Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Monday Night Football ... "Debacle"

Football fans, particularly Green Bay Packers' fans, have been up in arms since Monday night's game. My Facebook friends have posted about it. Every newscaster on every news network has offered his /  her two cents about the end of the game between the Packers and Seahawks. The so-called "experts" on ESPN and the NFL Network have dissected every second of the last play, but the fact is - what's done is done. Nothing can be changed. Now that I've listened to everyone else's opinion, I think it's time I offer mine.

Everyone knows I am a huge football fan. I love the game, particularly because of the strategy and chess match that goes into every play. While watching a football game, I like to try to guess what the offense and defense will do next. In addition, I'm a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I have been since I was a little boy back in the '70s, when they started winning Super Bowls. Each weekend during the NFL season, I'm always hoping for two things to happen : 1) the Steelers win, and 2) the Thugs a.k.a. Titans lose. Besides those two things, I don't really care what the other 30 NFL teams do. Therefore, I feel I can offer an unbiased, objective opinion as to the events of Monday Night Football this week.

I completely agree with everyone who feels that the "scab" / replacement officials are screwing up great numbers of calls and non-calls. I have seen more blown calls this season than in any other I can remember, and I've been watching football for 30+ years. One glaring example I saw on Sunday was when Raiders linebacker, #52, Phillip Wheeler crawled to Ben Roethlisberger, after being knocked down, and then took a cheap, illegal shot at Ben's knees. Ben was obviously in pain after the play, but no penalty flag was thrown. I could go on and on listing similar "no calls" and others that were blown when made, but we would be here all day. I'm sure many of you could put together a long list, too. The NFL needs to do something to end the "official" officials lockout and do so immediately.

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Wide receiver Gol...
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24: Wide receiver Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks wrestles with cornerback M.D. Jennings #43 of the Green Bay Packers after making a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 on a controversial call by the officials at CenturyLink Field on September 24, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Now, let's talk about the game on Monday night. The common theme circulating is that the Packers lost, because the replacement officials blew the final call of the game on the "Hail Mary." Most have said that there was offensive pass interference that was not called, and the Packers should have been rewarded with an interception instead of the Seahawks getting a touchdown even though both players landed on the ground simultaneously grasping the football. Normally, when their is simultaneous possession of the football, the ball is awarded to the offensive player as a catch. However, in the video, it appears that the Packer had "possession" of the football first, when the players were up in the air, and the offensive player didn't garner his half of the "possession" until later. Someone please correct me if I've got my facts wrong here.

I have also heard many people say that even if the Seahawks were awarded a touchdown, it should have been nullified, because Packers wide receiver Golden Tate was guilty of offensive pass interference before catching the game-winning touchdown. However, no offensive pass interference penalty was called. Here's the problem with that theory - on the NFL Network's NFL AM show the other morning, the Arizona Cardinals' All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald stated that on "Hail Mary" type plays, there is a long standing "understanding" between the officials and players that "anything goes." So, the no-call on offensive pass interference is irrelevant.

Who should the blame for the Packers Monday night loss to the Seahawks be placed on ? Is is fair to place their loss just on the replacement officials ? Packers fans and others are gonna be up in arms even more, but, in my opinion, the answer is a resounding "no." I think it is completely unfair to blame the outcome of that game on one missed call or non-call. In fact, I'm not even 100% sure that the officials blew the call in regards to the reception, since possession is not established until a player is on the ground and has made "a football type move."

So, who should be blamed for the Packers' loss ? The answer is very simple - the Packers, and no one else. Why ? Well, I believe the packers are to blame for the following four reasons :
  1. Penalties - the Packers were penalized 10 times for 127 yards in the game, including 6 penalties on defense that gave the Seahawks offense automatic first downs. These 6 penalties included 3 unnecessary roughness penalties, 1 roughing the passer penalty, 1 defensive holding penalty, and 1 defensive pass interference penalty that gave the Seahawks a first down and moved the ball 32 yards down the field to the Green Bay 25 yard line late in the game. These penalties all show a lack of discipline on the part of the Green Bay defense.
  2. Sacks - the Packers offensive line allowed All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rogers to be sacked 8 times in the first half alone. Four of those were on third down. The dude can't complete passes on his back, and you are not gonna win in the NFL if you don't protect your quarterback.
  3. 2-point conversion - if the Packers convert the 2-point conversion, after their touchdown in the 4th quarter, they're playing overtime with a chance to win the game. The 2-point attempt was poorly executed.
  4. The Packers won the Super Bowl year before last. They are a championship football team. Yet, they went into Seattle and played poorly. Let's be honest - when you match up the Packers and Seahawks player by player on paper, this game should have been no contest. The Packers should have been up by multiple touchdowns in the fourth quarter to where the last play wouldn't have mattered.
So, here's what it boils down to - the Green Bay Packers only have themselves to blame for the loss Monday night. The same thing happened to them that happened to my Steelers on Sunday. They played below the level they are capable of playing at to an inferior football team in that inferior football team's stadium, and it cost them. They lost a game they should have won easily, because they played poor, undisciplined football, and didn't protect their quarterback. They deserved to lose that game just as they did. They need to stop crying on their cheese, get over it, and get ready to play the Aints .... oops, I'm sorry - I mean the Saints at Lambeau on Sunday. If they keep dwelling on the Seahawks, the same thing will happen again.

And that folks is The Sheepdog's two cents.

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