and Redskins are all taking the league off guard. But even with the parity of the NFL, I have this sense that the season is starting to re-balance itself, and the good teams with bad records start to improve, while some surprise teams will begin to suffer. With Detroit’s loss, they went from the #1 seed and having a first round bye and home field advantage, to #5 and having to win 3 road games to make the Super Bowl. Buffalo fell from #1 to #6. The Nightmares won impressively and have a favorable schedule down the stretch (ugh, hate to lose that nickname once they top .500!), Pittsburgh with its early season woes have quietly jumped to a 4-2 record, the Jets are a disappointing 3-3, but have a very winnable stretch as well. Hate to see some of these surprise teams dip out, but the best cream rises to the top.
If the Playoffs were to start today:
Only 4 of the 12 teams that made the playoffs last year would be in it again.
Take me to your Leader:
For once the injury lists and suspension talks were shifted away from the players and onto the head coaches! Saints head coach Sean Payton got hit hard in the leg, and you could see his knee bend awkwardly the wrong way. He ended up having a broken fibula and tore his MCL!!! The Saints even put him on a temporary injured reserve…ok not really, but Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt was calling plays after that. My favorite part about it was seeing Payton sitting on the bench 20 feet behind the sidelines, and having EVERYBODY clear out so he could still see the field. There wasn’t one player within 30 yards of him!
Just an hour earlier, Lions coach Jim Schwartz chased down 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh and both needed to be restrained to avoid a fight. I should say that I like Jim Harbaugh, but I’m not going to lie, seeing him running off the sidelines celebrating, flashing his goods, and still jumping up and down when he reached Schwartz was not good sportsmanship. He apparently “shook his hand too hard and slapped his back” which set off Schwartz (we are talking about football though). Schwartz fired back with a “What the F*$&” and it all went downhill after that. Which begs the question, if players can get ejected for punches, can coaches too? There’s nothing better in Hockey than a goalie fight, but after Week 6, I really want to see a head coach fight! I’d sign up for PayPerView heavyweight battle between Rex Ryan and Andy Reid!
Vick’s $100 million curse:
In my MBA program, we actually discussed how much of an incentive money is. People in sales get paid commissions based on performance, and it’s believed that psychologically, people will perform better when in pursuit of a bigger paycheck. The point is actually best played out in sports. Inexplicably, the best years of a players’ career is typically the final year of their contract, with the thought that a good year will lead to a higher payday. The following year tends to be a dropoff in performance. Look at Chris Johnson this year, he’s been begging for a new contract for 2 years, finally got his huge contract and is now 26th in the league in rushing after back to back 2000 total yard seasons. He’s not even on pace for a 1000yd season! What about Albert Haynesworth? Signed huge deal with the Redskins, once he got that guaranteed money he refused to practice! Bust in Washington. In 2004, Vick led Atlanta to NFC Championship game and a 11-5 season. The following offseason he was rewarded with a $100 million contract. The very next year, Vick led the Falcons to an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs. Last year, Vick led the Nightmares to an impressive playoff berth in one of the toughest divisions in football. This offseason he was rewarded with his SECOND $100 million contract, what has he shown from it? A frustrating 2-4 start. Sure they may turn it around, but there are currently 6 teams ahead of the Nightmares just for the last Wild Card spot.
Quote of the Week:
There’s a mild controversy brewing in Chicago, apparently Jay Cutler directed an “F*$% him” during the game referring to offensive coordinator Mike Martz. When asked about it later in the week, Martz replied “If it was at me (Cutler was directing his curse), that’s probably the nicest thing a player said to me during a game!” On a side note, why would Cutler even say that if they were up by 29 after 3 quarters?
I need to point out that I’m the first one to admit that I make a lot of wacky predictions. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I make too many and if people will even believe what I am even predicting anymore. But for some reason, my QB predictions have been coming true and I just hit one right on the nose! So I need to gloat. Before the season started, I made four predictions involving QB controversies, and in consecutive weeks 3 of them have come true. The first involved Tim Tebow being named the starter in place of Kyle Orton…check. The second, a QB controversy involving Rex Grossman and John Beck. Grossman was benched for Beck when only down by 2 scores against the Nightmares, and Beck came in and scored to pull within 7 points. Beck is now the starter…check. But the mother of all predictions, “McNabb will be benched by Ponder by Week 6.” Low and behold, in WEEK 6, Vikings about to go 1-5 and down by 29 in the late in the 3rd, bring in Christian Ponder to play! Done with another Old QB flop, they have just named Christian Ponder the starter after Week 6. I don’t want to be the guy to toot my own horn…but Beep Beep!!!
Second QB Prediction Coming True:
Before the season, FMQB said “Carson Palmer may as well look for a house in the Bay area, because he’ll be starting for either Oakland or San Francisco next year.” The Raiders had an established QB, but my gut told me that Palmer would look great in Silver and Black. I’ll admit, this is one of the more bizarre predictions I made, how did this one come true?!?! It’s like I have ESPN or something…The Raiders traded two 1st round picks for Palmer with the hopes of salvaging their 4-2 season after Campbell got hurt, and to be the QB of the future. People think that the Raiders overpaid, but this is one of those cases where I think it was a win-win trade for both teams. They’re even starting Palmer 5 days after the trade (not sure about that move though). Watch Palmer lead them to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Favorite Move for Good QB:
What would you do to get a great QB behind center? Would you trade two 1st round draft picks to salvage your season? Would you bench a 5 time NFC Championship QB for a rookie? Would you listen to your fans chants and finally put in your Heisman winning QB? The obvious answer is “Yes” to all of those. But I officially have a new favorite saying throughout the NFL when it comes to bold moves to get QB’s; and that saying is “Suck for Luck!” It seems like many fans across the country have already thrown in the towel this year, but with the opportunity to get the highest touted QB in over a decade to lead their team for the next 15 years, it might be worth it to throw games to get Andrew Luck. Let’s just hear the saying again, “Suck for Luck.”
MVP of the Year:
Without playing a down this season, I literally think that Peyton Manning should be in consideration for the MVP voting this year. HOW GOOD is he, if he can lead a team to the playoffs every single year, and the second he ‘s gone, they can’t even win one game! He is the definition of the Most Valuable Player to an organization. He gets my vote.
Best Joe Schmoe to the NFL Football Movie:
If you’ve never seen the movie “Invincible,” definitely rent it. Great inspiring movie about Joe Schmoe making it to the NFL. Last week, FFMQB and I watched “The Garbage Picking, Field Goal Kicking, Philadelphia Phenomenon” with Tony Danza. Horrible production value, but it’s a pretty amusing movie that brings me back to my childhood. They used random game footage to supplement the film, so one shot shows fans in ponchos because it’s raining, but return to Tony Danza and it’s sunny out. The shot of Danza before the final kick shows him at a night game, but it clearly comes back to the daytime. Anyway, pretty good movie other than that! Ironic how both films feature Joe Schmoe being picked up by the Philadelphia Nightmares (perhaps doing that in real life would turn their season around, couldn’t hurt).
Games of the Week:
Atlanta at Detroit
Atlanta’s struggling to find their identity this year, but they are still a very talented team. What are the thoughts if they knock off the Lions, and the Lions lose 2 straight at home?
Houston at Tennessee
The Texans and Titans both have 3 wins atop the AFC South. The winner of this game takes a 2 game lead in the division (due to head to head wins).
Please Don’t Write Me a Letter:
No, I did not just compare the “Tuck Rule” to September 11th. I’m sure if I worked for ESPN I would be fired for saying that (already miss Hank Williams Jr.), so before anybody freaks out, please don’t send me a nasty letter.
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