Random Thoughts 12/23/14

-I’m so tired of watching NFL coaches not know how to manage the clock.  It didn’t end up impacting the game last night, but John Fox could have cost his team a chance to win.  With 1:24 left on the clock C.J. Anderson ran the ball 27 yards to get to the Cincinnati 19.  The Broncos were down 9 and had all three timeouts left.  What the Broncos should have done was spike the ball and kick a field goal.  That would have put them down 6 with about a minute left.  Then the Broncos would have two options.  They could kick it deep and use all three timeouts to try and get the ball back with decent field position.  Or they could kick an onside kick and try and recover.  Then they could use their timeouts if they didn’t get the onside kick.  Personally I would have gone with the onside kick option to give myself two opportunities to get the ball.  Instead of all of that, John Fox called a timeout.  The next pass was intercepted and the game was over.  When Fox called that timeout he made it impossible for the Broncos to win unless they recovered the onside kick.  He simply limited his teams chances of winning.  Then the Bengals get the ball with 1:07 to play and Denver has 2 timeouts left.  So what do they do?  They run an actual play.  And it was a bit of a miscommunication and wasn’t too far from disaster.  Why in the world would you run a play?  I realize that 3 kneel downs would have resulted in there being 10-15 seconds left after Denver used their timeouts.  However, there’s no way that’s enough time to score twice.  So even if you have the punt blocked and it turns into a TD, there would be only a few seconds left.  Instead, the Bengals risked fumbling the ball with a minute left and actually giving the Broncos a chance.  I know it’s easy to sit here and second guess the coaches.  While I do have problems with calls throughout the games, I simply find clock management atrocious at the end of games.  These mistakes aren’t a matter of opinion.  I’m simply playing the odds.  If option A gives you a 70% chance to win and option B gives you a 90% chance to win, wouldn’t option B ALWAYS be the better selection?

-Sticking with the NFL, I have another bone to pick.  The NFL replay system has taken a step backwards this year.  It’s nearly impossible to have a call overturned now.  I get that the NFL wants to be 100% sure if the call is going to be overturned.  However, they need to take a step back and use some common sense.  The two that got me this week were the Jimmy Graham TD/fumble and the Aqib Talib pick six/incomplete pass last night.  In case you missed it, Jimmy Graham caught a ball right on the goal-line and appears to cross the line before he fumbled the ball.  I was watching the game and saw all the replays.  I would bet $100 that ball broke the goal-line.  Ask anyone who wasn’t rooting for anyone in this game and they’d tell you the same thing.  Was it 100% sure, maybe not.  But it was certainly 99.9% sure.  The Talib interception last night was another interesting play.  There is no doubt the ball hit the ground.  Did it help him maintain possession or did he already have control?  Tough to say.  I’d say that most fans would have ruled that incomplete.  The bottom line is that the replays have become all about being 100% sure.  How often can we really be 100% sure?  The reason most of these calls are replays is that they were close plays.  What has happened now is that there is more pressure than ever to get the calls right on the field.  Whatever the call is on the field is most likely going to be what the call ends up being.  The problem with that is officials are not calling the game that way.  A few years back the refs starting letting plays like the Jimmy Graham fumble/TD play go.  They were trained that if it was close, let the play go and we’ll figure it out on replay.  Same thing on the Talib pick.  And when they were trained that way, the NFL was overturning a lot more calls than it is now.  Fans are going to be upset either way.  Saints fans will always tell you that Graham scored and Falcons fans will tell you he didn’t.  The refs should be making the best possible call.  That doesn’t mean they have to be 100% sure.  Are the refs who are making the calls live 100% sure?  I highly doubt it.  We’re not relying on these calls instead of using the technology we have to get the calls right.  Speaking of technology, I have one more bone to pick.  Why in the world, in this age of cameras and advancements, can’t we have goal-line cameras?  Put 4 cameras in EVERY stadium that don’t move.  One on each side of the goal-line that just point directly down the line.  How many calls are there that we don’t have a great view because we don’t have that?  You’re telling me that it’s not worth each team spending a couple thousand dollars to have this?


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