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View From The Press Box - Week 14 Controversy Edition

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View From The Press Box - Week 14 Controversy Edition

There is a ton to go over this week. I just did an episode of The Hard Count last night and I didn't touch on half of what I could have.

So maybe I'll get to the 'teams doing well post' next week?

Fact is, this past weekend saw more than its fair share of craziness and controversy. I've got some strong opinions on it.

Which is good since, you know, I have this column.

Ballard & Coughlin vs the Very Mean Referees

A picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes those words lie.

Actually, back up. Let me be honest. I've looked at the picture of the Ballard TD/Non-TD a ton of times. The one thing which strikes me is how easy it is to see what you want to see in it.

Video, to me, shows multiple angles where it's close, but he appears out.  I wish I could embed the video here but NFL.com still functions in the 1990s and won't allow that. If I get a chance tonight, maybe I'll pull it myself.

Here's a link though.

Multiple angles that all show a very close play where his knee appears to hit out of bounds. Maybe in bounds and out of bounds at the same time.

Looks to me, though, like it isn't a touchdown.

So then this picture emerges. And Giants HC Tom Coughlin is sick to his stomach.

Seriously, man. Get out more. Also, maybe talk to Eli about that stupid pick six he threw to Clay Matthews. THAT should make you sick.

Let's look at this picture this allegedly incontrovertible proof that the Giants got screwed.

First of all, it's a terrible angle. It's high, so we have no way of seeing if the knee is down or not. Saying anything else is just seeing what you want to see. It's too high to say it is or isn't down.

It's also straight on. A side angle might have shown the knee down in bounds but this angle doesn't. Again, if you want to see a touchdown here, you will. It's damned close.

It's not a definitive picture, however. It's a great picture because it creates controversy. It's not one that solves anything.

Hey, dismiss me because I'm on a Packers site but anyone here will tell you I'm no homer. I call them out plenty (undefeated Detroit anyone?). If it was completely obvious I'd happily call it out if just to rile the Cheeseheads up.

This is not a definitive picture. It's a great debate starter. It's a fantastic shot.

But its' beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Tebow to Jacksonville

I talked about this last night on The Hard Count but to me, it bears repeating.

Putting Tebow into Jacksonville's  huddle does not automatically change what has happened in Jacksonville.

I'm not saying it 100% wouldn't have made things better. I don't know. What I do know is, aside from jersey sales, you can't definitively say it would have been better on the field.

What has happened in Denver is a very, very specific set of circumstances.

Sure there are parallels. Both teams have solid defenses for the most part. Both have at least one good running back. Both...teams.... wear uniforms?

Listen, I get the Tebow phenomenon. It's fascinating to watch and I have to say, I'm pulling for him. Denver is making things interesting.

Will it last? I really don't know. It's fun.

The truth is, John Fox had the balls to do something nobody else would have. He looked at Tebow and rather than try to fit him into an offense that he didn't have the skills for, he fit the offense to the skills Tebow had.

I just don't see Jack Del Rio doing that. That's not a knock on JDR. Plenty of coaches wouldn't. It goes against their nature.

The NFL may be a copy-cat league but it's also a 'the way it's been done before' league. Coaches and teams get set in their ways, do what works and keep doing it until they get fired. Sometimes even longer.

Just ask Mike Martz.

I find it very unlikely that Del Rio would change what he was doing completely, in the face of all logic, the way Fox did. Hell, I'm still blown away Fox did it and this type of offense he's running should be a dream for him.

'Run the ball? Have the QB run the ball? Run the ball again you say? SIGN ME UP' - John Fox, circa any year

Even if Del Rio did change things to suit Tebow, why assume it's just as effective? First of all, more than likely Tebow is put in during his first year. Maybe the Jags hold off but let's be honest—if your premise is Tebow saves the Jags, he's not doing it on the bench. There isn't enough patience for Garrard to flounder without making a change.

So Tebow gets thrown to the wolves earlier, in a tougher division and, I'm sorry, likely gets crushed. Because again, and I'll keep hammering this home, I don't buy that Del Rio goes all Florida offense on us.

If Tebow is struggling like he did against Detroit, but all the time, how long would the Tebow-glow last for a team?

Not long, I'd wager. I believe he'd have been labeled bust after his first year.

Would Del Rio had survived that?

Is this pure, unadulterated conjecture? Sure. That's my point, it all is. There is no 100% sure truth that had Tebow gone to Jacksonville that the Jaguars would be any better off.

None.

There are too many moving parts to Denver's success to directly translate their success to the Jags.

Saying anything else is either wishful thinking or outright ignorance. Right Skip Bayless?

Flex Schedule Kerfuffle -Brady vs the Good of the League

Or to be fair, Bob Kraft vs the Good of the League.

Normally, Sunday night flex games are pretty much set about 10-12 days prior to a game. Yet we are still unsure what game we will be seeing on Sunday night for Week 15.

The odds on favorite is New England at Denver. Tebow vs Brady. Belichick vs Tebow. Wes Welker vs Tebow! Tebow, Tebow, Tebow!

All kidding aside about Tebow driven ratings, it's actually a pivotal game. The AFC East and West division titles could be up for grabs and there are tons of Wild Card implications as well.

