Three things that pissed me off about the NFL last weekend (and no, the kneeling wasn’t one of them)

I’m going to channel my inner commander-in-chief for a moment and rant about all things wrong with the NFL.  (Currently adjusting combover, spraying on fake orange tan).  Okay, I’m ready.

One of my beefs has to do with coaching (or lack thereof), two have to do with a rule book that still can’t get things right and none have to do with any sort of protest.

Here goes…

1 – Coaching in this league takes cojones.  If you don’t have ‘em, don’t apply for the job.

They don’t call the first day after the regular season “Black Monday” for nothing.  It’s a day when almost a quarter of NFL owners decide to fire their head coaches.  Only 12 teams make the playoffs, meaning 20 coaches’ heads might be on the chopping block, unless of course you’re Marvin Lewis who must have pictures of the Bengals owner in uncompromising positions with farm animals.

The chin-dimpled, Bill O’Brien is head coach of the Houston Texans.  His college and professional coaching resume is lengthy; he is one of the many branches of the Bill Belichick coaching tree.

Apparently, he forgot some of what coach taught him last Sunday because, speaking of uncompromising positions, Coach O’Brien had his Houston Texans on the verge of doing something special.  A double-digit underdog going into this game, Coach O’Brien was about to knock off the New England Patriots in Foxboro.

That was when he realized he left his cojones in a jar on the kitchen counter at home.

With two-and-a-half minutes left to play, the Texans had the Patriots right where they wanted them.  Houston was up by two points with the ball in the Patriots red zone.

Facing a fourth and one and the opportunity to seal the game, and pull off the upset of the season if they could only gain one yard, O’Brien opted to send out the kicking team to take a five-point lead.  In doing so, he gave New England (and more importantly, Tom Brady) the ball back with two minutes left to play.

If you watched last year’s Super Bowl, or any game the Patriots have played over the last seventeen years, you know the rest of the story.

Tom Brady marched the Patriots downfield and scored the game-winning touchdown to rip out the Texans’ hearts and eat it over a nice wheat cracker.

In a post-game press conference, O’Brien was obviously asked about his decision to kick the field goal.  He admitted he thought about going for it but felt forcing the Patriots to drive the length of the field and score a touchdown up by five gave them the better chance to win that having them only need to get into field goal range up two.

This, my friends, is defeatist football.

In other words, GAIN THE FUCKING YARD AND SEAL THE GAME!  Houston had marched down the field seamlessly on that final drive.  Do you mean to tell me you couldn’t get one more, lousy yard?  And even if you didn’t, the Pats would still have been in poor field position.

All I’m saying is you have a nice young quarterback who appears to be your quarterback of the future.  Don’t you think a win at Foxboro in only his third game as a pro would have been career-changing for this kid?  Instead you’re teaching him to play not to lose.  If there’s one universal constant about football, it’s that when you coach not to lose… you lose.

Here’s hoping O’Brien grows a pair if he wants to stay employed in Houston.  It’s easy for this armchair quarterback to second-guess the coach in this situation but there was no reason whatsoever to not go for the first down in that situation.

For someone who once coached Tom Brady, one would think he’d have learned that with you just don’t give that man one last opportunity.  I guess some people are slow learners.


2 – A few years back, to protect the safety of its players, the league allowed defenders to just touch another player if his knees or elbows were down on the turf.  This would establish the player as tackled or down by contact.  It also ensures a player doesn’t plow into the ball-carrier unnecessarily and risk additional injury.

It was a good rule.

But I found an instant this weekend where it’s not.  Here’s what happened.

At the very beginning of the Sunday night game between the Raiders and the Redskins, Derek Carr lofted a pass downfield that was intercepted by Montae Nicholson who fell to the grass as he caught the ball.  Amare Cooper was the intended receiver.

Nicholson was touched incidentally by Cooper; they both fell to the ground as Nicholson was making the catch.  Thinking he hadn’t been touched, because it looked like he hadn’t, Nicholson got up and advanced the ball almost thirty yards… except, the play came under review.  The officials found that Nicholson was down by contact because he was grazed by Cooper, who didn’t make a play trying to stop Nicholson.  They just happened to touch.

This won’t happen but I believe the league should look at intent when it comes to tackling the ball-carrier.  Had Cooper made a play to stop Nicholson while he was down then he shouldn’t be able to advance the ball.

