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Week One Monday 10-pack

[Editor's note:  Ordinarily, I'll have some sort of an introductory paragraph or two for the Monday 10-pack.  For Week One, I went through a moment of panic after I thought I'd lost items No. 2 through No. 10, and once I recovered them I decided I'd better just get the thing published.  So I guess that's the belated introduction for this week.]

1.  “Louis Murphy rule” should never have become “Calvin Johnson rule.”

The 2009 NFL season launched with a Monday night doubleheader, in which the Raiders giving the Chargers a run for their money.  And the Raiders may have won the game but for a play that many believed resulted in a touchdown to Oakland receiver Louis Murphy — and that the officials determined to be an incomplete pass.

Though Murphy got both feet down in the end zone with possession of the ball, he was falling while doing so.  And when he landed the ball struck the ground.  And when the ball struck the ground, it moved.

Enter Rule 8, Section 1, Article 4:  ‘If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone.  If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete.  If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”

Complicating matters was the fact that ESPN’s former Monday night “B” team of Mike Greenberg, Mike Golic, and Steve Young didn’t know the rule, and thus each of them declared that after further review the Murphy play would be ruled a touchdown, on the same night that “A” team play-by-play man Mike Tirico instantly knew during the early game that a ball that touched the ground and moved during the act of making a reception in the Bills-Patriots game made the pass incomplete.  (Maybe that’s one of the reasons why the “B” team is no longer the “B” team.)

Former NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira thereafter explained on NFL Network’s Total Access that the rule had been properly applied, also calling out the ESPN “B” team:  “TV didn’t do a good job of explaining it or showing the right video.”

The rule comes from the Bert Emanuel play in the 1999 NFC title game, when a key reception from the former Buccaneers receiver was called not a reception (correctly, given the rules on the books at the time) because the ball touched the ground while in Emanuel’s possession.  The league decided moving forward to regard such plays as completed passes, but the convoluted and confusing rule, as applied, creates situations in which, to the average person, the outcome seems to be unfair.

After Week One of the 2009 season, we began referring to the Bert Emanuel rule as the Louis Murphy rule, and the Louis Murphy rule reared its head multiple times throughout the 2009 season, producing outcomes that appeared to be inconsistent and/or unfair.  In Week Two, the league defended a pair of plays in which application of the Louis Murphy rule arguably should have resulted in a ruling that the ball had not been caught because the player lost possession at some point after hitting the ground.

In one of them, Texans receiver Jacoby Jones clearly lost possession after going to the ground against the Titans.  The ruling?  Touchdown.  Nearly a year later, we still believe that there’s no difference between the Jacoby Jones play, the Louis Murphy play, and (more importantly) the Calvin Johnson play.

The question of whether a catch is a catch when a player hits the ground and at some point surrenders or otherwise loses possession of the ball proved to be even too complicated for the officials to handle.  In October 2009, referee Alberto Riveron awarded via replay review a touchdown to the Jaguars in a game against the Titans after receiver Mike Sims-Walker failed to maintain possession while going to the ground.  The league initially defended the decision.

By Wednesday of that week, Pereira was singing a different tune.

This
is an incomplete pass
,” Pereira said, “and [the referee] should
have stayed with the call on the field.”  In a show of admirable candor, Pereira explained that he possibly contributed to the blunder via an effort to explain the rule to the officials.  “I think I got the referee away from the thought of what is actually
complete or incomplete,” Pereira said at the time.

The problem arose from the “second act” exception, a provision floating somewhere in the penumbra (hey, how can we have a post that mentions Steve Young’s name without incorporate a word like “penumbra”?) of the rule.  As it turns out, a catch that isn’t a catch because it strikes the ground can actually be a catch if at some point in the process of making the catch and falling to the ground and then rolling on the ground and otherwise being on the ground a “second act” is made, such as a lunging of the ball forward with the hands.  That “second act” exception gave Panthers tight end Dante Rosario a touchdown catch in Week Two against the Falcons, and it also was implicated in the biggest game of the year, the Super Bowl.

With a touchdown that gave the Saints a five-point lead in the fourth quarter, New Orleans opted to go for two.  Lance Moore caught a pass near the goal line, was falling while doing so, managed to push the ball over the front of the end zone while falling, and then lost possession when he finally hit the ground.

Notwithstanding the ruling way back in Week One or the plain language of the rule, Moore was awarded a catch — and the Saints were awarded two points.

Said Pereira at the time:  “By rule, when a receiver with possession of the ball is in the act of
going to the ground and performs a second act by reaching out to break
the plane, that completes the process of the catch and the ball is dead
when it breaks the plane.”

The problem is that, although the league began the explanation with the words “by rule,” there’s nothing in the rule book that codifies the concept of the “second act,” or that attempts to provide meaning or contours to it.  And so, while the Saints’ two-pointer that shouldn’t have been became moot when Saints cornerback Tracy Porter took a pass from Peyton Manning the other way, pushing the seven-point lead to 14, the Lance Moore non-catch catch became forgotten.

As Tony Dungy of NBC’s Football Night in America told me last night, the decision still had significance, since the mentality of defending a five-point lead is much different than the mentality of defending a seven-point lead.  Indeed, if the Saints had been up by only five, perhaps Porter wouldn’t have made the bold decision to jump a route — given the potential game-changing consequence of guessing wrong.

So the rule — with its vague construction and its non-existent (at least in writing) “second act” exception cried out for change in the offseason, especially since three key members of the Competition Committee (Rich McKay of the Falcons, Jeff Fisher of the Titans and Bill Polian of the Colts) saw their teams victimized by the rule as currently written.

Amazingly, the league left it alone.

And so, in Week One of the 2010 season, the Bert Emanuel rule that became the Louis Murphy rule that became the Lance Moore has become the Calvin Johnson rule, to the chagrin of Lions fans everywhere.

Meanwhile, Pereira (now with FOX) defended Sunday’s decision — without accounting for the possibility that Johnson’s affirmative placement of the ball on the ground (after both feet and his buttocks were on the turf) with the hand in which he possessed it could have been or may have been a Lance Moore-style “second act.”

As evidenced by this opening entry to the premiere edition of the 2010 Monday 10-pack, the rule has gotten way too complicated, and the current process has created a situation in which the visceral know-it-when-you-see-it sense that a pass is complete has taken a back seat to the application of a written rule (and an unwritten exception) that produces inconsistent results.

The league should have refined the rule in the offseason.  And if the league had no desire to do so after it popped up during crunch time of the Super Bowl, we’re not sure that the rule ever will be changed.


2.  What is Randy’s strategy?

Lost in the epic Randy Moss post-game rant following a 14-point win over the Bengals is a bigger question.

What is Moss trying to accomplish?

His motivation isn’t clear.  One one hand, he says he doesn’t care if he’s liked.  But there’s a chance that the whole thing flows from frustration with his belief that he isn’t liked.

It also could be part of a broader strategy to:  (1) get a new contract; (2) get enough balls thrown his way to make him marketable when he becomes a free agent; or (3) force a trade to a team that will sign him to the long-term deal he wants.

Still, we think he’s only asking for trouble by taking a public stand.  Coach Bill Belichick surely isn’t pleased with the distraction Moss provided after a satisfying Week One win over a defending division champion.  More importantly, owner Robert Kraft has to be concerned about the prospect of signing to a new contract a man who seems to be inching closer and closer to the kind of open disrespect that has made it difficult if not impossible to get guard Logan Mankins under contract.

For now, we don’t believe Moss has a plan — and that he merely allowed on Sunday his emotions to take over.  He likely didn’t appreciate the reaction to his comments from last Monday regarding the lingering dissatisfaction with his contract, and it was his first chance after the first game of the season to make his feelings known.

It’s also unknown what the Patriots will do.  Some think that Moss has danced dangerously close to Logan Mankins territory.  If Moss has insulted Kraft and/or Belichick, the decisions ultimately made could be less about the best interests of the franchise and more about sending a message to Moss.

3.  Vikings could regret draft-day intradivision trade.

With all the uproar regarding the decision of the Eagles to trade quarterback Donovan McNabb to their twice-a-year rivals in D.C., another April trade involving two teams in the same division has gotten far less scrutiny.

With the 30th pick in round one, the Vikings opted to slide down four spots, giving the selection to the Lions.  And the Lions picked running back Jahvid Best.  And Best is now the starting tailback.  And Best scored two touchdowns in his NFL debut.

The good news for the team that allowed the Lions to land Best is that the rookie gained only 20 yards on 14 carries, which translates to an average of 1.4 yards per try.

The better news is that, when the Vikings face the Lions and Best in 13 days, they likely won’t have quarterback Matthew Stafford, which potentially will put even more pressure on Best and the running game.

Still, if Best helps pull the Lions out of their decade-long funk, the Vikings can blame themselves of helping to make it all happen.

4. Hines Ward could end up smitten with Dixon.

The Steelers, playing Steelers (go figure) football, churned out an overtime win against a Falcons team that will win its fair share of games in 2010, and possibly more.  The victory, on a walk-off run from Rashard Mendenhall, gives a team that has suffered through a long offseason a much-needed shot in the arm.

Receiver Hines Ward, who racked up more than 100 yards via passes thrown by interim starter Dennis Dixon, had some strong words in the days prior to the game for Ben Roethlisberger, who has been suspended for four games under the Personal Conduct Policy.

Explaining that “we’re the ones that have to deal with” the consequences of Roethlisberger’s absence, Ward offered up this potential question Ben will have to ask himself:  “[W]hat happens if they have success without me?”

Let’s expand on that for a second, not from the perspective of what Roethlisberger will ask himself, but what Ward and other players eventually may be wondering.  What if they go 4-0?  Should they stick with the guy who guided them through the murky early-season waters?  Or should Roethlisberger automatically reclaim the job he temporarily lost not because he pulled a Wally Pipp?

That’s why coach Mike Tomlin declined last week to tell Adam Schein and Rich Gannon of Sirius NFL Radio that Roethlisberger will get his job back, no matter what.  Tomlin knows that he needs to factor the mood of the locker room into his ultimate decision.  And Tomlin won’t know the mood of the locker room until the first four games have been played.

Here’s the key — with more than 100 yards gained and a win at home against a good Atlanta team, Ward at a minimum will be keeping an open mind as to which guy he prefers until after the four-game suspension has been served.  If nothing else, the uncertainty will help to ensure that Roethlisberger gets the message that he truly needs to change his ways.

5. Broncos, Steelers take advantage of non-timeout timeout.

The rules regarding replay review contain a donut hole that two teams, intentionally or otherwise, exploited on Sunday.

In the Broncos-Jaguars game, a third-down attempt by Jacksonville came up short.  The home team then decided to go for the conversion on fourth down.  Broncos coach Josh McDaniels threw his red flag, requesting a replay review of the spot of the ball following the third-down play.

The only problem?  The spot of a ball on a play that doesn’t involve a first down isn’t subject to review.  But the maneuver didn’t cost McDaniels a time out or one of his challenges.  Most importantly, the Denver defense got an advance look at the arrangement of the Jacksonville offense, which potentially helped the Broncos stop the Jaguars.  Which the Broncos did.

In the Falcons-Steelers game, Atlanta came close to a first down on a third-down try, while trailing 9-6 late in the game.  Falcons coach Mike Smith decided to eschew the field goal and go for a first down that could have delivered a win in regulation.

But Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin threw his red flag, securing a non-timeout timeout while the officials explained to Tomlin that the play can’t be reviewed.

Smith developed a case of cold feet during the break, and he decided to take the field goal.  The game then went to overtime, and the Steelers won in the extra session.

The lessons are clear.  Every head coach should be prepared when the opposing offense comes up short on third down and plans to go for it on fourth down to throw the red flag.   Likewise, every head coach should be prepared to change the play and/or the formation after the defense has taken advantage of the non-timeout timeout trick that the rule book currently provides.

6. Solidarity isn’t solidarity without, you know, solidarity.

In theory, the union’s decision to display solidarity prior to every game makes sense.  The players generally are assembled on the edge of the field for the National Anthem, and all they have to do is walk out onto the turf and raise a finger.

In practice, the gesture could be doing more harm than good.  Solidarity doesn’t truly exist unless every player on every team does it, and the fact that five of the nine early games didn’t include the gesture shows that the union has a long way to go to get every player to care enough about the cause to simply walk a few steps and put a finger into the air.

If they won’t do that, would they ever stand firm in the face of a potential lockout?

The fact that fans booed the demonstration in Houston makes the effort even more problematic going forward, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the teams playing in either or both of the Monday night games will choose to copy the gesture.

7. Throw out Week One.

We say the same thing every year at this time, which we like

because it requires no original thought.

The results of the first week should be ignored.

Though the outcomes may be very relevant when the time comes to apply tiebreakers, a loss means only that the team will be no better than 15-1, and a win means that 1-15 is the worst-case scenario.  Teams don’t know how much stock to put in a win or how much to fret about a loss because the victory may have come against one of the worst teams in the league — and the defeat may have occurred at the hands of a juggernaut, bitch.

Last year, for example, the Vikings got rolling with a win in Cleveland, against a Browns team that plunged to a 1-11 start.  This year, a five-point loss in the Superdome on the night the Saints raised the banner could end up being a rare blemish on an otherwise strong season for Minnesota.

Even for a team like the 49ers, losing to a division rival on the road doesn’t mean that all is lost.  Eight years ago, the Patriots went to Buffalo in Week One, and New England ended up on the wrong side of a 31-point shutout.  Five months later, the Patriots held high another Lombardi Trophy.

Though San Fran’s 31-6 loss to the Seahawks doesn’t put the Niners on track for Dallas, it’s not the end of the world.  Instead, it’s merely the beginning of a 16-game marathon in which there will be highs, and there will be lows.

8. Alex Barron did the right thing.

It’s easy (and fun) to criticize Cowboys right tackle Alex Barron for the play that turned what appeared to be a last-second Dallas win into an 0-1 record against a team and a quarterback against whom the Cowboys went 5-0 in 2009.  But here’s the reality.

Barron did the right thing.

Once it was clear that Brian Orakpo of the Redskins was going to beat Barron and then prevent Tony Romo from having a chance to throw a touchdown pass that would have (with the extra point) delivered a victory, Barron decided that it made more sense to hold Orakpo and take a chance on getting flagged than to let Orakpo wipe out Romo before he had a chance to throw the ball.

Then again, there’s also a chance that Orakpo mistakenly believed that the Cowboys would have merely been pushed back 10 yards and that they would have had another crack at the end zone, a proposition far less erroneous than believing regular-season games can’t end in ties.

Either way, if the referee had either not seen the holding or had decided in that split second not to throw a flag that proved to be the difference between a win or a loss for both teams, the Cowboys would have won.  If Barron hadn’t held Orakpo, the Cowboys would have lost, anyway.

9. Titans should forget about Haynesworth.

Now that the Redskins have completed Week One, they can revisit the question of whether defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth will be traded.  Last week, the Titans emerged as the favorite to bring the big fella back home to the place where he played college football and where he spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career.

Last night, Haynesworth appeared to be miffed (even after the win) during and after a game in which he participated in 16 plays.

Before the Titans continue their pursuit of Haynesworth, they need to ask themselves whether they really want him.  After a 38-13 thumping of the Raiders in a game that many believed would be much closer than that (in fact, some of us thought that the Raiders would even win), the Titans may decide that seven years of the mercurial defender who tends to play much better when chasing money and not so well once he has it are more than enough.

10.  Eagles need guidance when it comes to concussions.

On Sunday, Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley suffered an obvious concussion, which left him as woozy and unstable as the fictional Philly boxed after 15 rounds with Apollo Creed.  The video is disturbing; the team’s decision to allow Bradley to return to the game is shocking.

In the same game, new Eagles starting quarterback Kevin Kolb suffered what the team initially described as a “jaw” injury.  He returned to the game.  Later, the team decided he had a concussion.

Only after the two players failed to come out of the locker room at halftime did the Eagles use the dreaded “C” word.

Following the game, coach Andy Reid defended the Nick Riviera-inspired decision to let the men play after suffering head injuries.

“They were fine,” Reid said, per Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  “All the questions that they answered and the things they did with the docs registered well.”

(Little did we know that the correct answer to the age-old question of “how many fingers?” is in fact “Tuesday.”)

I’m no doctor (and the patients I consequently don’t have should consider themselves blessed), but concussion symptoms typically don’t manifest themselves with a time lag.  When the bell is rung, the bell immediately rings.  And it was obvious from the images of Bradley stumbling to the ground that something was wrong.

The Eagles and their doctors should consider themselves blessed — and lucky — that Bradley and Kolb didn’t suffer another head injury after Dr. Nick dubbed the condition “happy face” and sent them back in.

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75 Responses to “Week One Monday 10-pack”
  1. D wins games says: Sep 13, 2010 11:16 AM

    NFL should by now be familiar with the 10 guys in the bar rule. If all 10 think it is a catch, then it should be a catch. If the rule says it isn’t, change the freaking rule. Same with tuck rule nonsense.

  2. Jack Acid says: Sep 13, 2010 11:18 AM

    There will be plenty of Week 1 mirages shaking out by Week 2. That’s the best part about Week 2.

  3. rfetters says: Sep 13, 2010 11:19 AM

    My one question is if Calvin Johnson’s TD was called back, why was this catch considered a catch in the Superbowl?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J0_WL06AAc&feature=related

  4. crazyguy says: Sep 13, 2010 11:20 AM

    “Throw out Week One.”
    Really? Then that would make week 2… er, week 1. Would we have to through that one out too?
    Just like in everything else, there has to be a start and a finish. Week 1 is the start and you’d better have your act together otherwise someone named Arian is gong to run all over your arses.

  5. RAMROD says: Sep 13, 2010 11:20 AM

    I wasn’t going to comment and I realize that my words will fall on deaf ears… BUT…
    “What if they go 4-0? Should they stick with the guy who guided them through the murky early-season waters?”
    Another ridiculous, pot stirring hypothetical that will never EVER happen.
    Yea, they’re going to stick with the guy that MANAGES the game AS opposed to WINS it.
    It’s insane how stupid you are.

  6. CYGNUS X-1 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:25 AM

    since you used your amazing sway over the nfl to get them to change a rule that nobody but you wanted changed(ot) how about you lobby the league to change this supid rule that anybody with a brain can clearly see needs changing?

  7. Citizen Strange says: Sep 13, 2010 11:26 AM

    Catch the football and hold it in your arms until you can hand it to the ref when he is done signaling for the touchdown. Anything else and you get a $100,000 fine.
    — Head Coach Citizen Strange

  8. Holeinone09 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:27 AM

    Mike, in your point 4 about your comments about Hines Ward and Ben, today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ward was reported to say about Dixon: “I’m proud of him. He played his tail off,” Ward said of Dixon. “I know Ben was home cheering for us. He’s still our man. But he’s not with us right now. Dennis is filling in in the captain’s role and trying to keep this ship going.”
    He clearly affirmed his support of Ben, and that Dixon is filling in on a temporary basis. Did you watch the game yesterday? No offense to Dixon, but he is no where the QB that Ben is right now. Not many are. Please don’t make up controversy where there should be none.
    GO STEELERS!!

  9. Hal Briston says: Sep 13, 2010 11:28 AM

    Easy way to close the loophole on #5: Throwing the red flag means using the red flag. If you throw it when on a non-reviewable call, TBF, you lose a challenge.
    A coach with a challenge in his pocket in the waning seconds of the game might still pull this move, but it’ll all but eliminate it otherwise.

  10. kravon says: Sep 13, 2010 11:30 AM

    I dont think many people thought the Raiders/Titans game would be close, except Florio.
    1-0 on the Survivor Pool.
    Kravon
    PFT Charter Member

  11. Codebeard says: Sep 13, 2010 11:31 AM

    The Calvin Johnson call is all on Johnson himself. The fact that there’s even a debate as to whether or not dropping the ball was a “second act” shows that it was questionable at best. Make it definitive. Hold onto the ball, lift, then spike. He fell to the ground and dropped it all in one motion. Maybe he was spiking/dropping it in celebration, maybe the ground forced the ball loose, none of us can tell for sure (and you’re full of crap if you say otherwirse), so it’s all up to interpretation. Since it’s not certain, Johnson is to blame. He shouldn’t have to have a ref devine what he was trying to do when he lost control of the ball, period. The guy is being paid millions of dollars to run around and catch a ball, you think he would be able to hold onto the ball long enough for the ref to actually signal the touchdown before celebrating.

  12. pt8106 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:32 AM

    I think you’re #9 is misleading. I have been following this pretty closely and everything I have read indicates that the Redskins initiated the talks with the Titans. The Titans can’t continue a pursuit that they never started. They listened when the Redskins called and told them what they would be willing to give up for him and the Redskins didn’t like what they were told. Hopefully, now that we’ve seen that the Titans can do QUITE ( albeit it was against the Raiders) well without him, they will tell the Redskins “Never Mind” when they call to accept the 4th round pick they were offered.

  13. DasBoot504 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:33 AM

    First off, F@#K YOU FLORIO and TONY DUNGY. Lance Moore’s catch never hit the ground after the catch and the initial contact with the ground. It hit the ground after his second act of stretching the ball across the goal line and the ball was kicked out of his hands after it had already broken the plane. The play was correctly called.
    Calvin Johnson’s grab was nothing like the two-point conversion in the SuperBowl b/c he lost the ball due to his own carelessness. Nobody kicked the ball out of his hand. He was one handing the ball and it hit the ground, he let go, plain and simple. No second act. Just him going up making the grab and coming down and not shielding the ball from the ground.
    Trying to make a story out of nothing. Next time he goes up for a ball bring it into his body and there won’t be any controversy. With that said I had Stafford on my FFL and would’ve loved the TD to stand but right is right.
    Oh yeah, to Florio and Dungy, Viking still lost and the Colts are still choke artist, and both of you make your careers on the coat-tails of others.

  14. pft rocks says: Sep 13, 2010 11:38 AM

    What has happened to Lleweland?

  15. lawdjayee says: Sep 13, 2010 11:38 AM

    As you said, the biggest problem with the “going-to-ground” rule is that it creates different standards for runs to the goal line (whether preceded by a handoff or pass) and passes into the end zone. A runner or receiver having established possession may score a touchdown by merely appearing to cross (cough)(Roethisberger)(cough) the “plane” of the goal, even if the ball is knocked out (as it often is) after “crossing” the “plane”; but a receiver catching the ball in the end zone must not only get two feet down, but also clearly retain possession for far longer than the instant it takes to cross the plane.
    What the NFL won’t do, and should, is reexamine their whole concept of the end zone, get rid of the bogus “plane” which is a ridiculous abstraction from a game which focuses on inches of ground. And they should go back to the pre-1999 rules requiring receivers to keep the ball off the ground to establish possession, which will allow them to get rid of the “go to ground” rule put in place to clarify the post-1999 rule.

  16. Steelvegas says: Sep 13, 2010 11:39 AM

    Florio,,if u truely believe that steeler players would rather have Dixon over Ben then u really have no clue what ur talking about. Did u watch the game??? The steelers can win a few games with Dixon, but they won’t go far with him.They need BEN and the players know it!!!

  17. Bech72 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:40 AM

    Barron did the right thing? How? Yes, it does make sense to hold if you’re beat, but not when there is less than 10 seconds on the clock; every player should know about the 10 second run off.
    And let’s be straight, Barron didn’t hold because he thought he was beat; the holding began as soon as he made contact with Orakpo.

  18. benh999 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:42 AM

    rfetters,
    He maintained control throughout the catch with two feet in and the ball in the endzone. By the time it had been kicked out, it was already a TD.

  19. dlmcc0909 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:44 AM

    That completion rule should be changed. If you come down with the ball inbounds and you arent juggling it around, it should be a catch. End of story. Adding any more details to it or rules turns it into the disaster it is now. Its a joke
    It doesnt matter if the Steelers go 4-0 and blow everyone out by 40 points each game. Ben has 2 Super Bowl rings and is in his prime. He makes big plays and is fearless. You dont sit guys like that because Steamin Willy Beamin comes in and holds the line for a few games. I wouldnt care what Hines Ward wants or thinks

  20. Maltese Raider says: Sep 13, 2010 11:44 AM

    This is actually a VERY good article and should be presented to Roger Goodell and the NFL. Very nice research Florio.
    I have to give credit where credit is due.

  21. jmorand47 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:46 AM

    I have to admit, I’m losing confidence in the system. I really don’t know what a touchdown is anymore. How could Wes Welker’s 2nd TD be a touchdown, but Calvin Johnson’s not be? I just don’t get it.

  22. Meldog says: Sep 13, 2010 11:49 AM

    The solidarity thing was Booed in Buffalo too.

  23. steeelfann says: Sep 13, 2010 11:50 AM

    Mike,
    Maybe just go up and egg Roethlisberger’s house. Get it out of the way.
    I think Hines will love getting Ben back and getting passes, ya know, on the money.
    So, 2 super bowl trophies in 6 years for Ben, numerous comebacks, playoffs, get stats, wins, etc.
    But we will start a controversy for a shakey QB that has 2 careeer starts to overtake a potentiol hall of famer.
    Stop it.

  24. egypt123 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:52 AM

    You’re an idiot, Florio, if you can’t tell the difference between Jacoby Jones’s TD call and Murphy’s TD call. Do we really need to explain it again!!?? Jones caught his pass IN THE FIELD OF PLAY (not in the endzone), and thus, his was treated like a running play where he only had to have control of the ball until it crossed the plain of the goal line.
    Not that I agree with the rule, and honestly think it sucks. Murphy and CJ both had valid TD’s, IMO. But, if you can’t tell the difference between the calls, you’re frickin stupid and/or blind.

  25. KD says: Sep 13, 2010 11:53 AM

    1-800-DOCTORB. The B is for Bargain…

  26. seaner44 says: Sep 13, 2010 11:54 AM

    @Das Boot,
    Obviously you pay close attention to the games considering Shaun Hill was playing QB at the time of the pass… get your facts in order before you start cursing othere people out

  27. Buffalo Hogan says: Sep 13, 2010 11:55 AM

    As a Bills Fan, Florio can you work with us to throw out weeks 1-16???
    we seem to do real well in week 17, when we play our starters against their 3rd stringers.

  28. 1NationRaiderNation says: Sep 13, 2010 11:57 AM

    what the tuck is going on with the nfl…they have rules for rules that rule out other rules. So in essence they can control the outcome of anygame at anytime, because they have a rule book that is 300 pages of contradictions, and justifications for incompetence.
    A touchdown is a touchdown. The Raiders got hosed last year on opening night, but the lions got bent over big time yesterday. Shame on the nfl.

  29. Jared Allen's Shart Stain says: Sep 13, 2010 12:06 PM

    Florio, when you find yourself photoshopping yourself and Dixon’s heads onto a gay porn picture, you will know it’s time to pull back a little, because the infatuation is getting weird.

  30. Maximus says: Sep 13, 2010 12:07 PM

    Well if the criteria was doing a second act then that interpretation applies to both the Calvin Johnson play and the Louis Murphy play.
    In my opinion, if you’re in the endzone with the ball in two hands and it’s not being juggled, the play is over, touchdown. Louis Murphy was wrestled to the ground after clearly catching the pass. PLAY OVER.
    Same with Johnson. He had obvious control of the football in the endzone – IN THE ENDZONE. Touchdown.
    How is that different than guys who dive for the pylon with the ball and then lose the ball after breaking the plane. They have possesion at some point in the endzone. Touchdown.

  31. PFTiswhatitis says: Sep 13, 2010 12:07 PM

    “More importantly, owner Robert Kraft has to be concerned about the prospect of signing to a new contract a man who seems to be inching closer and closer to the kind of open disrespect that has made it difficult if not impossible to get guard Logan Mankins under contract.”
    Moss was not disrespectful and Mankins has apologized to Kraft. He also said he would apologize in public when he signs an agreement either with the Pats or another team.
    Other than that, Randy is making close to $10 Million this year and should just STFU already.

  32. redrum87 says: Sep 13, 2010 12:12 PM

    Mike I feel you on the Murphy law but what you and Dungy forget is a Colt kicked the ball out I know Dungy is a hater because the saints beat the colts and you are as well because they beat your Vikings but you both need to remember a Colts player kicked the ball out of Moore’s hands as he was trying to cross the goalline.
    I love how that get’s left out.

  33. va4favre says: Sep 13, 2010 12:13 PM

    Hey Florio, I thought you were good today on Morning Joe! Three quick comments: I totally agree with your comment on the Vikings and the Saints. I thought tht Vikes would be blown out with their injuries and rustiness, but it did not happen. I think it might be their toughest game all regular season. That is why I was surprised that Rodgers and the Pack almost let the game slip away since they are already wearing their Cowboy attire for the SB. Lastly, you may be right about Best, but Cook looked really good before he was injured.

  34. Notoroius B.U.G. says: Sep 13, 2010 12:14 PM

    LMAO @ #3
    1.4 AVG vs. Bears.
    0.4 AVG oncoming vs. Vikes

  35. Gautam says: Sep 13, 2010 12:22 PM

    they should actually charge a team with a timeout if they throw a red flag on non-reviewable plays
    it is ridiculous that the head coach of a team isn’t aware of what can and what cannot be reviewed

  36. joelvis72 says: Sep 13, 2010 12:23 PM

    Dungy and his Nosferatu ears are still harping on the Super Bowl.

  37. Bob Nelson says: Sep 13, 2010 12:30 PM

    Are we not getting away from the root of the word touchdown?
    When football began, players touched the ball to the ground in an act called the touch down.
    Back in the 70′s it became much more enthusiastic when the ball was touched down aggressively in what was called the spike.
    Yet now the NFL is so far from it’s roots that a touching the ball down in the endzone is an incomplete pass and not a touchdown.
    Traditionalists cringe in painful disgust.

  38. The Black Cat says: Sep 13, 2010 12:30 PM

    What was that crazy crack about Orakpo not knowing the effect of a 10 yard penalty? That made no sense at all.

  39. MNRunLeft says: Sep 13, 2010 12:34 PM

    Rather than simple take a challenge away like Hal suggested, penalize a team 5 yards if the coach challenges a non-reviewable play. It’s essentially a delay of game so why not call it like the penalty?

  40. presarc says: Sep 13, 2010 12:49 PM

    Calvin Johnson didn’t have a second act? I’m sorry, this is the line everyone is saying and it is T O T A L BS. He caught the ball 10 feet above the ground, landed violently on the ground on his left hip, and stretched the ball outward, turning to brace himself, with the ball, to get up. The whole process was probably 2 seconds long total.
    The Lions got jobbed. It it were the Cowboys, Patriots, or Jets, this would be very, very different, and everyone knows it.

  41. chargerrich says: Sep 13, 2010 12:50 PM

    The rule was applied properly, but the rule is stupid… Calvin caught the ball CLEARLY and brought it down CLEARLY and the Lions should have been awarded the TD. I wont say they should have won, because they suck and Cutler probably would have driven them down the field in the 20 or so seconds left.

  42. pakrguru says: Sep 13, 2010 12:55 PM

    You’re right…we should definitely throw out Week 1.
    Funny though…I heard a stat last week that went something like this:
    Teams that are participants in the Super Bowl are something like 72-12 in Week 1, while only a handfull of teams that lost in Week 1 have ever played in a Super Bowl.
    All 16 games count equally, but some are apparently more equal than others.

  43. Goetta-Head says: Sep 13, 2010 12:56 PM

    Thank you for number 7
    Sincerely,
    The Bengals Fans

  44. tinkletinkleonyourstar says: Sep 13, 2010 1:00 PM

    I like the Nick Riviera reference.
    “HI EVERYONE! I’M DR. NICK”

  45. Frank The Rat says: Sep 13, 2010 1:03 PM

    So you say the Lance Moore Catch shouldn’t have been a catch. And you say this after posting the rule.
    Enter Rule 8, Section 1, Article 4: ‘If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”
    The Ball never touched the ground after Lance hit the ground. He regained control prior to the ball getting kicked out. Once he regained control and he was across the plane, the ball is dead, 2 point conversion. Its no different really then a player extending the ball to score a TD and after breaking the plane of the goal line a defensive player knocks the ball out. Its still a TD. The play is dead once the ball breaks the plane. If you are going to post the rule, at least understand the rule.

  46. Bing253 says: Sep 13, 2010 1:07 PM

    On the 49ers thing they play the Saints next week so they could be 0-2 which really hurts their chances of making the playoffs-they got destroyed by the Seahawks

  47. umrguy42 says: Sep 13, 2010 1:09 PM

    As a Rams fan (and thus, formerly subjected to Alex Barron’s penalties), I agree with Bech72 – I don’t think there was any “consideration” to Barron doing the holding. I doubt there is in MOST cases when the talking heads say “it was a good penalty to take” – I’d like to hear whether a defender really takes 2 seconds to analyze “hey, if I interfere with this guy right now, they only get X yards and a first down, versus them getting a TD”, or if they think “he’s got me beat, I better grab him!”
    In Barron’s case, had his holding NOT been seen, I’m pretty sure it would be another example of the old adage “even a blind squirrel will find acorns occasionally” (or however that goes)… except it WAS called, so it’s just another case of “Barron being Barron the drive killer”….

  48. njhitman says: Sep 13, 2010 1:10 PM

    What nothing about Batgirl and her bitch Robin . How they left the field before the fist half ended and went into the lockerroom to wipe each others tears

  49. Popeye says: Sep 13, 2010 1:13 PM

    you are like a jedi…you can tell romo was getting sacked and there was no way romo would have avoided it……amazing powers you have

  50. LowVoltage says: Sep 13, 2010 1:14 PM

    The bigger significance of the 49ers loss to Seattle is that it has caused internal chaos in the 9ers organization. Smith is publicly calling the coaching staff bumbling morons, while the coaching staf is claiming Smith and Crabtree stunk it up. This wasn’t just a simple loss.

  51. JimmySmith says: Sep 13, 2010 1:17 PM

    Rule 3 is just plain dumb. First of all, its a draft pick, who knows how those things turn out. You didn’t look at the reverse side of the deal, what did the Vikings get in return for giving up the #30 pick and lastly, do you really think one player is going to make a difference for the Lions. Exhibit A on my side of the arguement is Barry Sanders, little good it did the Lions for a lot of years. If the Vikings don’t beat the Lions, Childress should be fired the very next day.

  52. Cdiggy says: Sep 13, 2010 1:19 PM

    How do you exploit without having intention to do so? Effing Bonehead…

  53. j-daddy says: Sep 13, 2010 1:21 PM

    The stir the Dixon/Ben/Steelers pot crap needs to stop. Dixon was terrible yesterday. He had one pick and was lucky not to have three more. The Steelers probably used about 10% of their offense too.
    Ben is a quarterback in the Manning/Brady/Brees category. He’s not Kyle Orton. For better or for worse, he’s the franchise, and a two time Super Bowl winner (that’s one more than Manning and one more than Brees). If Dixon goes 4-0 and plays every game like he did yesterday there will be no controversy.

  54. froggy says: Sep 13, 2010 1:36 PM

    Mike and Gregg,
    Do you guys even watch the games? Or do you just poach stories and editorials about them? The 49ers looked as bad and clueless as a team could look. You don’t just disregard that like it means nothing.

  55. jebdamone says: Sep 13, 2010 1:47 PM

    i don’t give a crap what anyone else says about it or the rules….megatron obviously made that catch and released it at the point he would to celebrate his game winning TD. that was absolute bullshit, kitties got screwed.

  56. if yer not first... says: Sep 13, 2010 2:00 PM

    5. Broncos, Steelers take advantage of non-timeout timeout.
    Mike, you really need some copy editing help – this should actually read -
    McDaniel, Tomlin cheat by feigning ignorance.
    Ignorance of the rule is no excuse – these guys should be charged a timeout or penalized.

  57. Art Van Delay's brother says: Sep 13, 2010 2:03 PM

    I’m counting the days for Ben Roethlisberger’s return after the Falcons game. Dennis Dixon was average at best yesterday. I counted three missed interceptions and half a dozen misreads of wide open receivers.
    Forget Red Zone TV and fantasy stats, if you watched the ENTIRE game including the sideline shots you know Ben’s the guy. The next game on the road in Tennessee will be difficult for the offense but the defense will hold the running of CJ and VY to less than 120 yds…close game with a Steeler’s victory!

  58. Pestilence1972 says: Sep 13, 2010 2:15 PM

    If there is still so much subjectivity around the NFL Rules for what constitutes a reception, why doesn’t the NFL just do away with those reception rules and have the referee make a subjective call simply around whether or not the receiver made a catch. So, instead of debating whether the ball hit the ground and compromised the reception based on that particular rule, why not debate at a higher level: did he make the catch or not?
    My point is that it is subjective anyway. Why not make the subjective call a referee opinion of whether it is a catch or not? The reality is that we all can see whether it is a catch. The rules seem to get in the way of the reality that we all know whether it is a catch. All we need to do is look at the replay.

  59. Tdk24 says: Sep 13, 2010 2:15 PM

    What ever happened to the ground can’t cause a fumble?
    Said Pereira at the time: “By rule, when a receiver with possession of the ball is in the act of going to the ground and performs a second act by reaching out to break the plane, that completes the process of the catch and the ball is dead when it breaks the plane.”
    Why is it not the same for a guy that is already in the endzone? When the ball get’s to him, it’s already “crossed the plane”. Therefore the very second he has possession and has both feet down, it should be a TD. It’s not like in the center of the field where a guy needs to catch the ball and then make a football move to be considered a catch. Otherwise you would never get the TD catch where a guy just has his tip toes in bounds before he falls out of bounds.
    The rule book really needs to be simplified if they are to grow this sport in the future.
    If this kind of stuff happens in week 2, then by rule i will never give the NFL 1 more cent.

  60. ChicagoJo says: Sep 13, 2010 2:27 PM

    I think we all know that SHOULD have been a TD. HOwever, it was NOT a blown call by the Refs. They simply enforced a BS NFL rule about catches in the end zone that has plagued us for years.
    The same thing happened to Greg Jennings when we played GB at home last year. It is an awful rule, but as a receiver Calvin Johnson is supposed to know it. Referees come to each training camp to explain it. That’s what our coaches and his coaches said about the play, and I’m sure he’d admit it himself.
    One of two things happened at the end of that play
    1) He dropped that ball at the end of the catch and the rule worked the way it was supposed to. (unlikely)
    2) He got up to celebrate and made the mental error of releasing the football in the process. Like DeSean Jackson dropping the ball at the 1 yard line last season, Calvin Johnson cost his team the game.
    PFT, you make a good point about the “2nd act” move of rolling over and putting the ball down, but caught the ball while falling, the momentum of his fall rolled him over, and he ended the rolling motion with the football hitting the ground which is probably why it squirted out.
    One fluid motion that should be called a catch but isn’t according to the rule. One stupid move by an elite receiver who is paid millions to know better.

  61. FriarBob says: Sep 13, 2010 2:32 PM

    Would you please quit blowing smoke about the Lance More catch-that-really-was-a-catch? You’re wrong, and you have to know it, but your WhineQueen pride won’t let you admit it.
    “If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”
    Game. Set. Match. But I’ll explain anyway, just to help you figure it out, since you apparently can’t on your own.
    Lance Moore caught the ball. He fell to the ground. He lost control. He regained control and the ball broke the plane. At that point the play is over. It’s already 2 points. Everything afterward doesn’t matter. But if it did, it still would be a catch. Because then he was touched down by the Colt DB (his leg hit Lance’s hands while Lance was lying on the ground with the ball breaking the plane). And only then, after having the ball literally kicked out of his hands, did the ball squirt free. So since he was touched down, the play would have been dead at that point before he lost control of the ball (for the second time). Either way, it’s still a catch.
    Lance’s catch was a catch. So was Calvin Johnson’s. Unfortunately, the Lions got jobbed by the bad phrasing and confused officials. And hopefully since it actually did cost somebody a game they did “actually” win even if “officially” they didn’t, maybe now the competition committee will do what they should have done years ago and finally fix the stupid rule.

  62. DasBoot504 says: Sep 13, 2010 2:46 PM

    @seaner44,
    Actually don’t have Sunday ticket, but if I did I wouldn’t waste my time watching a sorry ass Lions/Bears game. But since you have nothing to offer to the actual conversation let me point out to you that whomever through the pass was irrelevant b/c it wasn’t a catch by NFL rule and wasn’t even in the same category as Lance Moore’s catch in the SuperBowl. Florio is still a whiny bitch b/c he is still constantly trying to find ways to trivialize the Saints win(S) over the Vikings and now Dungy is trying to play the what if card on the outcome of a game that he predicted very wrongly and by comparing apples and oranges…and the fact that Florio makes a living by referencing other peoples reporting and Dungy made a career out of Mannings arm and Kiffin’s Defensive schemes, which while defending against Rex Grossman might have been overkill. So I stand by my original post.
    But if you persist there is still room on the list for one more.

  63. liquidgrammar says: Sep 13, 2010 2:50 PM

    My son and I watched that Eagles game, and even WE knew that Stewart Bradley was concussed!!! That decision to put him back in is about as egregious as saying Andy Reid has slimmed down this year!! We watched in horror…… And my son is 17!!!!

  64. Ari says: Sep 13, 2010 3:08 PM

    #7 . . . if the best example you can come up with is 8 years old, the odds are your point is lazy and “requires no original thought.”
    Of course a W/L in Week 1 doesn’t make or break a season, but I’m under the impression that the same teams who win or lose in Week 1 are generally the same teams that win/lose in Weeks 4, 7, 11, or 14.

  65. carlaskeeper says: Sep 13, 2010 3:45 PM

    florio bech72 is right and another thing that is right a right tackle is called a right tackle because he’s on the right side Romo is right handed now you can say Romo would have got sacked but I think he saw him coming from the right

  66. TheBuzzOnNY.com says: Sep 13, 2010 3:56 PM

    The Lions got screwed in a big way. Calvin Johnson caught the ball, got both feet down, his knee touched and the hand the ball was not in touched. He never bobbled the ball with his other hand. Had complete possession until he put on the ground. Horrible call.

  67. fastfred21 says: Sep 13, 2010 4:38 PM

    ok–so the rules states that the player must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground–seems to me he had clearly contacted the ground with more than one body part–and what was he sitting on before he tried to use the ball to get up? I’ll call that the ref that made the call

  68. AlphaQ2 says: Sep 13, 2010 5:47 PM

    crazyguy says:
    September 13, 2010 11:20 AM
    “Throw out Week One.”
    Really? Then that would make week 2… er, week 1. Would we have to through that one out too?
    Just like in everything else, there has to be a start and a finish. Week 1 is the start and you’d better have your act together otherwise someone named Arian is gong to run all over your arses.
    ———————————
    Haha. Do you really think he will run like that against any NFC East team? Keep dreaming, it was the Colts. Anyone can run on them. Not saying that Houston isn’t good, but NFC East football is different than what they are used to. They may win against an NFC East team, but they will get punched in the mouth during the process. That’s just the way the NFC Beast rolls.
    Warning to Arian Foster…Stay away from Landry…He is bad for your health.

  69. superb owl says: Sep 13, 2010 8:40 PM

    the saying goes “the ground cannot cause a fumble… but it can cause an incompletion”.
    bad call… and not just cause i live north of daytwa. he had possession for quite a while after touching the ball.
    as a local commentator said, how come that wasnt a td when u can barely break the (end zone) plane with the ball on a play, then fumble it, and get 6 points for that…
    where i work, process is the big thing now, not results. all pereira etc can talk about is “process”.
    fook pereira.
    what do ya call 300 (wanna-be) lawyers (or process control devotees) at the bottom of the sea? a good start.

  70. vikings=worstfranchiseandfans says: Sep 13, 2010 9:24 PM

    Why wouldn’t florihole want to throw out week one? After all his precious viqueens got punked.
    Do you think it would have made his top ten if they could have managed an upset.
    No objectivity at all, but that’s what we come to expect.

  71. forthnoggin says: Sep 13, 2010 10:40 PM

    Barron didn’t do the right thing… he screwed up his blocking assignment, and that’s why he had to hold him. If he did his job, he could have protected Romo w/o penalizing.

  72. Company CEO says: Sep 13, 2010 11:32 PM

    Mike Pereira … the there’s a paragon of virtue! Thank God he’s gone. I don’t think that this guy ever did anything right in the entire time that he held the job. In fact, in most cases, he made things more confusing, less rational, and just plain worse.
    Why is it that a multi-billion dollar business can’t adopt rules that have some sense of reason and clarity. It appears to me that many of these great rules (e.g., this “catch” rule, the “tuck”rule) are simply in place so that officials can “rightfully” determine game outcomes in favor of the chosen (e.g., either NY team, Patriots, Bears) at the expense of the less-favored teams (any west coast team, the unwashed like the Lions). Disgusting!!

  73. Livinginclip says: Sep 14, 2010 12:08 AM

    All I’m adding is this.
    If the NFL doesn’t do something about how Reid handled the concussions of TWO players in ONE game, then they aren’t really all that conceded about player safety. Bradley had one of the most obvious concussions I’ve seen. The man couldn’t even stand up!

  74. Shadenfreuder says: Sep 14, 2010 11:15 AM

    “presarc says:
    The Lions got jobbed. It it were the Cowboys, Patriots, or Jets, this would be very, very different, and everyone knows it.”
    Yeah, true. Oh, by the way, why were there only 31 picks in the 2007 draft? The answer is because the NFL loves the Patriots soooo much that they stripped them of a pick for spygate. I guess you could call it tough love.
    Also, if it were a Patriots receiver they would have held onto the ball until TD was signalled. It’s called coaching. They don’t make mental errors.

  75. DonnyBoy says: Sep 14, 2010 9:01 PM

    Shadenfreuder says:
    September 14, 2010 11:15 AM
    “presarc says:
    The Lions got jobbed. It it were the Cowboys, Patriots, or Jets, this would be very, very different, and everyone knows it.”
    Yeah, true. Oh, by the way, why were there only 31 picks in the 2007 draft? The answer is because the NFL loves the Patriots soooo much that they stripped them of a pick for spygate. I guess you could call it tough love.
    Also, if it were a Patriots receiver they would have held onto the ball until TD was signalled. It’s called coaching. They don’t make mental errors.
    ************************
    Seriously?
    The Pats missed their pick because they were phucking CHEATING.
    What have you done since Bellecheat was forced to stop cheating to win????
    Uhhhh – NOTHING!

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