Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 16, 2006
FOOTBALL: I'll Say This Much

Yeah, my opinion counts for little enough, given how little I've seen of the NFL this year. Going into today's game, I could not have named one Bear besides Brian Urlacher. Now, I can name two - Urlacher and Rex Grossman. Not that I suspect that's a name I'll need to remember; from what I saw today, Grossman appears to be the NFL's answer to Nelson de la Rosa, a good luck charm of little practical utility.

But I'll say this: the Panthers have to be the favorites now to win it all. To do what they did to the Giants' running game and the Bears' defense in consecutive weeks on the road is just remarkable. John Fox has them playing old-school NFC football, and that will keep paying dividends.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:17 AM | Football | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Don't know much about NFL either; but Grossman's got a great future ahead of him. Chicago's defense was supposed to be unbeatable, and got ripped to shreds. Nobody noticed how effective Grossman was when he had a chance at possession, and I think this was practically his first game, certainly his first playoff game.

Posted by: jimbo at January 16, 2006 4:01 AM

Seattle and Denver in the Super Bowl please.

Posted by: Dwilkers at January 16, 2006 8:02 AM

Nice to see the Pats lose. They finally didn't recover the fumbles, get the calls, make the kicks. Good run, but enough's enough.

Posted by: seamus at January 16, 2006 11:40 AM

Mr. Manning meet Mr. Rodriguez.

Posted by: jim at January 16, 2006 1:16 PM

We've had talk in the past on baseball commentators that drive us nuts. How does Dan Marino still carry a studio job? After the Patriots had a 3-0 lead with less than 2 minutes left in the half, had the ball, had figured out how to block Dever's blitz and were 2nd and 3 at their 40 then inexcusably fumbled twice (once on a hit by the kicker) and gave up 10 points he says, "The Patriots are lucky to only be down 7." Uh, Dan they should be up at least 3, maybe 6 and quite possibly 10. They should be pissed as hell they are down 7. Does he watch these games? And Phil Simms with genius analysis such as "If they blitz you just throw it to the receiver and either he's covered or he's not." simply has to go.

Also, could the officiating in the NFL be worse?

Posted by: jim at January 16, 2006 1:22 PM

No, Jim, it could not be.

Bad & intrusive. Hardly fun to watch a game lately.

Posted by: Mike at January 16, 2006 1:34 PM

"And Phil Simms with genius analysis such as "If they blitz you just throw it to the receiver and either he's covered or he's not." simply has to go."

Heh. Did anyone else notice how bad the announcer was for the USC-Texas game (Kieth Jackson?)?

Even my wife was laughing at him, and that says a lot. At one point there was a guy running free and he goes "tackle! Tackle! TACKLE!" and she about laughed herself silly.

I've about decided that job must be a lot harder than it seems.

Posted by: Dwilkers at January 16, 2006 2:24 PM

I thought if Keith Jackson said "times out" instead of "time outs" one more time that they were just going to lead him out of the booth in the middle of the game.

Posted by: jim at January 16, 2006 2:53 PM

Keith Jackson retired a couple years ago. ABC did a nice video montage at the Rose Bowl. And he was already sloppy, now it's embarrassing. He can't see the action on the field. Most people would find that an impediment to announcing the event as it unfolds.

Posted by: abe shorey at January 16, 2006 4:56 PM

I found a great way to watch football. Baseball, too. Turn the sound down. I'm not an idiot, I don't need to be told whats going on. I have eyes. Get to listen to music while I'm at it. Try it on for size, sports fans. You might like it. Plus, it'll keep you from beating up on 80 yr old men.

Posted by: seamus at January 16, 2006 5:19 PM

Seamus you are onto something. In fact, it happened. I guess about 25 years ago, NBC televised a Jets/Dolphins game, with only the crowd sounds and the PA announcer. Today, you combine it with all the graphics, and it could really be great. In fact, then it WAS great.

However, since we are stuck with the announcers, and their base stupidity (Makes you appreciate the many good home baseball announcers, and Marv Albert with the NBA), how about an ex-official in the booth instead of the nitwits telling us what we just saw. Then, we might have found out if the interception made by Pittsburgh was actually correct inoverturning. Just becasue an ex-player, and a bunch of reporters saty it was wrong means little. I think we all know baseball more, and it's pretty clear most of us know it better than the journalists, why not football too?

