• The Water Cooler: Week 12


    -Week 12 lasted for about a month and a half. Thanksgiving feels like forever ago.

    -“We aren’t going to live in our fears. We’re going to live in our hopes.” Mike Tomlin used this quote to describe his decision to fake a 1st quarter FG attempt (after calling a TO, and clueing in the Seahawks that backup QB Landry Jones and not P Jordan Berry was on the field). Jones short-armed the throw to T Alejandro Villanueva, and it was intercepted. They could have just gone for it on 4th and 2, but whatever. The point is that all game, between that fake FG and another of his convention-to-the-wind 2 point attempts, Tomlin embodied that statement. Until…

    -… why is he calling for a FG down 5 with 3 minutes left and a defense that wasn’t stopping a thing? Yes, Ben Roethlisberger left the game after that series, requesting to be put into concussion protocol, but his chance to win the game with his best players was on that play (and there was nothing to suggest prior to that play that Roethlisberger would need to be checked for a concussion). Worst case, they fail, Seattle is pinned deep, putting the defense in a much more favorable position, and much less likely to see Seattle risk a pass on 3rd down. It seems to me like that was a really bad time to start ‘living in our fears.’

    -Richard Sherman earns the chance to get away with a lot. It’s like in the NBA-- if a player is consistently in good defensive position, he’ll get away with more. Same goes for Sherman. He is almost always in perfect position. That positioning allows him to get away with some extra contact, and occasionally, allows the referees to miss a call when his interference is more blatant, like on the INT where he got away with pushing Antonio Brown to the ground. Yes, it was technically a PI, but sometimes all you can do is tip your hat to a great player. And Richard Sherman won his battle against a great player on Sunday.

    -The game was on late, and I’m not certain how much coverage it received, so in case you missed it, the Patriots lost.

    -With each passing week we seem to be getting further away from Peyton Manning’s return to the field.

    -Ravens fans circulated an admittedly funny and predictable picture on facebook showing Joe Flacco still playing with a torn ACL next to a picture of Ben Roethlisberger on a cart with a sprained foot. I can’t wait to see what they do with the Gronk injury.

    -The year of the injury continues. Romo (again), Eifert, Hurns, Houston, Rodgers-Cromartie, Graham, Shazier (again), Roethlisberger (again), Johnson and Ellington, Ward, Hightower, Gronk,…

    -…

    -The matchup a nation deserves to see this year is… Arizona-Carolina?

    -Does Matt Hasselbeck deserve some comeback player of the year consideration?

    -Your NFC East leading Washington Redskins.

    -We see you, Odell Beckham. Too bad the Giants offense decided to sleep-walk through 3 quarters.

    -Mark Richt was fired this weekend after 15 years at Georgia. After his firing, one of his first orders of business was to call top QB recruit Jacob Eason (Tony Eason’s son) to tell him to be patient and see who the next guy will be, “you might get really excited about that”. Mark Richt is a very good football coach and an even better dude. There are 128 Division 1 football programs, and there are roughly 115-120 of those programs that would be enhanced by adding Richt.

    -In the battle over which team would capitalize on a loss by either Clemson or Alabama, it will be interesting to see exactly how the College Football Playoff committee distinguishes 2-loss potential Pac-12 champ Stanford and 1-loss non-Big 10 champ Ohio State. And can North Carolina crash that party if they beat Clemson, which would rank as the best singular win of the college football season for any team. They don’t want to blindly take the top 4 conference champions, but in order to crash the party, the non-champion has to distinguish itself as one of the clear 4 best teams in the country. Talent-wise, it’s tough to argue against the Buckeyes. But has their performance justified a clear top 4 billing, provided Alabama or Clemson lose on Saturday?

    -Nothing signals the start of the Christmas season quite like A Charlie Brown Christmas. This year is the 50th anniversary of the understated classic, and it remains one of the things I look most forward to throughout the season. Christmas time is here.

    Comments 14 Comments
    1. Amy's Avatar
      Wait, wait, wait...

      Tony Eason, ex-Pats QB, the man who told the team in his rookie training camp that his main career goal was to get out without a major injury, the man who checked himself out of Super Bowl XX, and made a barely mobile Steve Grogan play, because he was afraid of being hurt, that Tony Eason lets his son play football?.

      That shocks me.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
      Wait, wait, wait...

      Tony Eason, ex-Pats QB, the man who told the team in his rookie training camp that his main career goal was to get out without a major injury, the man who checked himself out of Super Bowl XX, and made a barely mobile Steve Grogan play, because he was afraid of being hurt, that Tony Eason lets his son play football?.

