A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘NFL

Why the replacement refs made the right call in the Packers-Seahawks game

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First off, here are the two best angles of the play

Here is the sequence of events

1. Jennings intercepts the pass midflight, but initially lands on ONE foot. This is quite easy to see in the first GIF. His other leg basically goes down with the rest of his body.

2. Tate puts his hands on the ball before Jennings’ 2nd foot goes down. It’s pretty clear in the 2nd GIF that Tate at least has simultaneous possession at some point and by the lateness of Jennings’ 2nd foot hitting the ground in the 1st GIF, it’s fairly clear this is before Jennings other foot goes down.

3. Both players hit the ground. Tate is below Jennings so if anything he hits before Jennings’ other foot does.

4. Jennings wrestles the ball away from Tate again. This is IRRELEVANT, because the play is already dead as soon as the players hit the ground. It’s the same situation as a fumble getting called off because a player was down first in a normal mid-field situation. Furthermore, the rule is that if Tate has simultaneous possession at any point before the play ending (which happens when Jennings and Tate hit the ground), then it’s a touchdown regardless of whether he loses the ball after. Any offensive possession in the endzone, even if simultaneous, even if for a split second, is a touchdown.

When Jennings has “sole” possession of the ball, it’s only one 1 foot. To have real control of the ball his other foot would’ve had to come down. Put it this way, Jennings dropped the ball after he initially caught it and before Tate put his hands on it, the play would’ve been ruled an incomplete pass and not a fumble, because before his other foot came down he didn’t have control of it. If one accepts that call is an incomplete pass if he drops it, you have to accept he didn’t have possession of it before Tate put his hands on it.

The only way it’d be an interception is if Jennings had sole possession of the ball when his 2nd foot hit the ground. While I wouldn’t completely rule this out based on the evidence, if I had to call it from those 2 GIFs, I would without question give my vote to Tate having two hands on the ball before Jennings’ 2nd foot hit the ground. At the very least, it’s a close enough call that it’s defend-able the referees ruled Tate had his hands on it. And possession can’t be overturned on a review, the call on the field had to stand.

Ironically considering how bad they’ve been, the replacement referees made the right call in this game and Seattle deserved to beat Green Bay.

By Julien Rodger

Twitter: @ASFW_jrodger

Email: julienrodger@gmail (Throw me a question, I’ll get around to a weekly/monthly mailbag if I get enough)

Written by jr.

September 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Posted in Football

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Clay Matthews and the deep end of the talent pool

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Linebacker/defensive end Clay Matthews III, wa...

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Clay Matthews is a star

Clay Matthews is on top of the world. This last regular season in the NFL he emerged as a defensive juggernaut and came within two votes of winning the Defensive Player of the Year award. Come playoff time, he then led the Green Bay Packer defense to a Super Bowl ring. If the NFL had a defensive award for the entire season, Matthews would probably get the nod as the best defensive player in the league this season.

Clay Matthews has only played 2 years in the NFL. He’s about as much of an immediate star in the league as you’ll see. Consider for example, that we haven’t had an NFL DPOY with 2 or less years of experience since Lawrence Taylor almost 30 years ago. While Matthews certainly has great instincts as a football player, he doesn’t get where he is right now without freakish physical talent. A quarterback can get away without being able to move that well, a linebacker cannot. And so clearly, while spotting which players will emerge as DPOY is a bit tougher, Matthews clearly has the physical tools that should make him pretty easy for scouts to identify. And of course, the man did get drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft, so nothing to out of the ordinary there.

Clay Matthews was never a “future star”

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Why I Love Sports: Green Bay Packers

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Green Bay Packers helmet

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Watching the Green Bay Packers play the Chicago Bears Sunday was about as good as it gets for me as a sports fan. Great game, but really great franchises, and of course the right winner. As we get ready for the Super Bowl, I want to take a moment to write a love letter to what is to me the most compelling sports franchise in American history.

I want to make clear from the start: The Packers are not MY team. I’m from California, and though I do have some family in Wisconsin, the San Diego Chargers are my team…I just wish I could say all this about them.

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American Playoff Systems: Closure or Chaos?

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Created by Jason R Remy (Jayron32)

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Last week we saw the two #1 seeds in NFL lose in their first (and thus only) playoff game of the season.  Just a few weeks ago I wrote a post talking about just how good one of them, the New England Patriots, was compared with history.  Am I shocked they lost?  Not really given what I know about the NFL playoffs – it’s not uncommon for favorites to lose in the playoffs.

