- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
Week three in the NFL is behind us and so are the replacement officials. That’s right, the lockout has ended. It’s amazing how a few really bad calls will completely change the mindset of everyone involved with the negotiations. After three weeks of some pretty bad calls and missed calls on the field, the league and officials have reached a settlement; thus ending the lockout and paving the way for the regular officials to start calling games in week four. Having said all that, it’s time to look at this week’s knee-jerk reactions.
Knee-jerk reaction # 1: Armageddon has been avoided. Much like the movie “Armageddon”, I feel as though the NFL has avoided destruction by saving the day at the last possible moment. I’m not sure the league could have survived the fan’s reaction if they had to endure one more week of officiating. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know the regular refs will make mistakes, and I know that in a few weeks we will want their heads as well. For now, though, I’m going to enjoy the fact that a game will be officiated by someone that is not intimidated by the players and coaches. It was quite obvious throughout the three weeks that the officials were out of their element. Much like a freshman on his first day of high school, these referees looked lost and confused for much of the games.
Two incidents stand out to me when looking back at this past weekend. Of course there is the debacle that was Monday night football. Taking the last catch out of the equation (although I feel it was a clear interception, I could see how a referee watching full speed could possibly miss that call), there was a blatant pass interference call that was missed right before the controversial catch that would have ended the game in favor of the Packers. That wasn’t the only pass interference call during the game that was missed or called wrong, though. Both teams benefited from pass interference calls that were called wrong by the officials.
Another play that stood out was during the Cowboys and Buccaneers game. Late in the first half, Cowboys’ receiver Kevin Ogletree ran up the sideline toward the end zone. Apparently the replacement official thought Ogletree went out of bounds so he threw his hat on the field, which is what he’s supposed to do if a player goes out of bounds. However, replay shows that he did not go out of bounds so the hat shouldn’t have been thrown. What ensued next is nothing short of crazy as Ogletree broke towards the corner of the end zone, he had broken away from the defensive back and was going to be all alone. Tony Romo saw this and threw a perfect pass to the back corner of the end zone. The problem is, Ogletree was now lying on the ground. When he made his cutback to the corner of the end zone, Ogletree stepped on the official’s hat and slipped, thus costing the Cowboys a touchdown. It’s actually amazing that he didn’t injure his knee on the play. Welcome back “real officials”. You’ve been missed!!!
Knee-jerk reaction # 2: The NFC West might be the best division in football. Take St. Louis out of the mix and the other three teams are dominating the opposition. Arizona is a surprising 3-0 to start the season with wins over Seattle, New England, and Philadelphia. Seattle lost a close game to Arizona and beat the Cowboys and Packers on Monday night. Everyone talks about the last play of the game on Monday but what people aren’t talking about is that Seattle sacked Aaron Rogers eight times in the first half on Monday night. The defense was swarming and caused havoc all night for the high powered Green Bay offense. The other team in the mix, the 49ers, just happens to be coming off a season in which they went to the NFC Championship game and were only a play away from making the Super Bowl. This year, most people have picked them to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. They have a suffocating defense and Alex Smith is finally playing like a number one draft pick should play. If they don’t kill each other in the process, the west could be sending multiple teams to the post season this year. Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season?
Knee-jerk reaction # 3: Peyton Manning proved last year why he is the MVP, just like Sean Payton will prove this year why he is the best coach in football. Let me explain. Manning didn’t play a down last year, thus proving why he is the best player in football. With him in the lineup, the Colts were 10-6 in 2010 and won the AFC South division. Last year, without him, they finished 2-14 and had the worst record in football. This year, head coach Sean Payton will miss the entire season due to his role in the Saints bounty program. Last year, under Payton, the Saints finished the season 13-3 and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs. They lost that game to the 49ers on a last minute touchdown. Drew Brees set the NFL record last year with 5,476 passing yards. This year, without Payton and with Brees still quarterbacking the team, the Saints have gone 0-3 to start the season. They lost to Washington and their rookie quarterback to start the season. Carolina beat them in week two while Kansas City finished them off in week three. It’s still early but I’m afraid it might be a long season for Brees and the Saints.
Knee-jerk reaction # 4: Made up stats will be the death of commentating on television. I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth bringing up again. Can we please stop making up stats? I guess I should explain what I’m referring to with a “made up stat”. In every game you watch, no matter the sport, there will be a stat given out about something obscure that happened during the game. It’ll usually begin with “this is the first time since” and it’s usually something that involves weird numbers. “This is the first time since 2008, that a quarterback has thrown 3 straight passes of 25 or more yards to begin a game” or something weird like that. My cousin from Buffalo and I will usually text each other when we see these stats come up. It’s quite comical. When you watch a game this weekend, pay close attention to the made up stats.
Knee-jerk reaction # 5: Now that the regular officials are back, fans will not stop griping about calls. I know this is nothing new or ground breaking but it should still be said. I’m glad the regular officials are back but let’s face it; they are going to make mistakes too. I think it’s going to be pretty bad this weekend actually. I could be wrong and I hope I am. However, you’re dealing with officials who haven’t called a game yet this year. They had no preseason games to work out any bugs. There are new rules in place that they have to learn and they are going to be under a microscope now considering all the complaints from the past three weeks. Get ready. It’s going to be a bumpy ride for a couple weeks.
Knee-jerk reaction # 6: My Super Bowl pick has been the 49ers for the first two weeks and I’m going to stay with them this week. I know they got embarrassed by a bad Vikings team but every Super Bowl winner has a game or two where they look awful. That’s the great thing about the NFL. On any given Sunday, your team can beat my team. So, for now, I’m staying with the 49ers. Ask me next week and I’ll probably tell you a different story.