      That shocks me.
      Yup, and he's apparently a really good prospect at that. He's rated as high as a 5 star prospect, and ESPN has him ranked as the 2nd best QB recruit in the country for 2016.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Newsbreak: When Kyle, Aaron, and Mario Williams are injured, Buffalo'so defense is mediocre. Also, Dennis Thurman calls a far too conservative game. And Greg Roman tries too often to get too cute. I am not saying Buffalo needed to run more in the second half, just that they needed to be more aggressive in the passing game than they were.
    1. Hoser's Avatar
      Greg Roman too cute with the passing and not running enough? I'm shocked!!!
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Is the officiating getting worse each week?
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      The NFL yanked Pere Morelli's crew from their next SNF appearance. Instead, the crew will work an afternoon game between the Eagles and Patriots.

      Amy must be thrilled.

      {}
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by iwatt View Post
      Is the officiating getting worse each week?
      Certainly hope so. If this is the norm it blows all kinds of holes in my theory that the zebras have been out to get us since the Washington Super Bowl.
    1. Amy's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      The NFL yanked Pere Morelli's crew from their next SNF appearance. Instead, the crew will work an afternoon game between the Eagles and Patriots.

      Amy must be thrilled.

      {}
      I'm fine with it. I don't think there's any ref conspiracy. I do think that Corrente's crew had a bad 6 or 7 minute period at the end of the Broncos game, but they were fine the rest of it.

      I think that there have been high profile errors. *cough* Rex getting in the way *cough*. But the vast majority of calls are correct. I do think that Blandino needs to go, and we need to work the officials into the competition committee to give better insights into rules and how they can be streamlined.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Hoser View Post
      Greg Roman too cute with the passing and not running enough? I'm shocked!!!
      He is reminding me of Mate Hackett with his propensity to call shirt plays because they would expect him to call good ones.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Remember- Blandino is a replay guy, and has never worked on the field. I mentioned it at some point last year, and I am even firmer in thinking that there's a direct correlation between his lack of on-field insight, and the demise of the officiating around the league.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Morelli was the lead official in the Steelers-Colts Divisional Playoff game from 10 years ago. That may be mentioned between 1 and 100 times in the game writeup for this week's Blitz Picks.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
      I'm fine with it. I don't think there's any ref conspiracy. I do think that Corrente's crew had a bad 6 or 7 minute period at the end of the Broncos game, but they were fine the rest of it.

      I think that there have been high profile errors. *cough* Rex getting in the way *cough*. But the vast majority of calls are correct. I do think that Blandino needs to go, and we need to work the officials into the competition committee to give better insights into rules and how they can be streamlined.
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      Remember- Blandino is a replay guy, and has never worked on the field. I mentioned it at some point last year, and I am even firmer in thinking that there's a direct correlation between his lack of on-field insight, and the demise of the officiating around the league.
      This^.

      So.Much.This.
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      I don't know if I blame the officials themselves for the decline in the quality of officiating, because it's not solely an NFL problem at this point. While I understand that referees in the pros are supposed to be, you know, the best in the business, college football's officiating this year has been atrocious beyond even the most disgruntled NFL fan's imagination. I wonder if football, in general, has simply given its referees too much to do and has made it all but impossible for them to effectively manage the game. Occasionally, there is a black-or-white officiating matter that is missed, but most of the time, I would suggest that the mistakes that we see fall into one of three categories, only the problems mutually reinforce themselves. The categories are:

      --Replay
      --Player safety protections
      --Modern passing game accommodations

      It's not a coincidence that the newest rules are the worst enforced. There are two problems here. The first is that the spread offense has created spacing on the field, and with one official assigned to each of the eligible receivers, a couple watching the line of scrimmage, another two with their eyes in the backfield, any sort of meaningful overlapping support can break down on any play, and even if it doesn't, it's entirely likely the official providing it won't be in a good position to see the play. Is there anything we dread more than pass interference called by an official clear on the other side of the field? Anyway, it feels to me as though the increasing isolation and workload of officials has been allowed continue with instant replay as the guarantor of accuracy. Only, as we know, replay cannot do all of the things we want it to do, and isn't--with good reason, I would say--allowed to do certain other things.

      Now, this doesn't explain all the mistakes, although maybe the neatest encapsulation of all of this is ending of that Baltimore--Jacksonville game a few weeks back. It doesn't explain, say, the ending of the Lions--Seahawks MNF game, except to say that replay could not correct an error that was somehow made with an official looking directly at it. I don't know you fix this, but the game is over-officiated at basically every level. I don't believe it's a stretch that we're asking these guys to do too much.
    1. Nancy's Avatar
      The matchup a nation deserves to see this year is… Arizona-Carolina?
      http://thesportspost.com/2015-nfl-pl...lina-panthers/

      What a difference a year makes.


      Does Matt Hasselbeck deserve some comeback player of the year consideration?
      Maybe, but if you're a Colts fan and you don't want Andrew Luck back in time for the playoffs (?!), you're a very confused person and I cannot help you.