Archive for November, 2007

More on McCarthy’s Press Conference

November 30, 2007

Here is the entire exchange between McCarthy and reporters on the first of several blown calls, the Al Harris strip of Terrell Owens. Very interesting.

The play you challenged with Al taking the ball from Owens, what are you allowed to challenge?
If you watch it on film, it’s clear. You have one referee says it’s a catch and forward progress. And the other referee comes in and says it’s an interception. The ruling on the field was it was forward progress. Once you’re in the area of forward progress, then the completion is done. You can’t go backwards. So what I attempted to challenge was the incomplete. Just the conversation, I thought their crew did a good job with the communication part of it. He could not go back on the forward progress. Once it was declared forward, obviously the completion was in tact.

Do you think forward progress was stopped?
That’s why I challenged it. That was a call that frankly should have went our way. But the forward progress, once you make that call, the interception is out the window. It’s not an option as far as the challenge.

So that’s different than the rule they changed for replay with down-by-contact and change of possession?
Once they clarify that the call on the field is forward progress, the only thing you can challenge is incomplete, complete or interception. So you’re really knocked out of the box in a sense of challenging that particular call.

But you did anyway?
The conversation that we had, because obviously we huddled with John Parry and a couple of those guys, and what I attempted to challenge was it was an incomplete pass. Because I was hoping that the interception would have been ruled an incomplete pass, but it just didn’t work out that way. They couldn’t overturn it.

My reaction: Huh? If they literally “couldn’t overturn it,” then the referees never should have let McCarthy challenge the call (as Greg Bedard pointed out in real time). And it turns out we could have used that challenge later, on the 3rd down spot when Ryan Grant came up just short of a first down. (I think he actually was short, but it was certainly worth a challenge at that point in the game.)

McCarthy Press Conference

November 30, 2007

Gred Bedard’s takeaway here.

Here’s the entire transcript.

More thoughts later.

Week 13 Spread Picks

November 30, 2007

Preface to this week’s picks: I think this is one of the more difficult weeks for picks that I can remember. Lots of evenly matched teams and strong cases could be made for going either way in a lot of these games. That’s really a disclaimer for possibly getting lots of these games wrong.

GB @ Dallas (-6.5) – I think this spread should be motivation for the Packers. Not sure what Dallas has done this year to deserve this spread (beating up on poor teams). I know Dallas isn’t Favre’s favorite place, but then again, not sure anyone likes it. It’s a ridiculous stadium housing fans who have ridiculous accents. The Pack should come focused and prepared and unless Marion Barber goes nuts, should come away with a win here. Also, look for Romo to try to emulate his hero Favre by trying to make something happen, but not realizing he isn’t as talented resulting in a few costly turnovers (especially when scrambling).

SD @ KC (+4.5) I’ll take San Diego again simply because they just can’t continue to lose games they should win with some of the talent they have. Despite Norv, they should be able to win this game. Norv belongs with Romeo in the questionable name category.

DET @ MN (-3.5) Tarvaris Jackson’s greatness in this game will be noted, but pale in comparison to a monster game from Kitna. But brother Steve and the rest of the NFL will realize after this game why Jackson is the right man in MN.

ATL @ STL (-4.5) Now, I am assuming Bulger is playing. Talking about a loser face – Frerotte defines loser. I remember when he was mysteriously starting for the Redskins a few years ago and banged his head against the wall after a game and got a concussion. Anything more need to be written?

JAX @ INDY (-7.5) This spread is too high. I go back and forth though: will Jax running game help keep Manning off the field, or will Indy’s offense score too quickly and make Jax pass which they don’t do as well? You know, sometimes watching Manning at the line of scrimmage, reminds me of that person you know with major anxiety issues or that child who can’t sit still. It’s quite annoying.

SEA @ PHIL (-2.5) Philly may take this one on a last second field goal. To me, this might be one of the most boring games out there for some reason. Just tired of watching Seattle and Philly.

HOU @ TN (-3.5) This game will be 100% coaching. How can a team get smoked 35-6 and then come back and route a decent team in Houston? Coaching.

NYJ @ MIA (-1.5) The Jets have to feel horrible as the dogs to an atriumphant team, as it were (what is the opposite of undefeated anyway, like Miami’s 0-11 record? I was going to say “totally defeated”, but there should be a word for this. How about redefeated?). This will be the John Beck show as Clemons proves further he has zero future.

SF @ CAR (-2.5) Rich Campbell will be starting for Carolina this week. This is my least confident pick because I’d written SF off and was sure AZ would destroy them last week but SF won. I was sure CAR would get destroyed last week and they did. So why pick Carolina? Because it would be just mean to their fans to go redefeated at home.

BUFF @ WASH (-5.5) I really feel badly for Washington and Taylor’s family. I really do. He had 2 picks against Green Bay earlier this year (could have had 4) and I really think the NFL will miss one of the premier talents in the league. Sad, just sad.

DEN @ OAK (+3.5) Not sure a team can rebound from the worst special teams coaching/kicking/punting performance of all time (Den last week vs Chi). But considering how weak that division is, Shanahan should be able to motivate.

CLEVE @ AZ (-1.5) How does AZ lose to SF last week when Warner throws for 484 yards. Nice. Now AZ has to play without one of their best players in Adrian Wilson. Cleveland is riding the momentum of playoff talk. Everything points to the Cleve, but for some reason, I’ll go with a semi-meth pick here: AZ. (A reader recommended meth pick vs crack pick – makes sense and illustrates how out of touch I am with modern-day drug use).

TB @ NO (-2.5) Just think, back in the good ole days, the entire TB team would have gone out on Bourbon Street and gotten hammered the Saturday night before the game to “build team chemistry”. Now they’ll sit in swank a hotel room getting pedicures. Wusses.

NYG @ CHI (+1.5) Crack pick – Chicago in a blowout. The wheels will fall off in this one and we’ll all be rewarded by getting to see a Giants team in turmoil again. The lowly Bears will put together an uncharacteristic performance and handle the Giants. Other Giants will begin to show loser faces of their own following Eli’s lead.

CINCY @ PITT (-8.5) This game may end tied 0-0 if the field is still in such crappy condition. But my real reason for taking Cincy is that it’s apparently harder for D-backs to keep their footing on crappy fields that receivers – Cincy will throw all night.

NE @ BALT (+20.5) Another ridiculous spread, but not surprising considering Balt may have one of the league most pathetic offenses. However, it will likely be fairly cold and I don’t think NE’s passing machine will continue in cold weather – they are due for a loss or 2 in the next few weeks.

Explaining the Refs from Last Night’s Game

November 30, 2007

John Parry, meet Leslie Nielsen (as Lt. Frank Drebin). John Parry was last night’s referee.

Here is the scene that gave birth to Brother Andy’s “Leslie Nielsen Theory of Officiating,” discussed here.

And Because It’s Friday…

November 30, 2007

“We’re Suffering From Wind Here, Too.” Classic. Watch the whole thing.

Frustrating game review explained…

November 30, 2007

“Frustrating game review” was a well-thought-out title for the post to describe both my frustration with the game AND and the frustration I had writing the review.

More importantly, on the term “frustrated”, there is a very unusual and scientifically observed correlation between the size of one’s noggin and one’s ability to say the word “frustrated” correctly. Those people with larger heads (circumference-wise) tend to struggle to work the first “r” in there leading them to be “fustrated”. (Chances are decent Mike McCarthy says “fustrated”). Those with skinnier, or narrow head types, have the common Asian-language-speaker tendency to swap the “r” out in favor of an “l” – or “flustrated”. Curiously though, the second “r” often does get pronounced by these thinner-headed folks. (Chances are decent Charlie Peprah says “flustrated”). I’m presently researching this further in an effort to arrive at a viable scientific explanation for why this may be. I welcome any thoughts.

Frustrating game review, clarification?

November 30, 2007

Was it just the game that was frustrating? Or is the game review frustrating, too? Frustrating game, review? Or, frustrating game-review?

And perhaps you can explain why people with big heads often say “fustrated” or “flustrated” when something is frustating…

Two Game-Changing Calls

November 30, 2007

For the record, I don’t think the Packers played well enough to win this game. But the officiating was horrendous. Here is a sampling of opinion on two key calls.

On Al Harris strip of Terrell Owens:

Greg Rosenthal, “Al Harris, one of the quietest guys in the NFL, gets a delay of game penalty after spiking the ball. He stole a catch from T.O., but the ref called it dead because of forward progress. Tough call for Green Bay…”

Greg Bedard, JS Online: “Not sure what the officials saw but it sure looked like Harris had an INT.”

Mike Lucas, Capital Times: “Dallas matinee idol, Tony Romo, the transplanted Cheesehead, completed his first pass of the night to Owens, a 12-yard out. But he appeared to have lost the ball to Harris before stepping out of bounds. Harris was convinced that he had possession, but nobody else saw it that way and Harris wound up getting penalized for delay of game. That could have been huge since the Packers were already leading 3-0 and the turnover (that wasn’t) would have given them the ball at midfield.”

Drew Olsen, “As was often the case back in the ’90s, the key calls went against Green Bay. Al Harris did strip the ball from Terrell Owens on the Cowboys’ first drive, but the refs had blown the whistle.”

On the Tramon Williams pass interference call:

Greg Rosenthal, “The [pass interference call] on this drive looks shaky in retrospect.”

Greg Bedard, JS Online: There was a “ridiculous 42-yard pass interference penalty on Tramon Williams. Anybody could see that the receiver slowed down there. Well, I guess not everybody.”

Mike Lucas, Capital Times: “There were some other comical moments with this officiating crew, which included a questionable pass interference call on Tramon Williams, who got tangled up with Cowboys receiver Miles Austin. That looked like incidental contact, although you could make a case for Williams putting his right hand on Austin before they crossed paths and feet. Williams tripped Austin but the official closest to the play didn’t throw the flag. It was a delayed call and it was the equivalent of a 42-yard penalty on Green Bay. Three plays later, the Cowboys expanded their lead from 27-24 to 34-24.”

Drew Olsen, “The key play of the game was a 42-yard pass interference call on Tramon Williams, who didn’t appear to impede Patrick Clayton. It was dicey at best.”

MJD at AOL’s Fanhouse: “I enjoyed the work of Cris Collinsworth last night. He’s pretty damn good as a game analyst. Especially with this point: after the officials incorrectly called Packer DB Tramon Williams for pass interference, Collinsworth suggested that these long interference calls be subject to replay, and that’s a fantastic idea… Maybe the biggest play in the game last night was that 42-yard pass interference call that was two things: 1) huge, and 2) horse(doo-doo).”

Wire reporter Todd Archer also thought the call was iffy: “Using Jason Witten for 37 yards on three catches and a questionable pass interference penalty on Tramon Williams, who tripped up Miles Austin, the Cowboys were at the Green Bay 5. Three plays later Romo whipped his second scoring throw of the game to Patrick Crayton, giving the Cowboys a 34-24 lead.”

Even Texas writers saw the Williams call for what it was. Tyler Smith, Herald-Democrat: “Dallas was aided by a questionable pass-interference penalty called against Tramon Williams that set the Cowboys up at the 5-yard line.”

But in the interest of balance, we include this, from Tom Pelissaro, with “The flag against Williams came really late, but it was correct. Williams actually had good position but, like many young players, didn’t trust his position and decided to grab Miles Austin instead. Though Austin probably couldn’t have caught the ball — and Williams did little to slow the receiver — the interference came early enough the officials weren’t going to declare the pass uncatchable. It’s borderline, but it’s going to be called nine times out of 10.”

Tramon Williams Subscribes to the Leslie Nielsen Theory of NFL Refs

November 30, 2007

Recall Brother Andy’s “Leslie Nielsen Theory of NFL Refs.” We laid it out this way in a post earlier this year:

Andy has a theory about NFL officiating. And once you hear it, I think it becomes hard to watch games without thinking it is true.

He says NFL refs are like Leslie Nielsen as the umpire in Naked Gun: They make calls that will generate applause from the home crowds. Someone who has more time than I do should look it up. Do home teams get more calls than away teams? I would guess that they do.

Then we got some scientific backing with this post, citing a Jason Wilde report.

“According to research done by The Dallas Morning News’ Rick Gosselin, NFL officials have been harsher on the road teams than the home teams each of the past nine weeks, assessing more penalties for more yards to the visitors.”

Well, it seems that Tramon Williams is now a believer in the Nielsen Theory.

Here is Tramon Williams on the crucial — and very questionable — 40-yard pass interference call. “Our legs got tangled up, but they’re the home team, so there ain’t much I can say about it.”

Keepin’ it Real, even though it’s not Thursday. You have to love Tramon Williams.

Bryant Gumbel likes “pretty” things

November 30, 2007

When Gumbel was talking about the incredibly ugly stadium last night, he mysteriously mentioned on two occasions how “pretty” it looked against the Dallas skyline. That would have been a nice comment: 1) if it were true 2) if he was a woman talking to other women or 3) if his audience was the Today Show.