So, no-brainer, right?

Tap the breaks, son.

CBS and Pats owner Bob Kraft have stepped in and thrown a monkeywrench into the works.

CBS protected the Jets-Eagles game (whoops) but now they want the Pats-Broncos game. Frankly, the network has no case. They already chose the game they wanted. That it's suddenly less noteworthy than another game is irrelevant.  This was the whole point behind flex scheduling.

What, every week you're going to challenge the moving match-up because it was less interesting than a week or two ago?

More intriguing are the concerns of Kraft. Mind you, Kraft is one of those owners who I feel keeps the best interests of the League in mind. He fought hard for Labor peace and by all accounts is a fair and savvy owner.

According to the Denver Post's Mike Klis, there is some concern that the teams would play late Sunday, take a late flight out of Denver and then play again on Saturday night.

You know what I say to that?

Boo FREAKING hoo.

The Thursday night games already screw plenty of teams up for that very reason. Hey, the Jets played late Sunday night and then headed to Denver on a short week for a Thursday night game.

So (allegedly) you're complaining for losing a whole DAY?

I say they flex the game to Thursday night.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (12) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Send Tom a little cheese to go with his whine. All the video replays shown during the game looked like his knee came down half in, half out... Move along Tom.

GBP 4 LIFE

andrewgarda's picture

and that's really the biggest point - the replays don't have enough evidence to overturn it. It was inconclusive in many ways.

we don't use still photos for the replays and even if we did, this one isn't perfect.

Mojo's picture

You can tell when Ballards knee actually hits the turf when it becomes compressed. In the picture above and others I've seen there is no compression yet so his knee is still above the surface. However,the video replays I've seen, the compression occurs when his knee is roughly half in and half out.

At what point in his life did Coughlin go from fierce taskmaster to whiny bitch. I know, when his job is on the line.

andrewgarda's picture

That's how it looks to me on video (damn you NFL for not letting me embed it) - and again, the picture isn't at an angle where I could have overturned it.

I have no dog in this fight, but the refs got the call right live and on replay.

I totally get Coughlin's ire - that was a soul-crushing loss. but that picture is only showing him what he really wants to see, not what is.

packsmack25's picture

Even if they get the TD, the Packers don't go into the 4 minute offense as quickly and Rodgers throws 5 TDs instead of 4. It's such a silly notion to think that anything would have changed on a play that early in the game.

andrewgarda's picture

Maybe it could have, maybe not. we have no clue. But the truth is, the call wasn't overturned and even with that picture, the refs wouldn't have overturned it. It's not definitive enough for all the reasons I said.

packsmack25's picture

I know, it just irks me that some Giants fans probably believe that had that been ruled a TD, they would have won the game. It's horrendous logic. Perhaps if that was the last play of the game and they lost by six it would make sense to think like that, but otherwise, you're just assuming too much.

andrewgarda's picture

You believe what you want to believe especially with your season on the brink.

And yeah, I'd get the hand wringing if it was the last play of the game. I've seen bad calls and non calls end seasons that way. But that early? You still recover.

PackersRS's picture

First of all, it's not that the replay doesn't show either way. Because on the field it wasn't ruled that the call standed, it was ruled that the call was confirmed. The refs have access to all angles, moreso when it's a New York replay in New York.

Not only that, but the uproar of the Giants fans is absurd. They don't need to look further than the first play of the 00:59 drive. There was evident contact with Finley after the 5 yard line (http://www.nfl.com/videos/green-bay-packers/09000d5d824c6546/Drive-of-th... . 0:26, 0:36 shows it better).

There was also a hold on Raji in the Giants' 2 point conversion (http://www.nfl.com/videos/green-bay-packers/09000d5d824be873/RB-Ware-2-p...).

And there was that fair catch that the refs simply chose to ignore, that moved the ball from the 10's to the 30's, in a drive where the Giants scored.

But the point is not to show that we were "robbed" and not them, it's to show that it's absolutely clear that they didn't get the short end of the straw in here, the game was poorly called for both sides.

The most concerning thing, at least to Giants fans, is the fact that their coach publicly put at least part of the blame for their loss on the officiating crew. That shows desperation, amateurism and lack of responsability on their part. When has McCarthy ever said something similar? Even when he has commented about poor officiating job, in the 2009 wildcard (incident much worse than this), he has always reaffirmed that the fault rested on the players and the coaches, not on the refs.

It's surprising coming from such a classy organization, but it shows pretty clearly the contrast between both, at least in terms of football personel.

It's also more and more evident that 2007 was a fluke in an otherwise tumultuous and inconsistent club.

PackersRS's picture

I think my comment was marked as spam... Well, the point was that a competent coaching staff would never put the blame, even part of it, on the officiating crew. McCarthy hasn't and it goes a long way to show the kind of control McCarthy has of the locker room and the poise and expectations McCarthy has on himself, the coaching staff and the players.

Or more simply, losers make excuses...

CSS's picture

Any reasonable coaching staff also knows a game doesn't turn on any one call. The Giants had plenty of opportunity to execute after that play and didn't.

andrewgarda's picture

+1

Giants were in it to the end. Easy to say that was the tipping point but again - Eli Manning Pick Six.

Enough said.

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