The real NFL referees are back.
Here's a celebration video.
Unless you're a Packer fan. Or a fan of the Vikings (who almost lost because the refs gave the 49ers a free time out). Or good football. Or, you know, America.
I think we all still have a reason to be angry, but the problem is, it's impotent rage.
It's why, before the long overdue deal, I was rolling my eyes at the people calling for a TV boycott of the upcoming games.
It's like the folks who say you should not get gas on Tuesday to show the oil companies we mean business.
You know why that doesn't work? Because people still need to gas up their cars and then do it Monday or Wednesday or Friday. Also, the oil companies already got paid for the gas. So really, you're just screwing the gas stations.
Same with this. The NFL already got paid for the televised games. One week means nothing and let's be honest—really honest—99% of us aren't making it through ONE Sunday without football, much less multiple Sundays.
If you were going to send a message, an empty stadium would do it. Even then though, as much as the image of an empty stadium would be amazing, now you're screwing your own team.
At the heart of it, that's where the rage comes from. This last week—really the whole debacle—reminded us how little power we have.
HEY! AT LEAST WE'RE NOT HOCKEY!
Holy crap am I depressing.
Let's move on.
The New York Jest (it ain't a typo)
If you needed proof the Jets should rename themselves the Jests and change the logo to a court jester, it came this week with the report that running back/special teams guy/puker Joe McKnight will be working at cornerback this weekend.
You shouldn't need that proof, but but bear with me while I explain why that's ridiculous.
It's clear to me—and has been for some time—that McKnight on his best day is an average back. I'd argue he's better than Shonn Greene, but I might be better than Greene so that's no help.
Still, converting him to defensive back is insane. For two reasons—first that if you need cornerback help, converting a running back is a cheap way to do it. Maybe lazy too, but certainly cheap.
Go trade or get a corner off free agency.
Secondly, you tell me that McKnight has no role in the offense? YOU HAVE TIM TEBOW STEALING 15 SNAPS A GAME, HAVING PASSES BOUNCE OFF HIS HELMET AND GENERALLY NOT BEING WORTH A DAMN.
You cannot in any way tell me that Tebow has a role in the offense 15 times a game and you can't come up with ONE way to use McKnight. Especially since more than half those Tebow downs are a waste of snaps.
He hasn't done anymore than I expected him to, save disrupt the offense. The Steelers game was a great example. Sanchez is FINALLY on a roll. The offense is FINALLY moving well.
Insert Tebow, who kills the drive.
Offense is never right again.
The Jets are a joke and you know I am serious about it because you know I was born and raised a Jets fan. I'll keep cheering and hoping but when we've been reduced to this nonsense, it's a joke.
Cleveland....... is there room for a competing Factory of Sadness?
See you Sunday......
Nagler Screen Cap of the Week
Clearly I am high strung today, so in the interest of making myself and maybe other laugh we at the Press Box are instituting a new feature, gaining popularity during Transplants episodes of great Aaron Nagler expressions.
Here is today's selection.
I will take requests, except from Aaron telling me to stop.
OVERRATED: RAVENS DEFENSE
Color me unimpressed. Not to pick on Cleveland, but when the Browns are marching down the field on you by passing, not running Trent Richardson—I just don't buy you as a premiere defense anymore.
Does anyone even realize this defense is ranked 25th in the league? To hear folks talk, the answer is a resounding no.
UNDERRATED: CAM NEWTON
One day is all it took for America's love affair with the wacky sock wearing quarterback to come apart. Suddenly all the character questions and work ethic questions and ability questions come roaring back.
He was overrated a while ago because of a historical rookie year. He's underrated now because people have jumped ship quicker than they did post-iceberg on the Titanic.
He's still a good quarterback. He's having a sophomore slide. Stop overreacting. Every. Freaking. Week.
OVERRATED: ARIZONA CARDINALS
Are people..... is this really a thing? Are people really buying into this as much as they appear to be? Because suddenly I am hearing pundits say Kevin Kolb is a great quarterback. The Cardinals' offense isn't horrid.
This team is surviving on a tremendous defense. The defense is for real, I;ll give you that.
The offense is a long way from good and unless that changes they will run into a situation they cannot overcome, defense be damned.
UNDERRATED: SEAHAWKS DEFENSE
Say what you will about the abysmal officiating Monday, but the Seahawks defense is the real deal. Yet that apparently (and understandably) has been lost in the other narratives from that game and I;ve heard folks downplaying how effective the defense is, mostly because it occurred in the first half when the Packers' offensive line was terrible.
So in case you think it was all Packers, think again.
I broke down 'blame' for every sack from Monday night for the NFC North blog at Bleacher Report, but one thing I only touched on was the coverage.
The pass rush is fierce, no doubt. But the secondary was just gas on the flame that was the packers offense that half.
The defense was through the line quickly on most downs, which is why the secondary only somewhat factored into the sacks. However if you watch the game again (and CHTV folk, you don't have to, I won't make you do that) the coverage was an issue all night.
This is a better defense than many people realize.
ODDS AND ENDS
Next week this column might be a little late or very early. Why? I am glad you asked.
I will be a panelist at the digital media conference Blogs With Balls in Toronto, Canada. BWB has been going on for several years now, this being the fifth event.
I've been to one of these as an attendee, but am super excited to be there as a panelist.
The panel is Moneyballs: Measurement and Analytics in Sports Media and it's a great group of panelists.
Joining myself and moderator (and ESPNW writer) Amanda Rykoff will be Micheal Smith of ESPN2's Numbers Never Lie, Bill Squadron of Bloomberg Sports, Joe Fortenbaugh of National Football Post, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders and Tom Haberstroh who covers the NBA for ESPN.
Suddenly I'm not sure how I got on this panel, which is from 12:30-1:30 on Saturday.
If you happen to live in Toronto or within shouting distance or like sudden international air travel, come on by and if you do, make sure you introduce yourself. I might buy you a beer eh?
Also, people have asked about the Chalk Talk I did a couple weeks ago and I am dying to do more, but time has been an issue. There are a ton of paid gigs to track so it's hard to squeeze one more in. If I can find something very compelling this weekend I'll try to get it done next week.
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