But he didn’t.  He just happened to be there and the play, luckily for Oakland, saved a thirty-yard return.

There should be a difference between “incidental” contact and “intentional” contact.  It seems pretty cut-and-dry for referee interpretation.  The league should be able to establish that rule without risking any more injury to its players.


3 – If you watched any NFL this weekend, you can guess what I’m going to complain about next… and again, no it’s not the league-wide protests.

The Detroit Lions lost a game they should have won because of a rule stipulation.  In the end, it could cost them a playoff spot.

With time winding down, Matthew Stafford was leading the Lions downfield.  All they needed was a touchdown in the waning seconds to defeat the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.

Stafford threw a pass to a cutting Golden Tate who caught the ball and at first glance appeared to have broken the plane.  The scoreboard added a touchdown for the Lions and the home town was in an uproar.

They were in far more of an uproar after the referees negated that touchdown and called the game over.

As we all know, in the NFL, time is of the essence.  The NFL’s ten-second run-off rule was designed to ensure teams couldn’t intentionally draw a penalty to stop the clock and give them a chance to win the game with the clock not moving.

That’s not what happened here.  Since the officials stopped the clock to review the play, they were obligated to enforce the ten-second run-off rule.  Since only eight seconds remained on the clock, the Lions were not allowed one more chance to score from the two-yard line, all because of a stipulation.

Only in Detroit.

Wins in the NFL are hard to come by.  At least early in the season, the Lions look like playoff contenders.  It’d be a shame if they ended up missing the playoffs because of a rule that needs to be revised.

The NFL is an imperfect game.  We just saw three examples this Sunday of just how imperfect a science it is.  If only, we didn’t love it so.

Well, some of us, that is.

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28 Replies to “Three things that pissed me off about the NFL last weekend (and no, the kneeling wasn’t one of them)”

  1. With all of the uproar surrounding the NFL , downward trend in viewership , I find it ironic the attention span of the fans who feel aggrieved by the protests can be so minute , yet in reality they know little of the nation’s history, and yet they whine.

    As for the league itself and the performances to date . Was anyone really expecting the games to be exciting with terrific performances ? This is the NFL where the officiating can be pathetic , hyperbole about the players becomes almost idiotic and where a President can prove himself to be a real @sshole with his own thoughts as to the things taking place prior to a game. Let’s have Trump explain to us the real failings of the AFL , where he was once an owner ?



  2. Al…

    It’ll be interesting to see how many sell-outs there are in NFL stadiums this weekend.

    I know for a fact Giants-Bucs has sold out with ticket prices through the roof. Again, that’s probably because the Giants are in town.

    Why they’d want to see that team play, I don’t know why.

  3. Hey Rev, Did O’Brien forget who he had playing quarterback. With Deshaun Watson you have so many options to make a yard. Speaking of the rookie, if anyone is looking for a positive story in the NFL they should look this kid up. He is paying it forward just like his mentor Warrick Dunn. Cheers!

  4. I agree with you in the Detriot scenario. If the referee stops the clock to see if a score was good in the last two minutes of a half, no runoff should be assessed and the clock should start on the snap. I also agree with you on O’Brien. Going for one shows great confidence in your offensive line. They would give the extra team push to get it. Some coaches are too conservative. He is one of them. Pete Carroll would’ve gone for it. Then again, two years ago, Carroll blew a Super Bowl by passing on second and goal from the one in that last minute loss to the Pats. Go figure. The incidental rule should remain because it is almost impossible to judge a defender’s intent. Touching a down runner is easy to enforce.

  5. I guess we’ll find out… Lakers pre-season starts on Saturday.

    Popovich and Kerr have already showed their vaginas, chances are others will too. I must reiterate… I have no problem with protesting or voicing ones opinions…but when you do it during the anthem, that’s a problem.

    I’m not opposed to the cause this all started with. No one wants innocent people shot or killed regardless of skin color.

    Just pick a better avenue than during the anthem to make that statement.

  6. Chris,

    As Meatloaf would sing “2 outta 3………”

    I disagree with you on #2. Intentional and incidental are subjective. Just another decision Pereira and crew could fck up. I’d agree if we could delay the game longer and give the defender a polygraph.