This event though has made a few people start thinking about the system we have and its pros and cons.  Joe Posnanski over at SI writes a great thought provoking article on the matter, its implications to the BCS, and on what playoffs mean in general.  In one line he asks:  “Is a playoff really MORE FAIR? What does fair even mean?”

Fairness in Competition = Removing Bias while Minimizing Randomness

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The 2010 New England Patriots are really, REALLY good

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New England Patriots at Washington Redskins 08...

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I know, not exactly a news flash, but I don’t think people are getting the scale of things here.  For example, this Patriots team doesn’t have near the hype behind it that the 2007 Patriots had.  It’s understandable why this is so.  After all, the 2007 Pats were the first team to go 16-0, while the 2010 Pats are merely 14-2.  The 2010 team though is playing much better going into the playoffs than the 2007 team.

Here is a table of the top teams since 1978 (when the league went to 16 games) ranked based on how much they outscored their opponents by in games 12-16 of the regular season (roughly the December games):

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Written by Matt Johnson

January 4, 2011 at 12:31 am

Cassel the Trojan Horse

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Matt Cassel, a player on the Kansas City Chief...

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The story of the year in the NFL is clearly Michael Vick.  Big star has big comeback, hard to top that.  As much as a press magnet Vick is though, Matt Cassel is a magnet for narratives like very few guys in recent history.  And while Vick can argue to have been one of those guys back when his dog fighting habits were exposed, he can’t compare to Cassel in 2010 simply by coming back.  Quite the feat for someone with such small celebrity.

All narratives involving Cassel begin with assumptions made based on the fact that he was a back up through out his entire collegiate career.  With the powerful meme that is “the system quarterback”, any backup who has success as a starter immediately creates a narrative that diminishes both his success, and the quarterbacks who have played on the same teams he has.  Cassel kicks things up another notch by literally having far greater success at the pro level than he ever did at the college level.

This initial narrative shift crossed over in 2008 when Cassel took over for the injured Tom Brady and led the New England Patriots to a solid season.  This was used to knock Brady and his record breaking 2007 season.  What was particularly odd about this line of thinking was that the Patriots actually won 5 games less than they had the previous season, and didn’t put up anywhere near the same passing numbers.  One would think that any quarterback that could claim to have improved his team by 5 games as doing something extraordinary, but that was not the dominant narrative.

Cassel is now putting up a great year in Kansas City complete with one missed game in which the Chiefs fell apart without him.  So now, it really should be clear that he’s no system quarterback.  He’s just damn good.

Meanwhile of course, the guy who beat out Cassel for starting status, and eventual superstardom, at USC (Matt Leinart) isn’t doing anything in the pros.  Kind of begs the question of whether then USC coach Pete Carroll made the right call in favoring Leinart.  Now my opinion, I’m sure Carroll had valid reasons for his choice, and I certainly wouldn’t assert that Matt Cassell at USC would have resulted in even greater success.  Cassel’s superior NFL career is undoubtedly due to some combination of luck, perseverance and attitude – none of which was found lacking in Leinart at the college level.  However, I also have a hard time believing that we’d have seen any major fall off in USC had they been forced to rely upon Cassel’s abilities instead of Leinart’s.

Getting back to Brady, one would think that Cassel’s year would have put the last nail in the coffin of the narrative of Brady as a system quarterback, but it hasn’t.  People are still using Cassel’s success in New England as a reason for why Vick is more valuable this year.  Completely bizarre given that the drop off from success with Brady to success with Cassel is actually quite a bit greater than how much Philly has improved this year now that they have Vick as quarterback.  This goes to illustrate two points:  1) Even a good new narrative “New England discovered another diamond in the rough with Cassel”, won’t totally kill off a disprove narrative immediately and completely, and 2) People really like to think that running quarterbacks are contributing far more than standard pocket quarterbacks.  With the latter point, I don’t disagree in some cases such as Randall Cunningham on the Eagles, and quite a few college QBs like Vince Young and Cam Newton.  However in general, we still see no great trend of running quarterbacks thriving consistently in the pros.

For a bit more on the Cassel/Brady/Vick triangle, check out this solid analysis.

In the end for Brady, what this season is doing, between Cassel’s success and Brady’s own all-time great level performance, is erasing question marks that could have forever dogged him in the comparison with Peyton Manning and other great quarterbacks.  If the Mannings of the world go down in history as superior to Brady it will be because they simply accomplished more, not because of the belief that any college backup could have led the Patriots to titles.

Written by Matt Johnson

December 30, 2010 at 8:29 pm