Monday, October 1, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Crazy Weekend in Sports

By: Kerrance James

Maybe the replacement refs weren’t so bad after all.

There were an awful lot of questionable calls yesterday, culminating in 3 pass interference calls in the final drive during the primetime game. While listening to the Redskins / Buccaneers game, the Bucs were flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty for performing somewhat of a suplex on RGIII. The Redskins’ radio crew immediately started complaining about the call, saying that on that play, RGIII was a running back and you can’t overly protect him in that situation. So, to recap, the officiating/rulebook is so bad that people are even complaining when the calls benefit the team they’re supporting. I really think the only major difference between the “real” refs and the replacement refs was that the replacement refs had no confidence. Yes, the Packers/Seahawks game was a disaster, but so was the Packers/Saints game yesterday. The only reason the calls in the Seahawks game received the vitriol that they did is because we became pre-conditioned to doubt every single call they made. The real undeniable problem – and I’m not trying to open up a race debate here – is that predominantly white guys in their 50s can’t keep up with today’s athletes. The same thing has been plaguing college hoops for the past decade.

No defense in Morgantown.

The Baylor / West Virginia score may have shocked a lot of people, but not me. When they played each other last December, they went into overtime tied at 76 before Baylor finally prevailed, so I don’t understand why this pre-season exhibition game got so much attention. What’s that? That was a football score?! Since when do colleges have Arena football teams?

Thank God the Texas Rangers won on Sunday night.

I could care less whether the Rangers made the playoffs, but if they had lost both games to the Angels on Sunday, we could have been in line for a 4 way clusterfuck of 93-69 teams in the American League if Oakland took 2 of 3 from Texas and if Baltimore and New York each dropped 2 of their 3 remaining games. We’d still have a mess on our hands if those things happen, but at least the AL West is no longer at risk of being decided by a tie-breaker.

Some things never change in Pittsburgh.

With yesterday’s loss to the Reds, Tuesday November 6th will now mark the 6th consecutive presidential election since the Pirates last had a winning season. ESPN made a big deal over the fact that the Orioles are going to the post-season for the first time since 1997, but the Pirates haven’t finished within 12.5 games of the NL Central lead since 1997. If they ever make the playoffs again, ESPN will literally explode with “Since their last playoff appearance” tidbits.  Let the record show that the last time my Kansas City Chiefs won a playoff game was 3 months after the Pirates last winning season. I hate my life.

Can anyone figure out the Patriots?

With the season 25% finished, we’re starting to get a feel for most of these teams, even if it’s completely contradictory to what most people thought of them to start the season (what’s up, Arizona and Detroit?), but for the life of me, I cannot get a read on New England. At half time of yesterday’s game against Buffalo, I said to my girlfriend “Maybe the Patriots just aren’t any good this year,” to which she responded by going back to sleep, and the Patriots responded by scoring 45 points in the second half. I know the Bills defense isn’t exactly a steel curtain, but good lord. So now the Pats are 2-2 with 21+ point wins on the road against mediocre teams and a pair of last second field goal attempts away from being 4-0. But are they actually that good? I don’t know what to believe.

Michael Morse is beyond weird.

The Nationals’ beat writer tweeted earlier in the season: “I wonder what the air is like on Planet Morse” after Morse pantomimed making a catch in left-center that was clearly 50 feet behind him and landing in the center fielder’s glove. To my knowledge, he’s the only slugger who has an 80s pop song in his walk-up music rotation (and when they play “Take On Me” in the playoffs, make sure you turn up the volume and soak in the fans singing along). And the whole yoga back torque stretch he does in between swings is…something. But the ghost swing on the umpire reviewed grand slam has to be one of the Morsiest things he’s ever done.

Mike Smith and Ron Rivera should both be fired.

With 8 minutes left in the Panthers/Falcons game, Carolina took a 28-24 lead. The Falcons proceeded to chew up 3 minutes of time getting down to the Panthers 15 yard line and kicked a field goal to cut the Panthers’ lead to 1 with 5 minutes left in the game. Why? You have 3 of the best red zone threats in the NFL. I understand you still have all 3 timeouts left, but you’re 3 rushing first downs against one of the best rushing teams in the NFL away from not getting the ball back again. You have to play for the win in that situation. Okay. So it worked out when Carolina failed to move the ball 3 yards. You got the ball back with 3:16 left. Congratulations Mike Smith. We might be able to overlook that blunder. After losing 1 yard on the first 3 plays of the drive, Smith went deep into his playbook for the rarely seen “Punt the ball when trailing by 1 point with 2:30 remaining in the game” play call. At that point in time, the Panthers are averaging 5.8 yards per carry in the game and are a mere 2 first downs away from sealing their victory. And you’re just going to give them the ball. I’m sure Bill Barnwell will do a solid job breaking down the math behind these decisions, but all common sense says you have to go for it there. So they punt, and the Panthers get a first down, followed by a second first down that Cam fumbles away. Carolina is left with 4th and inches on the Falcons 45. Did I mention they were averaging 5.8 yards per carry? So, of course they punted. What the hell? It’s easier to pick up yards than at any other point in NFL history, and yet coaches have smaller balls than ever before.

I’m told the Ryder Cup was awesome aside from the end result.

There were way too many things to watch this weekend, and the Ryder Cup (and the Sprint Cup) didn’t make the cut for me. Which leads me to wonder…

Why the Dickens were there WNBA Playoffs on ESPN on Sunday night?

I guess the 2nd Angels/Rangers game was the result of a rain-out and that the MLB inexplicably chooses not to have a Sunday Night Baseball game when the games actually seem to matter, but how do WNBA playoffs supersede non-stop SportsCenter on the Sunday night of the craziest sports weekend of the year? I’m assuming Mike Smith said this was a good idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment