As we have been doing all season, we are breaking down things that you need to know as we head into the play-offs. As we get closer, that means that issues with team get more magnified. That also means that a lot of assumptions that have been held about the teams who are still play-off contenders become true or get exposed as just another pack of lies. So, without any further adieu, here are this week’s questions…
1) Truth or Lie: The Detroit Lions can win the NFC.
This team baffles the shit of us. All of a sudden, this team is playing with a sense of urgency, but then again, they had fucking better considering there really can’t be a serious play-off contender that loses at home to the Buccaneers. If you stop to remember what the world looked like for the Lions going into the Tampa game, at the time they only had three losses, a very winnable schedule, and the Saints and the Seahawks looking to take each other out last night. That added up to a shot for the Lions to make a run at the #2 play-off spot, but instead they turned in two pathetic showings, then won by over four touchdowns in a short week. Granted, the Packers might as well be getting their mail at the local intensive care unit, but we still can’t figure out what to make of the Lions.
2) Truth or Lie: Tony Romo can only win when somebody else does the heavy lifting.
Don’t get hung up on the fact the Cowboys won on Thursday, because that “W” proves our point. While it may be true that Romo did have a QB rating of 101.7, we really don’t know what that means other where we live 101.7 is the FM station that plays all those “Lite Rock” hits like Christopher Cross and Dan Fogelberg. If that means that Tony Romo gets his groove on to music that makes him want to break out his fondue pot and brew some sort of flavored Nescafé, then so be it. None of it changes the fact that on Thursday, it was DeMarco Murray’s three touchdowns that really propelled the Cowboys to a win they arguably didn’t deserve.
Honestly, we were laughing our asses off when as actually laughing my ass off when the Raiders forced the turnover on the opening kickoff, and their energy level seemed high enough that we thought they were going to take it and turn Dallas’ collective night into one of breaking out the Salvation Army’s red kettle and begging for a big play to turn their fortunes. The shittiest part is that you knew it was going to happen, if not because the Raiders have spent 20 years being the “Charlie Brown” of the NFL, then because Tony Romo sits there on the sidelines with that annoying smirk on his face knowing everything was going to be alright. All while the Cowboys were stumble-fucking their way towards every third down stop, the smirk stayed, and the Cowboys played like they always do.
Now, there are two ways to look at this: One is that the Dallas Cowboys are a playoff team and that J-Dub had a really good point back in Week 10 as to why when referring to both the Cowboys and the Eagles:
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Both these teams suck bilge water through a leaky straw, but one of them is going to be in the play-offs. Deal with it. Worse yet, they will get a home game as a division winner. The Seahawks blazed this trail a few years back…We’re just saying…
The other way to look at this is our main premise here: Romo only wins win somebody else carries the mail for him. If that’s the case, the the question needs to be asked if he really is worth the gross domestic product of a third-world nation like Jerry Jones thinks he is. As much as it pains us to say this, the really great quarterbacks like Tom Brady can win when they are surrounded only by the Julian Edelmans of the world. That’s why it’s so hard for us to buy Romo as that “elite” quarterback.
Don’t get us wrong…Romo has proved on multiple occasions that is one tough motherfucker; he’s played through injuries and stays in the pocket when it is clear the price for a completion is going to be tasting his own bile for three days. The problem is that even though we are sure he knows that enough people around him are going to be of a talent level to make the Cowboys a perennial Super Bowl contender (and that includes the “hot/cold” enigma that is Dez Bryant), he just keeps proving that he isn’t the type of guy who can put a team squarely on his shoulders and lead them to the promised land. to make an amazing playoff run. Since he’s 32 years old, we’re guessing that he never will be.
3) Truth or Lie: The AFC play-offs won’t matter.
Here’s what we mean by that. The NFC has plenty of teams that could honestly win the whole damn thing, but the AFC is like picking a valedictorian off the short bus. Peyton Manning becomes a tub of vanilla ice cream in cold weather, and the Broncos defense is under the impression that surrendering 30 points a game is compulsory. The Patriots can’t beat good teams on the road because they struggle with crap-tacular teams like the Texans away from Foxboro. The Chiefs look to be rounding into the form of an Andy Reid team come January, meaning Kansas City can look forward to lots of losing AFC Championship game appearances. The Colts look like a race horse running with a broken leg in wet sand. The Bengals are on official “one and done” status until they show us otherwise, and as we speak, there is not another team in the AFC with a record over .500. Face facts, it is entirely possible that either the Steelers or the Ravens end up in the play-offs, and that’s just fucking pathetic.
