But the most intriguing event of the third round of games has to do with officiating, and the effect of moving the umpire from the defensive to the offensive side of the ball so he won't be such a defenseless target in the middle of pass patterns.
When I was watching the Colts-Packers game last week I thought it was pretty stupid how this rule had the umpire set up. I do have to say any rule change that gets Bill Polian pissed off and publicly whining about something at least has some entertainment value.
I don't want to be too dramatic about it, but it's a virtual certainty that the rule will have far more impact on the Colts than on any other team in football.
First, the NFL doesn't change the way pass interference is called and the Colts lose the AFC Championship game to the Patriots, then the NFL doesn't completely change the way they do overtime in the regular season and the playoffs so the Colts lose to the Chargers WITHOUT EVERY TOUCHING THE BALL, then the NFL doesn't outlaw onside kicks and the Colts lose the Super Bowl, and now the NFL is making rule changes that will hurt the Colts hurry-up offense. The Colts think either the NFL doesn't care to cater to the them very much or they just don't like their team overall.
The Colts aren't asking for special treatment, they just don't want the NFL to make any NFL-wide rule changes that will negatively affect them in the future, and change any rules that negatively affected them in the past.
They won't be able to run their no-huddle offense with the same speed. And the triggerman knows it.
Speaking of the Colts not being able to run their offense with the same speed, it wasn't quite fair that Tracy Porter got to jump Reggie Wayne's route in the Super Bowl. Shouldn't cornerbacks have to count to two before they try to intercept a pass? It only seems fair to the Colts.
Maybe the Colts should put a call in to Marvin Harrison to go to Roger Goodell's office in New York and threaten him with a gun if he doesn't make sure the umpire's position stays the same. Marvin Harrison will fuck Roger Goodell up if necessary.
"If we had this rule last year,'' Manning said Saturday night, "there's no way we catch up in that New England game. We were down, what, 21 points in the fourth quarter? We wouldn't have had enough time to run enough plays to catch up. But forget about that game. Let's chart all the comeback wins where a team runs the hurry-up in the fourth quarter. How many of those games would have ended up the same way -- or would the quarterbacks have had enough time to run enough plays to come back and win?''
(the sound of gnashing of teeth and weeping over the Colts inability to come back after they have gotten behind 21 points to the Patriots at home)
How are the Colts expected to come back and win a game after they have spotted the other team 21 points if the NFL is going to change the rules around to make it harder for them to come back?
I am really in favor of keeping the umpire where he is at behind the defensive line, mostly because I don't know where else he could go and still spot the ball quickly. I think it is inefficient to move him because it will slow teams in a hurry-up offense down. I can't help but poke fun at the Colts though. It could hurt them the most, but it is a rule that will be universal throughout the NFL, and it was a rule designed for safety reasons, not to hurt the Colts.
To recap the new rule: The umpire traditionally was the official who most often spotted the ball, then scurried back about five yards behind the defensive line of scrimmage to watch the play unfold. But last year, keeping with the recent tradition of physical plays against the ump because he was the center of a bunch of offensive crossing routes, there were approximately 100 collisions between players and umps.
One resulted in an umpire needing shoulder surgery, and another ump need knee surgery after being knocked down.
"Ump need knee surgery!" Woman, pass ump food so he can make eat of it and make ump happy. Maybe make forget he need knee surgery.
The Competition Committee, backed by Commissioner Roger Goodell, deemed it a safety issue, so the ump was assigned to a spot about 15 yards behind the offensive line of scrimmage, on the opposite side of where the referee is stationed. The lone exception to the rule happens in the last two minutes of each half, when the league, in a nod to the possibility of teams running a hurry-up offense, will station the umps in their traditional spot, so as not to interfere with the offensive rhythm in a two-minute drill.
You'll never guess who is a Competition Committee member...wait for it...wait some more...Bill Polian is. I really, really hope he didn't vote in favor of this rule and now is complaining about it. I wonder if Polian voted for it?
It turns out he did vote for it.
