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Jeff Fisher: ESPN asked coaches to take timeouts late on Monday night

One of the biggest reasons why a weak Monday Night Football game can out-rate game three of the ALCS in New York: Fantasy football.

While Cliff Lee was dealing, fantasy owners across the country were hoping to squeeze a few more points out of Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew.  Johnson’s owners prayers were answered when Johnson broke free for a 35-yard touchdown on fourth down with under two minutes remaining.

That led to some (silly) questions about why Johnson was still in the game.  Why were the Titans still trying to score?

Titans coach Jeff Fisher indicated that it was largely ESPN’s fault.  The network still needed more television timeouts and apparently asked both coaching staffs to take timeouts late.

“Jack [Del Rio] used his timeouts,” Fisher said after the game via Terry McCormick of Titans Insider. “My understanding is they needed
network timeouts, and that’s why Jack used his timeouts. They came over
and asked me to do it, but I said, ‘I was hoping to get a first down and
kneel on it.'”

Of course, you can also thank Del Rio for actually listening.  Fisher was happy to end the game at 23-3, but Del Rio didn’t let him. 

“It’s the first time I’ve heard of it,” Fisher said about a network request for timeouts. “I just said I
would have a hard time using them, because I’m ahead. Honestly, I have
no issues with Jack or how he managed the end of that game. It’s just
what it was, and I don’t think he would have an issue with me handing
the ball off.”

UPDATE: Video of Fisher’s comments.

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113 Responses to “Jeff Fisher: ESPN asked coaches to take timeouts late on Monday night”
  1. Benny Mendenberger-Ward says: Oct 19, 2010 11:31 AM

    That 35 yard run cost me a win, I needed Johnson to stay under 12 points, that 9 point run gave him 19.

  2. ramidiot says: Oct 19, 2010 11:36 AM

    what is this a buffalo wild wing commercial?

  3. Haywood_Jefferies says: Oct 19, 2010 11:37 AM

    If that’s true, that’s ridiculous. ESPN shouldn’t be sticking their nose into the game play of any NFL game regardless of the score or how many commercials they need to broadcast.
    Why not get those commercials out of the way at halftime so we don’t have to listen to the same old, tired, played out Chris Berman and his “rumblin’ stumblin’ fumblin'” crap that was old 10 years ago?

  4. Sam says: Oct 19, 2010 11:37 AM

    ????? A network trying to control the game to better benefit themselves? Fixed? What else has a network asked a team to do?

  5. elgranderojo79 says: Oct 19, 2010 11:40 AM

    Jeff Fisher is such a lying sack of crap. Fair enough, maybe they should have ran the ball, but WHY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH was it Chris Johnson carrying the ball instead of Javon Ringer?!? Johnson took some serious shots on the last drive, which he carried 7 times on for 66 yards. the Titans were padding Johnson’s stats plain and simple and they’ll look like morons when CJ finally gets hurt doing it or he wears out of 4 years on the league.

  6. DEMOLITION says: Oct 19, 2010 11:40 AM

    Ahhh hah!! The game is fixed!

  7. mikethevike says: Oct 19, 2010 11:41 AM

    I was at Buffalo Wild Wings and I asked my friendly bartender to extend the game.

  8. yem123 says: Oct 19, 2010 11:41 AM

    Typical ESPN. Does not surprise me in the least. They care more about $ than sports.

  9. jamesf240 says: Oct 19, 2010 11:43 AM

    Has NBC ever made such requests?If not maybe Gregg or Mike can toe the corporate line on the sidelines. Then again they might miss a copy and paste of a real reporters story!

  10. kickinitoleschool says: Oct 19, 2010 11:43 AM

    @ramidiot “what is this a buffalo wild wing commercial?”
    ——————————————————
    lmao at my desk first thing that came to mind…at the bar trying to finish my drink and I say hey…I don’t want this game to end…so on 4th and 5 they run the ball for a td lmao

  11. slutnuts says: Oct 19, 2010 11:43 AM

    between this, and the fact that you are no longer allowed to hit hard, the nfl is aiming a large elephant gun right at their foot

  12. Steeler Ed says: Oct 19, 2010 11:43 AM

    That’s completely ridiculous. Screw the TV you’re trying to win a game! Who would even leak such a stupid request to the public? That absurd all the way around.

  13. cusoman says: Oct 19, 2010 11:45 AM

    If true, that sets an incredibly dangerous precedence and I don’t like it one bit. None of the TV networks should be playing any part in how the game is played beyond the time spent for a TV timeout. I don’t care what deal is in place with the NFL for ad revenue and time for ads, the game needs to be played the way it’s supposed to be played.
    Crap like this is going to lead to ridiculous things like ads painted on the field, and that’s the day I stop watching the NFL.

