Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Botched Call?

Week 3 Results (No teams on Bye week):
36-  7:  (2-1) New York Giants at (1-2) Carolina Panthers
10-16:  (1-2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at (2-1) Dallas Cowboys
22-17:  (1-2) Jacksonville Jaguars at (1-2) Indianapolis Colts
24-14:  (2-1) Buffalo Bills at (0-3) Cleveland Browns
23-20:  (2-1) New York Jets at (1-2) Miami Dolphins (in OT)
27-24:  (1-2) Kansas City Chiefs at (0-3) New Orleans Saints (in OT)
38-31:  (2-1) Cincinnati Bengals at (1-2) Washington Redskins
  6-23:  (1-2) St. Louis Rams at (2-1) Chicago Bears
13-24:  (2-1) San Francisco 49ers at (2-1) Minnesota Vikings
41-44:  (1-2) Detroit Lions at (1-2) Tennessee Titans (in OT)
27-  3:  (3-0) Atlanta Falcons at (2-1) San Diego Chargers
  6-27:  (2-1) Philadelphia Eagles at (3-0) Arizona Cardinals
31-34:  (1-2) Pittsburgh Steelers at (1-2) Oakland Raiders
31-25:  (3-0) Houston Texans at (1-2) Denver Broncos
30-31:  (1-2) New England Patriots at (2-1) Baltimore Ravens
12-14:  (1-2) Green Bay Packers at (2-1) Seattle Seahawks

Three teams remain at 3-0: Houston Texans; Arizona Cardinals; and Atlanta Falcons. Two teams have yet to win a game: Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints. Fifteen teams are 1-2, and twelve teams are 2-1.
The most talked-about game this week was the Monday Night Football game between GreenBay and Seattle. The game came down to the last play made as time was running out: a Seahawks Hail Mary pass that went into the end zone amid a scrum of four defensive and two offensive players.

Two players, one each from Green Bay and Seattle, landed on the ground holding the ball; it was ruled a touchdown with the Seattle player maintaining possession of the ball, not an interception by Green Bay. After a lengthy review, the play was upheld.
Just about everyone except the referees and Seattle fans thought it was a Green Bay interception, which would have ended the game with Green Bay winning 12-7.

The outrage is aimed mainly at the replacement refs who called it a touchdown instead of an interception, and who missed an offensive pass interference call. The play was not reviewed by a replacement ref, but by a veteran; this veteran upheld the call.
In order for a call made on the field to be reversed, there must be clear evidence in the replay that gives cause to reverse the call. If there is not clear evidence, as there was not in this case, the call on the field is upheld. In baseball, a tie at the plate goes to the runner; in this case, the tie between offensive and defensive players holding the ball went to the offense.

What are the ramifications that make this bad call so outrageous? For one, Green Bay’s record is now 1-2, not 2-1. Seattle is 2-1, not 1-2.
One lost game does not a season make, but it can make a difference for the post-season: whether a team makes the post-season; whether they get a bye during the first round; whether they get home field advantage.

Time will tell if this one game impacts Green Bay in two ways: whether they can put it out of their mind and move on; and whether this game will be the one fans point to that impacted their post-season participation (or lack thereof).

Friday, September 21, 2012

No-Huddle Offense

Week 2 Results:
10-23:  (1-1) Chicago Bears at (1-1) Green Bay Packers
34-41:  (1-1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at (1-1) New York Giants
13-35:  (0-2) Oakland Raiders at (1-1) Miami Dolphins
27-  7:  (2-0) Houston Texans at (0-2) Jacksonville Jaguars
27-34:  (0-2) Cleveland Browns at (1-1) Cincinnati Bengals
17-35:  (0-2) Kansas City Chiefs at (1-1) Buffalo Bills
23-24:  (1-1) Baltimore Ravens at (2-0) Philadelphia Eagles
27-35:  (0-2) New Orleans Saints at (1-1) Carolina Panthers
20-18:  (2-0) Arizona Cardinals at (1-1) New England Patriots
20-23:  (1-1) Minnesota Vikings at (1-1) Indianapolis Colts
28-31:  (1-1) Washington Redskins at (1-1) St. Louis Rams
  7-27:  (1-1) Dallas Cowboys at (1-1) Seattle Seahawks
10-27:  (1-1) New York Jets at (1-1) Pittsburgh Steelers
10-38:  (0-2) Tennessee Titans at (2-0) San Diego Chargers
19-27:  (1-1) Detroit Lions at (2-0) San Francisco 49ers
21-27:  (1-1) Denver Broncos at (2-0) Atlanta Falcons
There has been talk about “parity” in the league – never before have there been 20 teams at 1-1 after Week 2, as there is this season. Six teams are at 2-0, and six teams are at 0-2. Who would have thought that Arizona and San Francisco would be 2-0, and New England and New Orleans would be at 1-1 and 0-2, respectively?

No-huddle, or the no-huddle offense, are often mentioned by the announcers. But what does that mean?

The huddle is the circle of offensive players prior to an offensive action. This is when the quarterback will tell the players what play to run in the next offensive action, whether a run or pass. The specific play called will tell the players what their assignment is; the play book, which teams guard vigorously, has the name of all the plays and what their particular offensive assignments are.

In the no-huddle offense, the quarterback doesn’t gather the offensive players into a huddle to discuss the play prior to a down. He may have given a series of plays in a previous huddle, so the offense doesn’t need to take time off the clock in the huddle after the previous play.
Because the no-huddle offense is meant to take less time off the clock, it is sometimes referred to as a hurry-up offense (the other hurry-up offense is the two-minute drill). It is used in time-sensitive situations such as when a team has a lot of points to make up if they want to win the game.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Kickoff Special

Week 1 Game:

24-17: (1-0) Dallas at (0-1) New York Giants

Defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants lost their home season opener and the first game of the 2012 season to the Dallas Cowboys.

SundayNight Football on NBC broadcast the game in a special Wednesday edition. Fears about the replacement referees were not realized; the game ran smoothly and ended on time.

Both teams had good and bad plays (interceptions, dropped catches), and at times both teams looked like it was the first game of the new season. Training camp and pre-season games don’t replicate the regular season, and the final player roster has not been in place for long.

The Giants had two conversions on fourth down versus one failed attempt by the Cowboys. The Cowboys had 13 penalties for a total of 86 yards, compared to 4 penalties for 33 yards for the Giants.

At 2:36 in the 4th quarter and needing a touchdown to tie the Cowboys, the Giants opted not to try an on-side kick; instead, they kicked off and apparently hoped to get the ball back on downs or via interception.

Neither scenario happened. Dallas kept the ball long enough to get to the two-minute warning, and then took a knee on the resulting downs to run the clock down and win the game.

The next game for both teams is Sunday, September 16: the Giants host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; the Cowboys travel to the Seattle Seahawks. With ten days to practice the current roster, both teams should look better in their next outing.

Week 1 continues with 13 games on Sunday, September 9. Two games will be played on Monday Night Football: the early game is Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens; the late game is San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders.