Vyncint Smith misses a pass as he is defended by Nik Needham. The officials had to go to a review and reversed their call to rule there was defensive pass interference. Paul J. Bereswill
As Sigmund Freud said, “Leave my mother out of this!”
Oh, Mama! It’s all so confounding. How did the NFL make it — sell even one ticket — before “instant” replay rules?
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s VP of football operations and a former NFL cornerback — of all positions — this week admitted to NBC what practical football observers knew before the start of last season: The NFL’s new, two-way pass interference replay rule would be a game-changing, game-stopping disaster.
Vincent blamed the rule, now deleted, on an absence of “due diligence” — in other words, a matter of quick-fix wishful thinking.
But the rule had nothing to do with due diligence and everything to do with an absence of common sense in the form of foresight, the kind the NFL has been critically short of on Roger Goodell’s watch.
Where previous replay rules intended to correct bad calls — even if the games were unplugged to apply unintended microscopic examination in the form of second opinions/guesses — the pass interference rule actually created bad calls out of no calls.
You may recall December when the Jets beat the Dolphins, 22-21, thanks to a ridiculous replay-booth pass interference call against Miami based on no clear evidence. The Jets, having thrown an incomplete pass on a third-and-17, were instead gifted a 33-yard gain, from where they kicked the winning field goal with 3 seconds left.
This was a league-concocted injustice. And if not applied by the NFL’s replay officials, then it was to be used by coaches as a nothing-to-lose shot in the dark that occasionally hits a hidden target and leads TV voices to consult irrelevant stats to conclude whether coaches are “good” at replay challenges.
But the NFL has allowed itself to be immersed — drowned — in such nonsense. How could the league not have seen how this crapshoot rule would be misapplied?
Of course, last year’s pass interference replay rule introduction was a colossal knee-jerk reaction to that non-call in the 2018 Rams-Saints NFC Championship. But the NFL was so eager to “fix” that it ignored the fact that such a rotten non-call was so rare as to stand out as outstanding.
So last year more totally unintended microscopic, freeze-frame, “We’ll be back after this” evidence — guesses — were added to the game posed as a curative tonic. No one on the inside could see this coming? Some games include 80 passes!
As for claims that the NFL makes it up as it goes along, that’s another that fans see more clearly than the NFL.
Radio interview started off on Marks
Fascinating chat, this past Saturday on ESPN Radio-NY. Anita Marks’ guest was Amy Dash, an attorney and sports legal analyst for several TV networks.
Dash had done her investigative homework and was eager to share. Marks allowed her plenty of room.
Dash said there’s evidence that several Dolphins may have been involved in that two-day, crazy-stakes, illegal card game that led to the alleged armed robbery of $73,000 in cash and watches by Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker and Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Dash spoke in detail about a public feud between both players’ lawyers.
Dash also noted that former Giants receiver Cody Latimer, now with Washington, was arrested for discharging a gun and “threatening to shoot everyone in the room” in an apartment building in Colorado.
Solid stuff. And then it did a sudden, pandering U-turn.
Both Dash and Marks suggested the players’ alleged behavior could at least in part be blamed on the “boredom” created by the coronavirus, though it didn’t seem as if any of the four NFL players booked on gun charges the Saturday before had been self-quarantining.
Marks took it a step further when she said of the players, “They gotta get back to work” as if they have two choices: play football or commit felonies. “But your Honor, there was that virus going around, and I was bored!”
Dave Smith, a Steelers receiver in 1971, died this week at 73. He might have taught an important nationally televised lesson in sports — had anyone bothered to pay useful, lasting attention.
On that Nov. 15, the Steelers were playing the Chiefs on ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” MNF’s second season. Smith caught a pass from Terry Bradshaw and was off, alone, to the end zone.
When he reached the 5, Smith raised the ball over his head in self-celebration. The ball slipped from his hand and tumbled out of the end zone for a touchback, K.C.’s ball. Pittsburgh lost, 38-16.
Since then, hundreds of games at all levels have been lost or altered by showboats. Some are recidivist showboats. They care nothing about the risk or ridicule as long as they think they stand out above their teammates and impress ESPN’s harvesters of highlights.
Some grab their crotches, some mime urinations or defecations, some just stand there, posing, turning doubles and triples into singles, others look for the nearest TV camera to emphasize their great self-regard as play continues.
The commissioners of the NFL and MLB actually encourage immodest behavior from players. Rob Manfred thinks conspicuous self-affection will attract kids to baseball.
Anyway, another Monday night number in 2008 saw Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson flip the ball behind him just before he scored his first NFL touchdown, recorded as a fumble. Did it cure him? Fat chance.
That lesson Smith might’ve instilled, never took. Can’t think of a good reason why it didn’t, but it didn’t and it hasn’t.
No more triple threats
The emails from those under virus house arrest continue to stack about watching baseball games from long ago and not that long ago, all with a sense of joy of what baseball used to because of how it was played.
From Jeffrey Beyer:
“Watching the 1978 All-Star Game on FS1. Triple for Rod Carew, busting it out of the box, leading off the game — an exhibition game! Can you imagine?”
Carew had 10 regular-season triples that year, 16 the year before. Since 2012, Robinson Cano has had six triples. Superstar Bryce Harper had nine triples his rookie season then became an I’m-too-cool-to-run plate-poser. He has had two the past three seasons.
Though Eddie Sutton was a famous college basketball coach, he never coached around here, but at Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Creighton and Arkansas. Only after he died, last week (confirmed by ESPN) did Mike Francesa reveal that he very often “encountered” Sutton and admired him.
So place Sutton on the list of the greats Francesa claims to have known, starting with the day they died.