Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Donovan McNabb is under fire for admitting that he didn't know that a regular season NFL game ends in a tie if neither team scores in the sudden death overtime period. Donovan went on to say that he'd hate to see what happens in the playoffs or the Super Bowl which further demonstrates his ignorance as the NFL has addressed that issue as well by utilizing additional overtime periods.

Now I like Donovan McNabb. I think he's an outstanding quarterback who has been shortchanged by a lousy coach and weak front office management for most of his career. He's played behind an inferior offensive line and his receivers have always left something to be desired. You wonder how much more McNabb would have accomplished throughout his career if he played for a better organization.

That being said, I was disappointed to learn that Mcnabb wasn't up to speed on the NFL's overtime rule. It's only been in existence since 1974 and the last tie occurred during McNabb's playing career back in 2002 so it's not as if a tie is something new. True, they don't happen very often but that's because teams play much differently during the overtime period. They play differently because the first team to score in the extra period wins the game.

Donovan and his coach, Andy Reid, insist that this lack of knowledge did not influence the outcome of the game. I find that hard to believe. Had Donovan realized that there was not going to be an extra overtime period he probably would have managed the clock more aggressively. He also might have executed his plays with more tenacity. It's not uncommon for teams to let the waning seconds of the fourth quarter slip away in favor of regrouping during over time so why not protect the ball during overtime and wait for the extra extra period to start?

McNabb wasn't alone in his ignorance. Other players confessed that they were at a loss when time expired. You could see the confusion on their faces as the Bengals came out to shake hands, but McNabb is the quarterback and he's got to understand every situation. In some circles people are making too much of this, but at the same time McNabb and Andy Reid seem to be dismissing it as a minor issue. It's kind of a big deal.

Andy Reid is taking the blame for not making sure his players were aware of the circumstances and if we're being fair Andy Reid should take the blame for a lot of things. He's overrated as a coach and his team would be more successful if he wasn't there. That being said, Reid shouldn't have to teach his players about a rule 80% of the fans knew going in. The fact that the Eagles didn't know this might explain why they let a team as lowly as the Bengals play them to a 13-13 tie.

Of course the NFL should do away with the sudden death overtime provision. Generally teams play rather conservatively when it comes to big plays. Kicks and punts are short so as to minimize the potential for long returns and teams avoid taking risks on either side of the ball because all it takes is a field goal. Nobody wants to take chances and give up their own 30 yard line. More over, teams often send the kicking unit out on second or third down once they are in field goal range. It's ironic because overtime games, which are often so dramatic during regulation time, get decidedly boring in overtime. It's like topping an ice cream sundae with an olive.

Rather than subject people to sudden death, which sounds more exciting than it really is, the NFL should consider adopting a shortened overtime period. Put six minutes on the clock and play it like a regular period. You could argue that a team can easily burn up 6 minutes on a 70 yard drive that ends in a field goal but that's what time outs are for. It would be no different than the final six minutes of a half.

Another solution is the shootout method employed at the collegiate level. College games used to end in ties rather frequently since the NCAA did not see fit to utilize any tie-breaking procedure. the problem with the shoot out is that they tend to go on for a while. Perhaps putting the teams on the 25 yard line makes scoring too easy or maybe the rules should be altered to make two-point conversion mandatory from the very start. Regardless, the NFL is unlikely to take a page out of the NCAA's rule book.

Something should be done to improve the wet blanket that is sudden death overtime. The Eagles and the Bengals proved that not all close fought games are exciting. I don't know if McNabb's failure to learn the rules contributed to the tedious exercise in futility that was the overtime period but whatever the case it was a waste of time. The NFL can and should do better.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Looking Good

Like lipstick on a pig...

Brady Quinn looked pretty good in his debut with the Browns. He was limited to throwing short passes and did miss his mark a few times but, considering who he was replacing, it was a big improvement. The big problem is that the Browns didn’t seal the deal on defense. Again. So the Browns have already matched their loss total from last season which virtually guarantees that the Browns will miss the post season. Romeo Crennel, you’re fired. It hasn’t been officially announced but you’ve been out of a job since the opener, Phil Savage is just biding his time.

Do you want a binky?

Jim Tressel looked pretty good storming out of his weekly press conference when questions centered on Ray Small. Senator Jim wanted the reporters to focus on the upcoming game against Northwestern but since that’s rarely a game they were more interested in getting the scoop on the star-crossed receiver Tressel refused to release from his scholarship last year. Thanks to his big game meltdowns Tressel isn’t being given the free pass he used to get from local sports writers and criticism abounds. Rumor has it that the heat will be on Tressel to make some serious changes to his coaching staff this off season. Ohio State should get ahead of the impending disaster and send Tressel and his phony Mr. Rogers act packing. The guy is a creep and overrated as a coach.

Little Big Man

Penn State looks pretty good sitting in at number 3 in the BCS polls. Sure, people in the Keystone State are put off over Texas Tech leapfrogging the Lions in the polls but Texas Tech deserves it. They’ve put up impressive numbers and upset a very good Texas team but Penn State fans can take solace in the fact that when the dust clears their team will be ranked number 1. That’s because Penn State, who hasn’t played anybody really good all year, doesn’t have to play anybody good to finish the season. Texas Tech has to run a gauntlet playing Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor before defending its claim to BCS glory with a Big 12 championship game against, possibly, Missouri. I wouldn’t count on the Red Raiders staying perfect over four tough games in a row and Alabama isn’t going to run the table in the SEC either. So Penn State will make it to the BCS Championship game and you know what? They still won’t deserve it. They played a weak schedule and dominated a weak conference. Their biggest win was a 13-6 slugfest over the bloated Ohio State Buckeyes...not impressive.

To the question nobody asked...

Allen Iverson looks pretty good leaving Denver. The Detroit Pistons traded Chauncey Billups, the back bone of their recent success, along with a valuable reserve in Antonio McDyess for The Answer. Look, I’ll admit that AI has matured a bit in his twilight years but he still struggles with bouts of selfish play on the court. Iverson is a phenomenal basketball player but there’s a reason he isn’t sporting any Championship rings. I know that Iverson says he’s willing to make sacrifices and support his teammates but that’s all talk. We heard the same BS plop out of Karl Malone’s mouth when he went to play for the Lakers but as the season went on the prima donna who couldn’t bear to share the paint with his teammates at Utah proved to be a liability for the Lakers. The wiley veteran couldn’t even command enough respect from Shaq and Kobe to put an end to their schoolyard squabbling. So don’t expect AI to change just because his uniform did.


Manny Ramirez’s financial outlook looks pretty good. That’s because he’s a free agent who made a good case for being the NL MVP in spite of only playing a half a season in the NL. Manny is Manny. A lot of people don’t like him because he projects a selfish and lazy attitude, but the dude can hit the stitches off of a baseball. When it comes to what he does with a bat it’s hard to find somebody better. Yeah, the guy is a little goofy. He leaves a lot to be desired in the field and he’s not exactly somebody you want on base if you have to manufacture runs but there’s nobody else you’d rather have at the plate when you need to drive in a run. Manny Ramirez is a menace who actually does better in pressure situations. That’s because the same qualities that make Manny such a doofus away from the plate turn him into a machine when he’s at it. Manny doesn’t think about the circumstances, Manny doesn’t get caught up in the moment. Manny sees ball. Manny hits ball. Hard. That’s why he’s going to get paid a lot of money before the off season is over. Right or wrong, Manny’s value is measurable and his deficiencies are predictable. When the hemming and hawing comes to an end, Manny Ramirez is going to get a ton of money.