  14. az03buck says: Oct 19, 2010 11:47 AM

    CJ’s TD run cost me my fantasy game as well since I was up by 6 at the time. Fisher is playing with fire since he keeps CJ out there with the possibility of injury or just plain wear and tear due to the amount of carries he has accumulated the past two year.
    Del Rio is just a plain idiot. He runs down the clock with no sense of urgency on the Jags possession but starts taking timeouts under the 2 min warning? He should worry about not fielding a team that embarrasses itself in front of a national audience instead of being a puppet for ESPN. I hope Del Rio gets fired soon, he certainly deserves it.

  15. Draft King says: Oct 19, 2010 11:50 AM

    From the source article: “When it was over, Fisher joked a bit about the situation.”

  16. Johnny Utah says: Oct 19, 2010 11:50 AM

    Mike Singletary would not have needed any prodding from ESPN to use his timeouts in that situation.

  17. Strick says: Oct 19, 2010 11:52 AM

    What?? I had no idea that this was even legal, much less ethical. This is complete bullshit. The league should NOT allow the stupid network to control ANY aspect of the game.

  18. sweetnlow310 says: Oct 19, 2010 11:54 AM

    Pretty sad when money tries to dictate a game. Welcome to professional sports. And I agree with the above poster who says to get commercials in at half time. More than likely, if we’re watching the Monday night game, we’ve already seen the highlights from Sunday’s game and we don’t need Chris Berman and his weird, fake, voice. I don’t know if he’s trying to sound excited or tough or what, but it sounds like he’s dying and it’s just annoying.

  19. Memp! says: Oct 19, 2010 11:54 AM

    yem123…really? Did you think ESPN covers these games for the good of mankind? you’re silly
    I don’t believe Fantasy Football had anything to do with it. Chris Johnson is all about stats and he was trying gain as much yardage as possible.
    If ESPN really did ask the coaches to drag out the game, that’s complete bullsh!t.

  20. brownsfn19 says: Oct 19, 2010 11:55 AM

    This is absolutely ridiculous and if this is true ESPN should be out of the NFL broadcasting business…the NFL is FIXED!!!!

  21. JSpicoli says: Oct 19, 2010 11:56 AM

    Like “Out-rating” somehow makes that sport “better” than another sport. If populus vote in America somehow denotes value or intelligence of that majority then I am Porky Pig. Have you looked around at your fellow American lately, or at some of their voting decisions?
    Cheap beer and fine wine. If you want to lie in the gutter and swill a 40, which I do enjoy sometimes, be my guest, but Baseball is a genius sport. Football is a sport for the masses and mouthbreathers.

  22. BigBear123 says: Oct 19, 2010 11:57 AM

    Made a difference in our work league. Didn’t affect me but someone was pissed this morning.

  23. kellyb91985 says: Oct 19, 2010 11:58 AM

    @Steeler Ed – The guy who leaked it to the press was the guy who didn’t listen to the request from ESPN.

  24. clintcooper says: Oct 19, 2010 11:58 AM

    This has probably been going on for a while now. In any case, I’m glad CJ scored because he saved several of my fantasy teams.

  25. El Duderino says: Oct 19, 2010 11:58 AM

    This is insane…putting players at further risk to injury so a damn beer commercial gets airtime is ridiculous.

  26. JSpicoli says: Oct 19, 2010 11:59 AM

    The sport is becoming WWF. Anyone want to tell me how much integrity football has again? Too much cash involved and too many guys in suits.

  27. TheDPR says: Oct 19, 2010 11:59 AM

    Why is that even necessary? I thought TV timeouts were scheduled throughout the game and officials would just take them whenever the network needed one.

  28. DopeBoys says: Oct 19, 2010 12:00 PM

    Am I the only person who was shocked to see that Jeff Fisher has been coaching the Titans for 22 years? That might have been the number for Jerry Sloan when they showed that graphic so I apologize in advance if I mix that up. But seriously, what the hell has this guy done to justify being the longest tenured coach in the NFL and the second longest in North American sports? He is such a tool and really hasn’t won anything.

  29. jgowdy138 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:01 PM

    I woulda just said “no” and finished the game. I am the coach, not “the network”.

  30. BBB82 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:01 PM

    That is total BS…. ESPN should not even have the option to ask coaches to use their TOs.

  31. gforce89 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:01 PM

    James Harrison is a tool! Steelers suck!

  32. DanielEtvs says: Oct 19, 2010 12:01 PM

    Chris Berman sounds like an old blowhard whose smoked cigars for 50 years and is quite painful to listen to, Matt Millen gets hired via croneyism as an “Expert” after running a team into the ground for 7 straight years. The network has no integrity and an outright monopoly on sports in this country. Go Versus!

