After a weekend of craziness in the NFL, I felt it my duty as a football fan to share an observation I made between Sunday afternoon and Monday night. People in football are stupid. Ok, that might be a little harsh…how about, people in football lack the intelligence to make important decisions.
(Quick sidebar here – More posts about my 30 before 30 will be coming shortly, but I have to address this issue of morons in football before my head explodes)
Here’s the thing; I love football. I love that the Oakland Raiders, a team that has resided at the bottom of the league for years, went into Denver and put 59 points on the board. I love that the Cleveland Browns went into New Orleans and beat up on the reigning Super Bowl Champs. I even love that a guy who got in a bar fight on Friday and was suspended for the first quarter and a half on Sunday, came in and caught 7 passes for 225 yards and 3 TD’s. This is a great game!
But here’s what I don’t love…stupidity. I present, for your entertainment, two examples of what I am referring to. And for all you Miami Dolphins fans out there, I will refrain from discussing that ridiculous fumble situation at the end of the game. I’m sure you have heard enough about it over the past 36 hours.
First, imagine for a moment that you are one of the New England Patriots. You’re coming off a heart pounding win over my Baltimore Ravens (damn you Tom Brady and your Justin Bieber hair!), you are traveling across the country to face a San Diego Chargers team looking to avenge last week’s loss in front of their home crowd and you are still dealing with questions regarding the trade of Randy Moss. It’s going to be a tough game, no doubt about that. Thankfully for you, the Chargers’ players seem to have all developed amnesia and forgotten the rules of football!
Act 1; Scene 1: The Chargers have the ball in the first half and are driving on the Patriots. Richard Goodman, a rookie receiver for the Chargers, makes a great 25 yard catch, his first career reception. He immediately gets up, lays the ball on the ground, and applauds himself. “Well done Richard, well done. Oh by the way, no one actually touched you after you made that catch so you may want to think about picking up the…too late.” Yep, safety James Sanders of the Patriots alertly picked up the ball and the Patriots take over possession. Good thing you practiced clapping Richard, you’ll be doing plenty of it from the sidelines.
Act 1; Scene 2: Later in the first half, the Chargers are driving again. QB Philip Rivers drops back to pass, sees no one open, and turns to throw a screen pass to FB Jacob Hester. The ball is thrown behind the line of scrimmage, glances off the hands of Hester, and falls to the ground. Ok kids, what do we call that? That’s right, it’s a lateral! That means the ball is LIVE. Hester makes no attempt to pick it up, but instead watches as Patriots Linebacker Rob Ninkovich does and runs it back to the SD 8 yard line.
Fast forward to the 4th quarter. After the Patriots decided that winning isn’t everything and tried to give the game to the Chargers by allowing 2 touchdowns in the last 7:00 minutes of the game, the Chargers returned the favor by committing a false start penalty on a field goal attempt from 45 yards out. The penalty backed the Chargers up 5 yards and Kicker Kris Brown’s 50 yard attempt smacked off the right upright and the game was over. After the game, Chargers head coach Norv Turner said “I don’t think we gave ourselves a chance.” Well said Norv.
The second example of stupidity in a game came late last night as the Dallas Cowboys attempted to come from 18 points down to rally and beat the NY Giants at Cowboy Stadium. After QB Tony Romo went down with a shoulder injury, the Cowboys appeared to give up on the game and the Giants took advantage of it, mounting a 38-20 lead in the 4th quarter. Veteran QB Jon Kitna, who took over for Romo after the injury, looked spry as usual, leading the Cowboys to a whopping 0-10 on 3rd down attempts.
With time ticking away in the 4th quarter, the Cowboys attempted to mount a comeback and drove down the field to inside the Cowboys’ 15 yard line. Down 18 points and needing 2 touchdowns AND a field goal, they found themselves in a 4th down situation. The smart play? Kick the field goal and worry about one of the touchdowns on the next possession. The field goal would have given the Cowboys a mathematical shot at winning the game. Instead, coach Wade Phillips decided to go for it on 4th down and the offense did not convert, giving the ball back to the Giants.
On the Cowboys next two possessions, they scored back to back touchdowns but were forced to attempt onside kicks to try to get the ball back. Neither attempt was successful and the Giants were able to tack on a field goal and run out the clock for the victory. There is no way to say how the game would have turned out, had the Cowboys kicked that field goal, but as a coach, you have to give your team a chance.
Every week in the NFL, we see examples of stupidity by players, coaches and referees. No one has ever accused these guys of being rocket scientists though so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. There are some people in the sport however (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Jeff Fisher, etc.), that know the game like that back of their hand. They study film, practice hard and learn everything there is to know about the game. But I guess these guys are just overachievers. I mean it’s not like it’s their job…oh wait…IT IS!