What's the deal with the NFL creating new rules that only take place in the playoffs or at certain times of an NFL game? Either put the umpire behind the quarterback or put him behind the defensive line. Choose one and make it happen for the entire game. I make fun of the Colts not liking the rule change, but there has to be a more efficient place to put the umpire.
On Sunday I asked the new NFL vice president of officiating, Carl Johnson, about Manning's claim that teams can't run hurry-up offensive series the same way they have in recent years. Which is to say, in a hurry.
"The way the new mechanic of the umpire positioning is, I don't have a resolution to that,'' said Johnson. "It's going to take a couple extra seconds to spot the ball. There's no way around that. But this is a work in progress. We're aggressively seeking ways to improve the mechanics.''Look at Peter King doing some reporting. Take that Starwood Preferred Member! You've pissed off Peter and now he is doing some actual reporting.
Glad the VP of officiating basically tells NFL teams "you're fucked" when it comes to a hurry-up offense. Nice.
Here's a good way to fix it. Go back to the way it was and tell the officials try not to get hurt when they are standing behind the defensive line and let them know unfortunately it is a part of the job. It sounds insensitive and it is, but it is also the best solution, other than have another official spot the ball. If there were a better solution that would not affect play in the game and could keep the umpire safe, I would advocate for that solution.
Three: Why does an ump have to be so far behind the line of scrimmage on the offensive side? Johnson said he doesn't; one of the tweaks already made to the system says that as soon the umpire is behind the back or quarterback -- whoever is furthest back from the line -- the quarterback can snap the ball without penalty.
So how does the quarterback know the umpire is back far enough? He gets a signal from another official presumably, which means the process is still going to be slowed up in some ways.
Thursday night in Green Bay, the Colts twice got called for "false start -- snap infringement'' for snapping the ball before umpire Garth DeFelice had returned to his position. Once it was because the Colts' Anthony Gonzalez made a questionable reception, and Manning was hustling to the line to try to force the hand of Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy to either use one of his replay challenges or, if he didn't, to get the next play off quickly so the catch would stand. "So not only do we get penalized,'' said Manning, "but now McCarthy has plenty of time to decide whether to challenge the play or not.''
What? So first the officials call a penalty on the Colts and then they still let Mike McCarthy challenge the call on the field? When will this prejudice against the Colts' way end?
"I am dead-set against the penalty,'' said Polian. "It is insane. If I knew it would be this way, I'd have voted against it, and not only that, I'd have crusaded against it.''
So Bill Polian voted for the rule change that he now absolutely hates? How would he have crusaded against it? Would he have held a march with picket signs protesting the rule? I want to know more about the crusade Polian was planning.
For now, I can see some mayhem on the horizon. Indianapolis opens the season at Houston, and the Texans have the ability to play pinball football, scoring early and often. If the Colts find themselves down double-digits in the fourth quarter, I can see Manning wanting to go to a quick-snap set (he might want to in the middle of the second quarter; who knows?) and being frustrated by the pace of the officials.
I admit it is a stupid rule, but how about the Colts try not to get down by double-digits when it comes time to play the 4th quarter? It would fix this problem of having to come back. Would that be too easy to try and do?
I examined Manning's point about the big comeback last November to see about the quick no-huddle he ran. Let say, for the sake of argument, that the re-positioning of the umpire would have taken an additional five seconds per play, with the obvious proviso that on incomplete passes or on plays when the clock was stopped you wouldn't add the additional four seconds. Would the Colts have actually had enough time to rebound from a 31-14 deficit with 14 minutes to play to win?
They had 16 plays. Eight of them were live-ball plays, with the clock running at the end. Considering that Manning bled the clock in the last drive of the game, inside the two-minute warning, it's a stretch to think that 40 seconds would have doomed the Colts that night
So Peyton Manning really had no point. I still don't like the rule but it may end up being an annoyance more than anything else if the officials could find a way to get another official to set the ball.