  33. scrapdawg12 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:02 PM

    Fisher is a douche. CJ should not of been in the game after the 3rd quarter. Game was well in hand.

  34. The Tire Slasher says: Oct 19, 2010 12:03 PM

    The commercial breaks during football telecasts are getting completely out of control. It never used to be this way. Watch an old television broadcast of an NFL game, even from the 90’s, and you’ll see what I mean. The commercial breaks were spread out and generally came only after quarters, time outs, etc. The networks are shoving commercials into the broadcast every chance they get it now days. If a player gets the wind knocked out of him and is on the ground for twenty seconds, the networks will cut away and shove a commercial down the audiences throat, rather than talking about the game. It never used to be this way.
    ESPN is bad, but NBC is by far and away the worse. It’s hard to even watch Sunday Night Football. As soon the game gets rolling, cut to a commercial. The game gets rolling again, cut to a commercial. On and on. Again and again. Especially early in the game. As if having to set through Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison isn’t painful enough…

  35. NyJetsTaketheEastin 2010 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:04 PM

    If this is true then the NFL is slowly turning into a F’n Joke, its a freaking cash whore still looking for more cash as is Espn …..I think the NFL is starting to slowly kill itself with stories like this, the watering down of the game the whole game is now centeredjust around the offenses having success ,with all this viscious hitting talk (that hitting has been going on since the started playing the damn game) that’s the risk players take and their payed nicely for taking that risk..Now were going to suspend guys for what could be very questionable hits,Like Leonard of the Jets the other day where the official blew that call big-time ,the Jets would lose him for a game …..WTF….in the end all the NFL does is S–t on its fans

  36. DailyRich says: Oct 19, 2010 12:05 PM

    Here’s an idea — offer more competitive games so people won’t be tempted to flip over to a tight playoff baseball game.
    This’ll only get worse with an 18 game schedule and more meaningless games down the stretch.

  37. pt8106 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:06 PM

    My understanding was that CJ asked to go back in so Fisher let him.

  38. kuhawks28 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:07 PM

    —> ramidiot = +1
    Hahaha. Good stuff.

  39. Dayton Dolfan says: Oct 19, 2010 12:08 PM

    This is troubling, but not surprising. To think that a network could affect the outcome of the game really strikes at the integrity of the game. I curious to see if this becomes a major story or not.

  40. Coach Stram says: Oct 19, 2010 12:08 PM

    I just lost an assload of respect for both coaches.
    You GOT to kiddin me!
    How do you think Ditka, Bud Grant, or Parcells would have responded to such poppycock?
    What else do the networks control???? First they custom tailor an election, now this!

  41. I *heart* Florio says: Oct 19, 2010 12:08 PM

    Since the game IS fixed, I cant wait until they come out with NFL2012 – The Rise of Buffalo!
    No?

  42. edgy1957 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:08 PM

    I liked the old replay system, which was like the one that college football uses and the NFL changed it because the games took so long. Of course, all those extra commercials being put in by the broadcasters have pushed it closer and closer to what it was when they changed the system and I’d like to see it change back to the way it was and stop trying to pretend that the networks don’t enjoy having all those extra commercials.

  43. Simon12345 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:09 PM

    This is a pretty horrendous precedent. The Networks should not be dictating the outcome of a football game. I guess in this case, it did not affect the win, but what if down the line there is a tie breaker where points are involved or something like that…this could impact the actual competitiveness of the league. Definitely a crazy development…

  44. NyJetsTaketheEastin 2010 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:11 PM

    If this is true then the NFL is slowly turning into a F’n Joke, its a freaking cash whore still looking for more cash as is Espn …..I think the NFL is starting to slowly kill itself with stories like this, the watering down of the game the whole game is now centeredjust around the offenses having success ,with all this viscious hitting talk (that hitting has been going on since the started playing the damn game) that’s the risk players take and their payed nicely for taking that risk..Now were going to suspend guys for what could be very questionable hits,Like Leonard of the Jets the other day where the official blew that call big-time ,the Jets would lose him for a game …..WTF….in the end all the NFL does is S–t on its fans

  45. JoeSchmoe says: Oct 19, 2010 12:12 PM

    When is someone going to discuss Del Rio’s ATROCIOUS playcalling on their last drive? Run, Run, Run, Run, Run, Run, Run, Interception… I think that was about the exact way the drive went. Put “up the gut” in on all those run plays too…

  46. Unnamed Source says: Oct 19, 2010 12:15 PM

    Holy shit! This is so close to trying to dictate the outcome of a game I can’t believe it!! ESPN should not be allowed to air any sporting event ever again

  47. GOVIKES|GOVIKES says: Oct 19, 2010 12:15 PM

    Cost me a 6-0 record. Can’t blame Fisher though, he wanted to kneel it.
    CJ said in the news conference after the game he asked to be put back in to the game. He cares more about his stats, and breaking Barry Sanders’ road rushing record, than probably anyone else.

  48. Andre Park says: Oct 19, 2010 12:15 PM

    They should be thanking ESPN for televising their sorry team. They probably lost money because nobody was watching that retarded game.

  49. rize says: Oct 19, 2010 12:17 PM

    Fisher is so worthy of praise. All praise Jeff Fisher. If Johnson breaks his leg, Jeff Fisher loses his job.
    Here is one NFL fan hoping Johnson breaks his leg so it makes Johnson and Fisher look like the selfish INDIVIDUALS that they are.

  50. The Ghost of Terry Bradshaw says: Oct 19, 2010 12:19 PM

    So many considerations go into NFL game planning like what does ESPN need, what spread do Vegas bookies need, what does the coach’s fantasy team need, what do the owners need to suppress performance bonuses, etc.

  51. Primetime17 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:21 PM

    Like “Out-rating” somehow makes that sport “better” than another sport. If populus vote in America somehow denotes value or intelligence of that majority then I am Porky Pig. Have you looked around at your fellow American lately, or at some of their voting decisions?
    Hi Mr. Pig, good to hear from you!
    ————————————————
    The best part of ESPN’s coverage is the commercials. That way we don’t have to listen to dumb, dumber, and dumberer.

  52. Ty Redofbuck says: Oct 19, 2010 12:23 PM

    Any coach with dignity would have laughed in the face of the ESPN representative that made that request.
    That is ridiculous.
    Maybe Del Rio was trying to do a favor for a future employer in ESPN. Everybody and their dog knows that he’s not long for NFL head coaching.

  53. jjcruiser says: Oct 19, 2010 12:24 PM

    This is an amazing story. This should be page one on every NFL blog in the country.

  54. raiderrob21 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:25 PM

    Cant wait till a referee throws a flag to call back a TD to save a bet he made. Something needs to be done to either bspn, And/Or The NFL. This should never happen. I believe the leagues integrity is in question here.

  55. GBfanForever says: Oct 19, 2010 12:27 PM

    This is a pretty big scandal in my book that affects way more than fantasy. It affects Vegas and anytime gambling is influenced, it finds a way to influence back. This move by espn is almost akin to point shaving. This is a bfd for the integrity of the game.

  56. Auz says: Oct 19, 2010 12:32 PM

    I can’t believe the story I just read. Every poster on here should be talking about the integrity of the game and the obvious conflict of interest. We as fans can’t sweep this under the rug.

  57. Rev. Dr. HollywoodWags says: Oct 19, 2010 12:34 PM

    Gooddel can now suspend ESPN six games for allowing the sport to be besmirched and lost integrity of the NFL.
    What a joke.

  58. AdamEagle5 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:36 PM

    The NFL should punish ESPN very, very harshly for this. This is exactly the sort of gambling stuff that the league tries to keep a safe distance from. Very scary stuff… for the NFL and Das Kommissar.

  59. Marv_Sleezy says: Oct 19, 2010 12:40 PM

    Slippery slope – If TV can ask for, (and receive) a time out, what do they ask for next?

  60. Muck says: Oct 19, 2010 12:41 PM

    Nothing is less interesting than your fantasy team.
    Amazing that ESPN actually interfered with a game. In this instance it was pretty harmless. Del Rio did them a big favor. But you worry about it ever becoming more.

  61. SteelTown-6 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:44 PM

    # gforce89 says: October 19, 2010 12:01 PM
    “James Harrison is a tool! Steelers suck!”
    James Harrison said to meet him in the playground at 3PM after school.

  62. Polorl69 says: Oct 19, 2010 12:45 PM

    I hate ESPN

  63. wydok says: Oct 19, 2010 12:45 PM

    Why isn’t PFT making more of a stink about this? That’s pretty f-ed up.

  64. shaggytoodle says: Oct 19, 2010 12:46 PM

    The NFL should investigate this, and then should suspend ESPN for about 4 games (pending appeal of course) and then broadcast the game ons NFL Network instead. That stuff can’t be tolerated.

  65. LionSuhWee says: Oct 19, 2010 12:47 PM

    It goes to integirty. What stops ESPN from saying…”Hey Jeff this is a blow out, soften the Defense and make this a little closer for ratings”. In my book this is a turn in the worst direction.

  66. HomoforRomo says: Oct 19, 2010 12:47 PM

    Del Rio should be fired on the spot for not going no huddle hurry up down 3 scores in the 4th. Four straight runs in the red zone, using the entire play clock in between each makes you question whether he was really trying to win the game- given the team he had out there, you can’t blame him I guess, but he’s the COACH, why not resign if you think you have no chance of winning games?

  67. crazyguy says: Oct 19, 2010 12:49 PM

    Wow. Finally, the truth about who actually control games comes out. Sure it amy not seem like much but what next? Will they demand someone to play more for better ratings?

  68. thirdandgoal says: Oct 19, 2010 1:01 PM

    what complete nonsense. if the network is behind on commercials that late in the game, they normally elongate the 2-minute warning to squeeze the couple extra spots they need. people get paid good money to keep track of those kinds of things. sounds to me like the smart guys in the truck messed up, big-time. like the previous poster said, don’t mess with the outcome of games, or you’ll attract attention you don’t want to attract.

  69. Prufrock says: Oct 19, 2010 1:02 PM

    Responses here are way overblown.
    *ESPN can make the request, but the coaches can go tell them to pound sand. Del Rio has a mind of his own (though his playcalling may indicate otherwise), and is employed by the team, not the network.
    *The request, and the fact that Del Rio complied, has nothing to do with CJohnson being in the game. Time-outs or not, CJohnson was in to pad his individual stats and Fisher let him do it. You want your best players to be happy, no doubt, and I do think individual stats are motivational tools (e.g., if CJohnson is approaching a 2K milestone late in the year because of a few garbage time runs, they may get more effort out of him in December). But Fisher was undoubtedly taking a risk in getting his star running back injured.

  70. heyguru says: Oct 19, 2010 1:02 PM

    Wade Phillips would have used his timeouts when told to do so (just like his coaching ability), then he’d have pulled a Chris Webber and called additional timeouts, in hopes that he too could add to all that “penalizin’ good-time fun”.

  71. BroncosFan says: Oct 19, 2010 1:03 PM

    1) While a few extra timeouts at the end of a stinker of a game might not immediately seem that big of a deal, this is actually a major scandal, and should be treated as such. The fact that heads at ESPN think game interference is okay in this situation raises huge issues about their integrity in general, and those heads should roll.
    2) Even more disturbing, if true, is that Del Rio acquiesced. What was implicitly in it for him? Just being a nice guy? Or positive coverage?

  72. dbartdog says: Oct 19, 2010 1:04 PM

    I heard…now I not sure if this is true or not….the TV networks are in negotiations with Vince McMahon to, you know, enhance the game…make it more exciting!

  73. ohandsixteenforever says: Oct 19, 2010 1:06 PM

    Lost by 2 in my fantasy league because the other guy had Chris Johnson. Just another reason on a long list of reasons for me to hate ESPN even more.

  74. Raiders757 says: Oct 19, 2010 1:10 PM

    There’s already enough commercial breaks in a game that there is no need to warrant going out of ones way to create more. It’s getting rather pathetic how often there is a stop in the action. It’s almost to the point of ruining the experience of watching the games.
    Personally, ESPN is such a pathetic joke of a network, the NFL needs to consider dumping them as soon as possible. Once NFLN is in every market, they should pull any rights ESPN has at showing highlights or anything else NFL related. It’s a biased and pathetic rumor rag of a network and it’s NFL coverage is laughable anymore. Anyone who watches that channel, and can get NFLN, must be suffering from brain damage

  75. DanSnyderSux says: Oct 19, 2010 1:10 PM

    Just another example of how television has ruined football. The games are too long and their precious commercials interrupt the flow and momentum of the game.

  76. smiley says: Oct 19, 2010 1:12 PM

    How is ESPN involved in coaching an NFL game? Wow….and why wouldn’t DelRio decline? Will they ask for a screen pass next time? Will they ask him not to take a timeout in a certain situation? How far is Jack DelRio willing to go for ESPN? That’s the question. Keep your stank network out of the game…SCUMBAGS!!! DelRio should be fired.

  77. Phreakin says: Oct 19, 2010 1:14 PM

    I love how everyone is outraged about this like this is the first time and ESPN is the first one to do it. They’re not. It happens more than this. And why? Because without sponsors, the teams you love wouldn’t be able to pay the guys you love to watch. No homo.

  78. Krow says: Oct 19, 2010 1:18 PM

    Players and coaches should take less money so they don’t have to put up with TV interference. Right… that’s going to happen.

