THINGS I LEARNED THIS WEEKEND (from watching sports) – WEEK THREE

27Sep12

I must admit, I contemplated not doing this post this week.  I mean, after last week’s explosion of officiating debacles, what could I say that everyone hasn’t already thought of themselves?

However, after today’s announcement that the remainder of the season will be officiated by the real professionals, I decided to come back.

Here goes:

1)      Replacement referees are just plain awful!

Sorry.  I couldn’t resist.  Now that we won’t have them to kick around anymore, I had to get one last shot in!

2)      The NFL leadership and the officials both finally realized that there is a monetary value to credibility!

For several weeks, including pre-season, fans and players alike have been complaining about the poor job of officiating.  Most of it appeared to fall on deaf ears, as neither side seemed to be conceding anything.

Fast-forward to Seattle, Monday 9/24/12.  The Seahawks are hosting the Green Bay Packers.  The home team is down by five with enough time left to make one play…a hail-Mary pass to the end zone for all the marbles.

The ball goes up, the players from both teams go up, the Packers come down with the ball and are ready to walk off the field as victors.

Wait a minute.  Did I see that right?  Did that referee really just signal a touchdown for Seattle?  But the referee standing right next to him is calling it an interception.  Okay, good, that means the head official will come over and discuss it with both of them, make the official call, and then go over and climb under the replay hood to see if the call should be upheld or overturned.

Hey, where’s the head official?  Is that him under the replay hood already?  But he doesn’t even know what call was made on the field!  Wait, where’s he going now?  He’s leaving the field?  All of the officials are leaving the field?

Was it really ruled a touchdown?  Are they at least going to kick the extra point?  What the %$#@&* is going on here?

Did that sound about right?  About twenty million people around the world had a very similar reaction.  Green Bay got ripped off on Monday Night Football, and there wasn’t anything that could be done about it.

Here’s the real problem.  Green Bay wasn’t the only team that got ripped off.  You know who else got the shaft that night?

How about Arizona and San Francisco (sorry, St. Louis, but I’m keeping it real)?  They were deprived of the right to move one more game ahead of Seattle in what is looking to be a very close race for the NFC West Division title.

Not to mention any other team that may end battling Seattle for a wild card spot in the playoffs!

All of a sudden, one rotten call has impacted multiple teams at once.

Yeah, I think it was time to settle things with the real officials!

3)      It doesn’t matter how good your offense is, without a good defense, you’re not one of the best teams!

This won’t take long to explain.  Just look at the current records of Green Bay (1-2), New Orleans (0-3), New England (1-2), Detroit (1-2), Pittsburgh (1-2) and Denver (1-2).

4)      At this pace, Michael Vick won’t survive October!

Did you see the game last week between the Eagles and the Cardinals?  Wait, you’re right.  To call it a game would be to imply that both teams had a chance to win it!

For some reason, the Philadelphia game plan appeared to be “Let’s pass it down their throats!”  The problem was, Arizona was ready for it, covering the receivers like blankets while the front line was beating up the Eagles offensive line.  This allowed the linebackers and safeties to take turns blitzing and pummeling Mr. Vick into the ground, play after play.

The turning point in the game came on the last play of the first half.  Knowing that the Cardinals red zone defense is one of the best in the league, the Eagles naturally tried to pass their way into the end zone from the one yard line on first and goal and second and goal.

To no one’s surprise they found themselves at third and goal with six seconds left.  A field goal would have made it 17-3 and they would have carried a little bit of momentum into the locker room.

Instead, they stubbornly tried another pass play.  Unfortunately for Vick, nobody picked up a blitzing Kerry Rhodes from the blind side, who proceeded to run through Vick like a runaway train.  The ball (and I could have sworn a lung) came popping out of Vick and into the hands of a posse of defenders, who ran it back 93 yards for a touchdown and a 24-0 halftime lead.

The problem with Vick is, this is wasn’t a fluke.  It’s becoming a bad habit.  It is happening every game.  He runs for his life, he gets crunched on every other play, he turns the ball over, and (I’m guessing) he’s taking ten minutes to get out of bed on Monday mornings.

He cannot survive this type of abuse much longer.  If the Eagles don’t do something about that offensive line (or teach Vick how to get rid of the ball), he won’t be around much longer!

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