... though it's possible the Patriots, rested and able to react better to his fast-paced offense, would have made some defensive plays to stop the Colts on one of the three scoring drives.
They would have had five seconds under Peter's scenario to rest on 8 plays. I don't know if that is enough time to be better rested and ready to react better. Maybe the Patriots defense would have had some more time to get set up, but it would have only been a few seconds between each play.
Brett Favre: He's already taking injections in his wounded ankle.
Hey everyone! Haven't you heard that Brett Favre is injured? He is playing football injured! He'll tell you all about it if you want! Can you believe he is playing football injured? I bet no one else has ever done this!
He said Dr. Andrews made two incisions on the top of his left ankle, where the ankle flexes above the foot, and sucked out the loose bodies. He said Dr. Andrews wasn't surprised a significant spur returned when Favre went for a re-exam a month ago -- but he was surprised it happened so fast. The Vikings will attempt to manage the pain the spur brings on, but Favre said he didn't think he'd take any painkillers stronger than Motrin.
Yeah, I am an asshole.
"It's catching up with me, all this stuff,'' said Favre, who turns 41 in October.
Then fucking retire and quit talking about it. I get so tired of Favre deciding to come back and play and then telling us all how injured he is. If he is injured then just retire or quit talking about being injured.
"My ankle just seems to get easier to sprain. I know everyone thinks the New Orleans game [the NFC Championship Game] killed me, but it was bad before then. Now we'll see if I can make it. My mind's telling me one thing, but my body's telling me something else.''
Translation: Sidney Rice is out for a while and Percy Harvin has a headache, so I had better think of an excuse for why my performance this year could be sub-par. If I play well everyone in the media will say what a warrior I am and if I play poorly...well I am hurt so that is why I played poorly.
I get so tired of hearing about Brett Favre's mind and body telling him different things. Plenty of athletes who still want to play sports in their mind have had to retire due to injuries, but Brett Favre has to be a drama queen and make his decision the most difficult decision in the history of mankind. Favre has announced he is playing this year and he is still waffling on whether to actually play. The decision is made. Shut up and play football.
I've said this all along: This ankle thing's a little different that the weariness he felt a year ago. There could come a time where his mobility is so compromised that Favre won't be able to get out of the way of the rush consistently.
I've said this all along: If Favre is injured and can't play well enough to help the team then retire. Tom Brady plays a season with broken ribs coming off major knee surgery and doesn't utter a word about it, while Brett Favre gets a paper cut and starts doubting his future ability to throw the football, calls an interview to publicly discuss this and then sends out pictures of how deep that paper cut actually was.
Katrina at Age 5: Maybe Mickey Loomis should be executive of the decade.
I'm exaggerating a bit there. The Saints certainly weren't the dominant force of Indianapolis or New England in the past 10 years. Not even close. But if the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Yankees in the World Series next year, wouldn't you give them three times the credit of any other team for winning such a series?Yes I would, but the Saints aren't the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NFL. It's not even close either. The Saints had a record of 70-74 for 2000-2008 and that's obviously not including their 13-3 record for 2009. They weren't a bad team over the decade. It's insulting to Pirates fans and to Saints fans to compare them to the Pirates at all.
The Saints went 8-8 in 2008, it's not like they even had a losing record the year before they won the Super Bowl.
One NFL medical person -- don't want to be too specific -- told me Sunday that the injury that is apparently plaguing fired Cincinnati wideout Antonio Bryant could be Chondral Defect of the knee. "If you're not looking for it, you won't find it,'' this official said. "It's a long-term knee problem that won't go away.'' The ailment refers to a complicated cartilage injury to the knee. Whether that's the exact injury plaguing Bryant or not, it's incredible that a team investigating a free-agent wide receiver who missed most of 2009 with a knee problem would have passed him on the physical this year,
I'm not defending this signing, because it is clear the Bengals don't seem to know what they are doing when it comes to signing wide receivers, but the medical person said if a team isn't looking for the knee injury they won't find it. So when doing the physical, the Bengals probably weren't specifically looking for it...so they didn't find it.
I just can't figure out why they blew it two years in a row on receivers no other teams were very interested in.
Two years in a row on three receivers no other team was interested in. I lump Terrell Owens in there until he can behave himself for an entire year.
Quote of the Week III
"Stylez is my Allen Iverson ... We're going to tolerate him 'til we can replace him.''
-- Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris, on his tough-to-coach defensive end with the manufactured name, Stylez G. White.Based on the fact White is 31 years old and had 6.5 sacks last year as a starter, I would say Raheem Morris only needs to tolerate him until free agency or the draft next year.
Stat of the Week
Anyone else find this weird? Bill Belichick, with 163 victories in 15 seasons, is 14th on the all-time NFL coaching wins list.
Coaches 11 through 13 are all Hall of Famers (Joe Gibbs 171, Paul Brown 170, Bud Grant 168).
Coaches 6 through 10 are all not Hall of Famers (Marty Schottenheimer 205, Dan Reeves 201, Chuck Knox 193, Bill Parcells 183 and Mike Holmgren 174).This is an example (maybe not a great one) of the Hines Ward argument last year for coaches. While the coaches in spots 6 through 10 are all great coaches, they all (with the exception of Holmgren) coached for a while and were able to accumulate many wins, so they may have been great coaches, but not Hall of Fame coaches. I would say this is the case for Knox and Reeves.
Of course the real reason these coaches in spots 6 through 10 aren't in the Hall of Fame is that three of these guys (Parcells, Schottenheimer, and Holmgren) aren't actually eligible yet. This makes Peter's point much less interesting.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Travel Note of the Week
On a Delta flight from Boston to Minneapolis on Saturday morning, I was sitting on the aisle in coach, my legs snug against the seatback, with an empty seat next to me as the plane filled up. A young man, maybe 25, walked down the aisle, looked at his ticket, looked at the empty seat next to me and, wordlessly, began lifting his leg over my two thighs. The man, whether he could speak English or not, had no intention of motioning for me to stand up so he could get to his seat as a normal human being would.
This is a little bizarre, but maybe the guy assumed because Peter had his legs snug against the other set and the plane was filling up he didn't want to get up? It's not like Peter is the most flexible looking person, so the guy thought rather than be rude and expect Peter to stand up, he would walk over him.
"Whoa, whoa,'' I said, holding my hand up. "I'll get up.''
I got up, allowed the man into the seat, and sat back down. He didn't say a word to me, nor I to him, for the 2-hour, 17-minute flight.
No big deal, I guess. It's just that ... well, who would naturally think to get in a plane seat by climbing over someone, and clearly touching that person awkwardly while grabbing onto a setback for support, and jarring the person in that seat?Maybe the same kind of person who would sit down on a plane and not immediately get up when it is clear a person is trying to get into the seat beside him? Peter was just sitting there so the guy figured he probably would have to climb over him to get into his seat.
From the sports transactions in Wednesday's Boston Globe:
NFL: Fined Cincinnati WR Chad Ochocinco $25,000 for Tweeting during a prohibited time.
Of course, Ochocinco didn't respond with a quote, but with a Tweet, saying, in part, "Dad, again I apologize 2 you for my Tweet.'' Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who is never shy about the Chad nonsense, said with a sigh to the Cincinnati media: "It's just Chad doing something stupid again.''It's good to see Marvin Lewis has complete control of his team. This is the guy the Bengals have in charge of controlling both Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens. Good luck with that.
1. I think I'd be very surprised if commissioner Goodell didn't reduce BenRoethlisberger's suspension from six to four games when they meet in New York Friday.
It looks like Peter should be prepared to be very surprised. (It turns out I was taken by the Mike Wise hoax where he posted a fake report to see how many people would run with it and report it without checking their sources. Sadly, I do feel stupid for not doing a search to get a second report on this, but I also don't really feel bad that I believed what he wrote.)