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at January 16, 2006 8:03 PM

Daryl & Seamus-

I watched the no-announcer game. Jets-Dolphins, 1980. Jets won, as they always beat the 'Fins in those days. As a 13 year old, I don't remember being too impressed, though even at that age I knew it was unusual.

Yesterday, mostly because my wife and I were arguing, I watched the games with the sound off and music in the background. Thoroughly enjoyable (even considering the occasional harassment). The lack of a hack announcer and a dumb ex-jock is not a killer by any means.

Posted by: Mike at January 16, 2006 8:36 PM

Daryl, fair point about an official in the booth. Or at least someone with a better grasp of the rulebook than Aikman, who is utterly clueless. Regarding the Steeler's INT, the NFL has already admitted the overturn was incorrect. I'm not sure that will lessen Joey Porter's pending fine. It's was a rough weekend for the zebras. The TD/touchback/facemask in Chicago was ugly as well. But they got it right after the review. The NFL holds annual rules seminars for network and media personnel. Based on performance they are not well attended.

Posted by: abe at January 16, 2006 9:55 PM

Times out is actually correct, much like surgeons general or attorneys general.

Posted by: phil at January 16, 2006 11:33 PM

Or, one near and dear to my heart, courts-martial.

Posted by: seamus at January 17, 2006 9:44 AM

Knights Templar.

Posted by: Mike at January 17, 2006 9:55 AM

Sisters-in-law.

Aides-de-camp.

Posted by: seamus at January 17, 2006 11:52 AM

'Nice to see the Pats lose. They finally didn't recover the fumbles, get the calls, make the kicks. Good run, but enough's enough.'

When you dominate both on offense and defense and lose on terrible calls and mistakes - how is that good?

Posted by: ICallMasICM at January 17, 2006 12:27 PM

I'm not sure NE dominated on O and D, but they certainly played the Broncos tough. In the past, they won those games. Which was my point. NE won these last few years b/c they didn't make mistakes, or managed not to get clobbered by the mistakes they did make- they fell on their own fumbles, the refs bailed them out, etc. And, of course, they capitalized on the other team's mistakes. Its good b/c I'm not a Pats fan and its about time they lost a game the way every other team loses games at some time or other- sloppiness. Proves that Brady and Belicheck aren't divine after all. I'd always suspected as much, but friends of mine who root for the Pats seemed convinced otherwise and almost converted me. On the evidence, how could you argue, really? Now I'm safe, though.

Posted by: seamus at January 17, 2006 1:09 PM

'I'm not sure NE dominated on O and D, but they certainly played the Broncos tough. '

Total Yards 420 - 286 NE

take away the bogus interference call and Denver has 1 scoring drive over 15 yards and they got a FG.

Take away the bogus interference call and NE is ahead 3-0 at the half instead of down 10-3.

Obviously NE made mistakes that killed them but Denver didn't do much right and won. I don't know anyone who thought Brady or Belichick is divine and I live right down the road from the stadium. They were the 3 point dynasty but they were all business. The Troy Brown fumble was one of the worst plays I've ever seen.

Posted by: ICallMasICM at January 17, 2006 2:08 PM

Any team can have this kind of off game -- star QB a little off, kicker a little off, special teams fumbles etc.

Pats have managed to avoid this for two years, which is pretty amazing.


Posted by: Henry Woodbury at January 17, 2006 2:14 PM

ICallMasICm -- I'm on your page.

Two things stand out to me -- first, Denver's big blitz defense worked only because Brady was off. He can't always have a great game, but normally he hits the slants. Compare Brady's performance to Peyton Mannings, for example; on almost every Denver big blitz Brady found an open receiver and just missed -- Manning, with the kind of time in that next to last Colts drive, couldn't make a decision and got sacked twice.

Second, Pats were still in the game in the 4th quarter even after the turnovers, including the 100 yard runback on the endzone interception (Denver does deserve credit for forcing the turnover, but runbacks like that are pure luck).

The Pats have been lucky as well as good to win their two Superbowls (and their 3 of 4). This game was a kind of weird showcase of all the mistakes they've avoided in the process.

Posted by: Henry Woodbury at January 17, 2006 2:33 PM

Right, Henry. Couldn't agree more.

Posted by: seamus at January 17, 2006 5:26 PM
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