  79. NYGBALLn says: Oct 19, 2010 1:21 PM

    prufrock is exactly right. all of you need to calm the hell down. While I do completely disagree with ESPN even thinking of asking the coaches to do this, this truly is not a big deal. Asking a coach to take his timeouts when down 23 with a couple minutes left is in no way fixing a game. I for one just happen ;) to know that the spread was titans -2.5 over/under 45. Therefore taking the timeouts to score more/less points would not have affected any vegas players at all (aside from someone who might’ve had a tease going). The NFL just needs to respond to these allegations the correct way and draft a rule that greatly punishes the networks for this behavior. This is not the “end of the NFL”, however it is something that needs to be squashed ASAP. Swift, definitive action by the NFL will have everyone forget about this little PR blunder by Saturday morning

  80. joetoronto says: Oct 19, 2010 1:21 PM

    I can’t believe what I just read, this is completely wrong and opens up a Pandora’s box for the NFL.
    What BSPN has done leaves the perception that the NFL is rigged and nothing, not a single thing, can be more destructive to the league than that.
    This is hard to fathom in this day and age.

  81. momar3000 says: Oct 19, 2010 1:22 PM

    @Benny Mendenberger-Ward
    I’m sure your a big jerk based on your name, but I just wanted to tell you I was in the same situation needing to hold CJ down (below 20)
    BUT I WON BY 1.
    Bottom line: Baltimore always beats Pittsburgh!
    (this year at least)
    (so far)
    See you December 5 and make sure you bring that big dumb QB with you this time. I don’t like hitting Charlie Batch, he’s too old.

  82. bobhoo says: Oct 19, 2010 1:25 PM

    I hate politics, and that is whay football has become. The players and the game is so over-rated. It’s is almost like basketball now.

  83. theodore says: Oct 19, 2010 1:26 PM

    Thank God the Patriots like to run up the score. I love watching Tom Brady’s dreamy hair.

  84. CommyKilla says: Oct 19, 2010 1:31 PM

    if this is true, ESPN should get in big trouble for this. This is borderline manipulating the game.

  85. Steve W. says: Oct 19, 2010 1:34 PM

    Was it a stupid request on ESPN’s part? Yeah, it was. It’s far from fixing the game, however. They wanted to get more commercials in, so they made the request. Del Rio, who knew the game was lost, used his time outs. Teams do that all the time, hoping to get the ball back and score to make things look less lopsided. Fisher, whose team was winning, did the right thing and said no. The best move for his team was to run the ball and keep the clock winding down. As for playing CJ, that has nothing to do with fantasy football. He kept CJ in to keep CJ happy. Fisher knows he needs some big performances from CJ throughout the year, so he’s feeding him the ball to help him get the stats he wants. It’s a needless risk at that point in the game, but I understand why he did it.
    Some of you need to calm down, however. Not everything is a conspiracy. It’s no surprise that a major corporation like ESPN wants to maximize its profits, but the coaches were perfectly free to not take their request too seriously. So, to sum thigns up, the coaches did what they should have done under the circumstances. The coach that was behind used his time outs to stop the clock and try to get the ball back. The coach in the lead didn’t use his time outs and ran the ball to run out the clock.

  86. JRod L.A. says: Oct 19, 2010 1:41 PM

    I’ve always had a feeling that the NFL has predetermined winners and losers. This doesn’t do a lot to sway me away from thinking that. Every season part of me hopes my team gets the “push” the NFL gives to certain teams.

  87. DopeBoys says: Oct 19, 2010 1:41 PM

    It’s too bad that the NFL is deep in the pockets of ESPN. Not to mention if I had to watch Michael Irvin Sundays before the games I’d probably kill myself.

  88. CJ says: Oct 19, 2010 1:46 PM

    Fine by me…that TD got me my fantasy win to keep me undefeated on the season. The ’72 Dolphins shouldn’t pop open that champagne yet!

  89. BRUTUS9448 says: Oct 19, 2010 1:47 PM

    nfl is and has always been rigged. look at the 2 pass interference calls the jets got against miami and denver. NFL wants the jets in the superbowl because of the NY market.
    This is not news. NFL is rigged

  90. Dougy says: Oct 19, 2010 1:56 PM

    As noted above, this is a major story and begs the question – what else does the NFL and Networks conspire to without the common fan knowing.
    ESPN surely didn’t go rogue here. This has to have precedent. I know that the NFL and Networks have a collaborative relationship as supplier & distributor but that typically takes the form of uncritical announcing or pushing folksy storylines.
    This is something I expect from the NBA.

  91. Bious says: Oct 19, 2010 2:01 PM

    The fact that networks are asking to determine a game with timeouts should make coaches run scared
    How about when the networks want one when it could benefit a team? What if the coaches say no and the network REALLY wants it and forces it?

  92. somesome says: Oct 19, 2010 2:14 PM

    Steve W. says:
    October 19, 2010 1:34 PM
    “…Some of you need to calm down, however. Not everything is a conspiracy. It’s no surprise that a major corporation like ESPN wants to maximize its profits, but the coaches were perfectly free to not take their request too seriously…”
    What cotton candy world do you live in? So Del Rio is possibly getting fired at the end of the season and he obliges to ESPN’s request to extended the game for a cushy analyst spot????
    What if CJ blows his knee out in the play that would never happen without the request?
    What if this becomes now common and then somebody does not agrre to take the time out will they be treaded badly in ESPn coverage?
    If you do not see a problem with this you are just not living in the real world.
    As for the responses in regards to gambling. It is not all about the major Vegas lines, those are for the public, casual recreational gambler. You can bet whatever you want. So if somebody at ESPN has not gotten his over he just calls the sideline reporter to ask the coach to call a time out, or to take a knee or fake a punt …..

  93. Other Bears says: Oct 19, 2010 2:16 PM

    jjcruiser says:
    October 19, 2010 12:24 PM
    This is an amazing story. This should be page one on every NFL blog in the country.
    ——————————
    Mmmmm – yeah. If you really want to make a difference, blog about it. A great illustration of what’s wrong with this country.
    The real question should be, “How does ESPN even get access to the coaches during a game?”

  94. HateSycophants says: Oct 19, 2010 2:16 PM

    @Spicoli,
    Every important stat in baseball is tainted.
    I love how baseball wonks try to prove to others that baseball is so intellectually superior to football. It is effing boring! There is no such thing as “inside baseball.” Anyone who watches more than the playoffs has a mental disorder.
    Shut. It.

  95. Haywood_Jefferies says: Oct 19, 2010 2:21 PM

    Steve W. says:
    October 19, 2010 1:34 PM
    Was it a stupid request on ESPN’s part? Yeah, it was. It’s far from fixing the game, however. They wanted to get more commercials in, so they made the request. Del Rio, who knew the game was lost, used his time outs. Teams do that all the time, hoping to get the ball back and score to make things look less lopsided. Fisher, whose team was winning, did the right thing and said no. The best move for his team was to run the ball and keep the clock winding down. As for playing CJ, that has nothing to do with fantasy football. He kept CJ in to keep CJ happy. Fisher knows he needs some big performances from CJ throughout the year, so he’s feeding him the ball to help him get the stats he wants. It’s a needless risk at that point in the game, but I understand why he did it.
    Some of you need to calm down, however. Not everything is a conspiracy. It’s no surprise that a major corporation like ESPN wants to maximize its profits, but the coaches were perfectly free to not take their request too seriously. So, to sum thigns up, the coaches did what they should have done under the circumstances. The coach that was behind used his time outs to stop the clock and try to get the ball back. The coach in the lead didn’t use his time outs and ran the ball to run out the clock.
    ————————
    Steve, the difference is that when Jacksonville had the ball in the red zone with about 9 minutes left, Del Rio was running the ball and killing the clock, appearing to have already conceded the game. Then with the score the same and two minutes left, he’s going to try and stop the clock? It made no sense and now everybody knows why.
    The bottom line is that ESPN, or anybody else who broadcasts a game, shouldn’t have anything to do with the outcome regardless of whether the score affects fantasy matchups, wagering. etc.
    If both teams were out of timeouts, would it have been ok for ESPN to ask a player to fake an injury for an extra two minutes of ad time? It’s no different than asking coaches to take time outs in a three possession game with two minutes to go.
    It just creates a stench that the NFL shouldn’t want.

  96. NyJetsTaketheEastin 2010 says: Oct 19, 2010 2:36 PM

    BRUTUS9448 says:
    October 19, 2010 1:47 PM
    nfl is and has always been rigged. look at the 2 pass interference calls the jets got against miami and denver. NFL wants the jets in the superbowl because of the NY market.
    This is not news. NFL is rigged
    …………………………………………………………………………………
    How do you explain the 5 phantom calls they had called on them in the Denver game ….and if you think the P.I. at the end wasn’t P.I. ,have someone take your Blind ass to the nearest F’n optomitrist and get the gift of sight ,and in return we wont have to read your ignorant Jet hating takes on here!!!!

  97. paranoidandroid says: Oct 19, 2010 2:36 PM

    i really hope the next time a coach is asked to call a timeout to get a few more commercials in he tells them to F OFF. no way should any network have the ability to influence a game in any way. thats ridiculous.

  98. OLDNFLFAN says: Oct 19, 2010 2:37 PM

    This act just confirms my thinking. If the NFL League Owners Locksout the Players in 2011, I am finished totally with the NFL. They can go to a 22 game season all they want again, I am NOT watching the NFL!
    Another thought…. If there is a lockout, all we will have is college & the UFL. Which makes me wonder WHY the UFL was created in the first place was it to fill a need for football during the 2011 lockout? GREED!
    Vince Lombardi is rolling over in his grave!