3. I think the Leinart yanking shows Ken Whisenhunt didn't trust Leinart in 2007, and he doesn't trust him now. How that trust can be rebuilt is the tough question.
The scariest part about this if I was a Cardinals fan is that Ken Whisenhunt trusts Derek Anderson. Maybe Anderson will remember how to play quarterback and succeed in the Cardinals offense, but he hasn't shown he could do this in the preseason yet.
4. I think it's hard to figure out which rookie Jim Schwartz is more excited about -- Jahvid Best or Ndamukong Suh. Best gives the Lions a dimension they just haven't had since (dare I say it?) Barry Sanders. Suh, Schwartz said, "makes some plays in the interior line that Albert Haynesworth would make in his fifth year. He's been amazing.''
Well, the reason Haynesworth made those plays in his fifth year and no sooner is because he was going to be a free-agent soon and figured he had to earn a new contract.
7. I think those C.J. Spiller highlights make me hope, for the Bills' sake, that he can play more than the part-time role his history says he should play. At Clemson, Spiller rarely lugged it 20 times a game, and with the punishment he'll take in the NFL, it's unrealistic to expect he'll approach that workload.
Ladies and gentlemen, the number 9 pick in the 2010 draft...CJ Spiller!
I like how the Bills took a non-franchise running back at #9 in the first round. Yeah, he's a potentially explosive player, but Spiller is a luxury for a team that may not have other glaring needs...or as I call it, "not the Bills."
8. I think that was not a good night for Tim Tebow, even though it ended with a nice touchdown throw to Eric Decker. Easier said than done, but he needs to get comfortable out there. He looked tight and not so athletic against Pittsburgh on Sunday night.
But he is athletic! Don't you remember him athletically running over players in college because he was bigger than them? That's athleticism in being able to run over other players the same size as you.
d. Coffeenerdness: I've got to hand it to Caribou Coffee in the Minneapolis airport on Sunday morning at 5:45. You guys make one heck an oatmeal at that hour. Good little latte too. Got me started pretty well on a jammed-up day.
Perhaps Peter should try this site for his compliments to Caribou Coffee.
Is there anyone that reads this and says, "Holy shit, I find it so interesting Peter King had good oatmeal and latte at Caribou Coffee early in the morning. I want to know more about what kind of good food and drink he has had lately."
I didn't think so. I doubt Peter's life is so interesting anyone truly cares what he had to drink or eat.
e. The question is no longer whether John Lackey's worth $16 million a year. It's whether he's worth $1.6.
Well, the good news is that he is signed until he is 36 years old. The Red Sox always wanted to be just like the Yankees, well now they are. Now they get to miss big on expensive free agents just like the Yankees!
(Though I bet Lackey could bounce back next year, so I wouldn't completely write him off yet.)
f. Manny. White Sox. Afterthought.
Naturally. Where do the White Sox even play?
h. Very good to be with you, Tim Sweeney and company, to support Youth Care, the Boston charity helping kids with Asperger's Syndrome. Good cause. Fun night. Nice striped bass. Thank you.
Thanks for the great service Waffle House. I really enjoyed the food and cold coffee you served me. Great times. Dirty table. Was afraid to take a shit in the bathroom. Appreciate all you do.
j. Good luck at Oberlin, Emma Goldstein. You too at Marquette, Tess Quinlan. And Tess, how long did it take you to know 64 other frosh? Fifteen minutes?
Email. Learn it. Use it. Thank you.
k. I wish I could give you more this morning, folks. The SI mag preview issue, out Tuesday, has kayoed me. Will try to be back longer next week.
"Sorry for half-assing this part of my job, but another part of my job has taken up my attention and I am not capable of doing both, but I still want you to think of me as valuable to the company."
I try to use this excuse at work everyday and don't get very receptive feedback from management.
l. Did Pete Thamel write the entire New York Times sports section Sunday or what? Bylines from three time zones! That has to be a record, Pete. Good job.
Holy shit, Pete. Great job. Peter King didn't even know there WERE three time zones in the United States.