  7. Dirk Koetter had better start thinking about his future. This Bucs’ team is so overrated . Jam-jam (Jameis Winston) is still learning the ropes . Perhaps he should have Monica (Lewinsky) take a knee and play with his balls and anything else that doesn’t seem to be functioning right.

  8. Chris

    I thought this might add some levity to your day . Buckeyes’ head football coach Urban Meyer is now slamming the amount of corruption there happens to be in College Sports . LOL,LOL,LOL !!! During his reign at Florida , didn’t he contribute to that environment , letting his players get away with a slew of infractions and misdemeanors ? The Gators’ program was also into the view of the NCAA on more than one occasion or perhaps he’s forgetting that fact. He moves on the Buckeyes, where under Jim Tressel there was a whole lot of $hit going on with Tressel and his successor Luke Fickell.

    Tophatal …….

  9. The NBA has a rule that states players, coaches and trainers must “stand and line up in a dignified posture.”

  10. 1. Think Herm Edwards made that clear a long time ago.

    2. I’m with leaving incidental contact alone. Too problematic and not frequent enough to have a huge impact on the game…. yet.

    3. The runoff rule gets changed this offseason. Guaranteed.

    4. At no time in history have the majority of non-people of color been ok with people of color protesting at any time or in any venue whatsoever. And yet, despite these protests over the years, people of color are consistently told to “do it elsewhere”. How about addressing the problem and actively working toward a solution so that NO protests are needed? This is an American problem that should be directly addressed by all parties, not just the group directly impacted.

  11. Deac…

    I was paying attention to that game online. I had a stake in it. But not nearly as much as O’Brien and the Texans had.

    I don’t know if it was a long one or a short one but I think you gotta go for it in that situation.

    Your team has to be fired up to be where they’re at. Give ’em a little rah-rah, call a solid play you have for that specific situation and get the job done.

    Worst comes to worse, your D is still defending from where they would be anyway but at least they’ll be fired up to stop the Pats knowing their coach had the balls to go for it in that situation.

    Just my two cents.

  12. Jim…

    You just gave all of my Seattle readers the shivers by bringing up that play call.

    I talked to a referee friend of mine and he also agreed that the “incidental” contact rule should remain as is.

    I’d just like to see a guy make a play on the ball, that’s all.

  13. Bets…

    I don’t think they’re as subjective as we think.

    In that particular instance, there was no play made on the ball. It’s the same as a “football move” but perhaps even more cut and dry.

    Did the guy make an effort to tackle the ball-carrier? If so, yes, he’s down. If not, the ball carrier can advance.

  14. Al…

    I don’t think Koetter’s going anywhere. He can massively underachieve this season and have his job still be secure.

    Look, this is a young team with all new pieces and not much depth.

    I fully expected this team to miss the playoffs. Anything else in my mind would have been OVER-achieving.

    Now, in a few more years, with these same pieces intact, if they continue to play poorly, well then we’ll have a serious problem and most likely a change at the helm.

  15. Not sure how long but I saw this today:

    NBA commissioner Adam Silver was asked about it at Thursday’s Board of Governors meeting.

    “We have a rule that requires our players to stand for the anthem,” he said. “It’s been a rule as long as I’ve been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem.”

  16. My Trojans lose in Corvallis and you want to know how I feel about it?

    ….I though being raped by a Cougar would be more romantic.

  17. Chris

    Unless Jameis Winston becomes more consistent then the Bucs will not make any real progress.

    So it’s taken the Feds all this time to put together a case concerning the corruption and graft that takes in Collegiate Athletics ? Makes me wonder how much time before they solve the Russia scandal and which of the politicians in Congress actually has a notable reputation that would appear to be above board.

    Rick Pitino actually suggests he was unaware as to what was going on with the Louisville Cardinals’ basketball program ? Isn’t this the same coach who was fu#king the wife of one of his assistants and then claimed she was extorting money from him ? I guess if he was too busy showing her his nuts , then he can’t have been all that concerned with the players taking money or the use of prostitutes to lure potential recruits to the program.

  18. Al…

    Like it or not, Jameis will be the QB of the Bucs for the next ten or so seasons. You think he’ll bring the town a championship? I think… he just might.

    And re: Pitino, I’ll have my thoughts up on him and his situation in just a few. Stay tuned.

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