It’s no secret that the middle of the AFC is pretty much the cesspool of pro football, with seemingly a billion teams in between 5-7 and 6-6. Now the Ravens have the upper hand on the Steelers, and they have the inside rail to the postseason. As much as we can’t stand Baltimore, we can stand the Titans, Dolphins, Jets, Chargers, and Steelers even less. Not to mention, it doesn’t make last season appear to be such a scam if Baltimore at least makes it back the year after their Super Bowl championship.
Given all that, we feel pretty confident that we can tell you what the AFC playoffs will look like. The #6 seed will not have a winning record, the Patriots lose the minute they have to leave home, and the Chiefs lose in the Championship game against (insert team here).
4) Truth or Lie: Mike Tomlin didn’t mean to interfere with that kick return.
Did Mike Tomlin mean to step towards Jacoby Jones on Thursday Night and make him veer more towards the center of the field, causing him to be eventually tackled? Probably not, he seems like a decent enough guy and he’s a class act for a class organization that wouldn’t have that sort of behavior. But we’re glad it happened, if for no other reason that while we don’t believe that non-personal foul penalties should be called that don’t have any real effect on the outcome of the play, it is time to bring up the fact that this happens entirely too fucking much in the National Football League. While not nearly as prevalent as in pro basketball (where the calling of “away from the play” has grown to ridiculous levels), in the NFL it seems like almost all of the time these coaches are either right near the field of play or actually on it.
Now in hockey, we can’t have that problem because the coaches are essentially encased in glass. In baseball, the dugouts are so far away from the field of play that if any of those fat, old motherfuckers actually do make it between the stripes, well…that’s just impressive. But in the NFL, coaches shouldn’t be anywhere where they can’t get out of the way. Pete Carroll is 62 years old, and Tom Coughlin’s 67. Doesn’t that strike you a little weird that even in their position they’d want to be anywhere near the playing field at all? This where the lesson is to be learned: not only is it a concern about staying off the field as to not obstruct the players, it’s a basic safety precaution. Remember when an 80-year old Joe Paterno got his leg snapped a few years ago when he got flattened by a Wisconsin tight end who had been knocked out of bounds? Stop to consider that this doesn’t even need to pertain to old guys; we haven’t even mentioned the guys who ticker nearly exploded or were having “warning strokes” this season, you can see why that might be something to look at.
Coaches need to stay the fuck away from the field, period.
5) Truth or Lie: Referee Jeff Triplette is full of shit.
Yeah, we have yet another example of bad officiating, but at least this time, it wouldn’t really have made a difference. To make a long story short, at the end of the Giants-Redskins game Sunday night, Washington ran a short pass play on second down and thought they’d gotten enough for a fresh set of downs. Not only did the Redskins believe this, but so did the head linesman and half the officiating crew. That’s why they moved the chains forward and changed the down marker from “2” to “1.” First down, right?
In the senility-approaching words of Lee Cors0…not so fast my friend! Referee Jeff Triplette didn’t think the Redskins had made the requisite yardage, but for some fucking reason, he didn’t think to stop the game when he saw the chains being moved. Instead, he lets the Redskins run a play believing it was first down. Better yet, Triplette doesn’t bother to tell Redskin head coach Mike Shanahan that he’s not calling this a first down; he waits until after the play to inform Shanahan that the next play will in fact be fourth down rather than second down.
As you would expect, this causes Mike Shanahan to turn colors ever stranger colors than his normal “catcher’s mitt with cirrhosis” orange. Triplette’s explanation should have made Shanahan’s head blow off.
Referee Jeff Triplette acknowledged the down marker was moved incorrectly on the Washington Redskins’ last possession of a 24-17 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday night, but said halting play to fix the mistake ”would have given an unfair advantage…”
Speaking to a pool reporter, Triplette said: ”We signaled third down on the field. The stakes were moved incorrectly. After that play, we said it was still third down. We had signaled third down prior to the play starting. The stakes just got moved incorrectly.”
The game was inside the final two minutes, and the Redskins were out of timeouts.
”We just didn’t shut it down in that situation, because that would have given an unfair advantage,” Triplette said.
All we are going to say is this: How is it “giving an unfair advantage” to get the fucking down and distance correct? We’re waiting…