  99. FinFan6886 says: Oct 19, 2010 2:46 PM

    There are several issues with this. DelRio purposely ran the ball several times (after running the play clock down) in an effort to just end his team’s miserable game and did not use a timeout. There was no attempt at putting his team in a position to win. After ESPN asked for timeouts…he started changing his actions to benefit the network and called timeouts. It begs the questions of what else are DelRio and the other coaches willing to do…and at what price? It brings his integrity into question. He does not try to win the game (for the players/ownership/fans) but is willing change the game on a whim because a network asked him to. Where does his loyalty truly lie? Would he sit MJD for a period of time? Punt rather than kick a potential game winning field goal so the game can go to overtime? If the network has the gall to even think about making such requests then the corruption within the network and the league itself is beyond repair.

  100. Richie's Rebel Rousers says: Oct 19, 2010 3:29 PM

    The ESPN brand has gone downhill.
    It’s not about sports but flash and money.
    Hope they go down for this!

  101. NFLJunkie says: Oct 19, 2010 3:39 PM

    He cares more about his stats, and breaking Barry Sanders’ road rushing record, than probably anyone else.

    It’s called “being in a contract year” and still waiting on his big-money deal.

  102. Chitown says: Oct 19, 2010 4:00 PM

    JoeSchmoe-Welcome to a Trent Edwards 2 minute Drill.

  103. crazyguy says: Oct 19, 2010 4:04 PM

    On second thought leave it. Green Bay might have a chance…

  104. Slow Joe says: Oct 19, 2010 4:06 PM

    I was at a Buffalo Wild Wings, and I said to my bud, “The only thing that would make this better would be more timeouts”.

  105. spyboots says: Oct 19, 2010 4:27 PM

    He was still in the game because he is working on his yardage record, trying to get 1200 yards.

  106. Mike Daly says: Oct 19, 2010 6:22 PM

    Why were the Titans still trying to score?
    Why not? The Titans needed to keep their offensive rhythm going, and if Vince Young has to miss a game or two with that knee injury Kerry Collins needs reps WITH the offense (the Titans really need to start developing another quarterback to at the very least be a viable backup, but that’s another issue). There was no reason for the Titans not to keep attacking, regardless of whether ESPN asked Fisher and Del Rio to use timeouts.

  107. sullijo says: Oct 19, 2010 7:51 PM

    Wow – and you don’t think the NFL and the Networks want big market teams in the Super Bowl?
    Unbelievable.

  108. FlipDaScript says: Oct 19, 2010 8:09 PM

    National Fixed League
    Wow, what integrity. Bring on the WWE while you are at it.

  109. Lufer says: Oct 19, 2010 8:46 PM

    Gregg Rosenthal really did a horrible job on this story. For starters, he missed the point about this being a potentially compromising situation for the NFL and ESPN. Moreover, he reported as fact what is clearly a comment made in jest by Jeff Fisher.
    To top it off, he may have censored a comment that raised these criticisms this afternoon.
    Now let’s see if he has the stones to let this comment through. Time to man up GG.

  110. ArcticEdge says: Oct 20, 2010 1:41 PM

    If true, coaches are equally to blame for doing it.

  111. Philly99 says: Oct 20, 2010 4:37 PM

    I’ve been an NFL since I was about 9. I’m dangerously close to not caring about it anymore. Between this story and Roger Goodell completely ruining the game, I might stop caring about it.
    They can’t hit the Quarterback, they can’t hit a receiver, they can’t touch a player or a flag gets thrown. The league is going down the hill fast.

  112. looch says: Oct 20, 2010 6:13 PM

    Does anyone else wonder if stuff like this becomes criteria for playoff and Superbowl referee appointments, or even referee assessments? If the league is this concerned and involved in the functioning of the games, then why wouldn’t they take the measure of grading refs on things like ‘commercial commitment percentages’ or something like that? Considering it costs millions of dollars to advertise a mere 30 second Superbowl commercial, it would be bad business for the NFL to ignore things like this in their decisions, right? And how would that affect referees? This smells real bad.

  113. Unwashed Villager says: Oct 22, 2010 2:48 PM

    I used to like pro boxing, heavyweight matches, but then with George Foreman being awarded a win in a fight where he obviously got his azz and grill kicked in, I quit watching because the judging of the matches had become such a sham, even after that Foreman “victory”.
    The NFL is really pushing it. The Detroit at Chicago B.S. was a train wreck. ESPN is anathema to me, so I’m not at all surprised to hear that they requested this. But to also hear that an NFL coach complied with the wishes of a “network” and got caught at it, and nothing comes of it, well, it’s not quite the same, but can anyone say Pete Rose? And if this is the kind of shizz that actually makes it into the realm of public knowledge, what the *!Q@# else kind of tampering goes on that we don’t know about?
    What a joke.

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