January 20, 2019

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 14 comments

If the Pats hadn't given away the Dolphins game, today's AFC title game might be getting played at Gillette Stadium in good old fashioned Cleveland Municipal Stadium weather conditions.

I used to love to watch the old Browns play at the cavernous, creaky stadium in daunting grind-it-out winter weather. We'd watch the game on black and white TV and it seemed completely normal and natural. Then a few days later, the weekly issue of Sports Illustrated would come out and we'd see photos from the game taken at close range in full color and they were stunning - the grass stains, the blood, the orange helmets and all. For a long time, I didn't realize you could take a color photo of a Cleveland game. The Browns always seemed like they were playing in a monochrome parallel universe.

posted by beaverboard at 09:04 AM on January 20

Jimmy Buffett still can't sing worth a damn, but he did a pretty good job on The Star Spangled Banner. No tricks with the notes, pronounced all the words correctly, and acted like it actually meant something to him. Good job!

posted by Howard_T at 03:32 PM on January 20

That Hams/Aints game was exciting. New Orleans got jobbed pretty hard by the refs with two missed pass interferences, including one that could've extended a drive right near the end zone at the end of regulation.

posted by NoMich at 07:33 PM on January 20

The non-call on the pass interference near the end of the game may be one of the most egregious non-calls in NFL history.

You could have called pass interference OR helmet to helmet OR targeting a defenseless receiver (as he never even ONCE looked at the ball in flight before hitting him).

posted by grum@work at 07:50 PM on January 20

And the irony of him not even glancing at the incoming ball is that he could have easily picked it off. Brees did not look good at the end of regulation or in OT

posted by NoMich at 07:56 PM on January 20

Tony Romo was in the zone tonight. He was spotting everything and anticipating audibles like few announcers I've ever seen.

posted by rcade at 10:37 PM on January 20

Romo was totally into the game. During the 4th quarter and OT, he made a couple of unintelligible feral sounds that seemed to emanate from somewhere on the Ray Hudson spectrum.

To illustrate New England's remarkable sustained competitiveness, someone should do a post-matchup W-L comparison between the Patriots and teams they have played in conference title games and Super Bowls. For example, since Super Bowl 51, the Falcons have gone 18-16 and the Pats have gone 28-9 (through tonight's game). It's remarkable how small a championship level window other teams seem to have while the Patriots keep motoring along, remaining within striking distance of the top prize.

posted by beaverboard at 11:16 PM on January 20

The refereeing in the second game was awful. Does anyone know what PI is anymore? It's not pushing off except when it is. It's not grabbing an arm except when it is. It's not mugging the receiver except when it is.

posted by kokaku at 11:58 PM on January 20

Tony Romo was in the zone tonight

Did a great job. Have the Superbowl announcers been set? Sure hope it's Romo and not Aikman. If it's Aikman I'll probably listen to Kevin Harlan and Kurt Warner on the radio broadcast instead.

The refereeing in the second game was awful

Although I agree with your take on the inconsistency of PI call in general I didn't think officiating impacted the outcome of the second game much. The phantom roughing the passer call was bad but at least there wasn't the standard 3 or 4 PI calls on desperation heaves that pave the way to victory for a team.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:38 AM on January 21

Romo its is ...

at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

Date: February 3, 2019

Game time: 6:30 p.m. EST/3:30 p.m. PST

Game weather: TBD (retractable roof stadium)

Referee: John Parry

TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson and Evan Washburn

posted by cixelsyd at 11:36 AM on January 21

Does anyone know what PI is anymore?

Perhaps NFL refereeing, at least on PI calls, has adopted the NBA standard of no whistle (flag) if the ball goes in (is caught). It surely looked that way in the NE - KC game. If that's not the case, looking at those 2 non-calls and the non-call against LA, it represents a sea change in the standards of a pass interference call. Do you really want to do this without warning in the two most important games to date in the season? I have said this before. The NFL needs to adopt a system of full time officials, disciplining those who make egregiously bad calls with fines or games off without pay. Public statements concerning what action is taken with offenders is necessary as well.

posted by Howard_T at 02:20 PM on January 21

The phantom roughing the passer call was bad, but it was on second down with seven minutes left and New England trailing by 4. New England was so good on third down in that quarter it seems unlikely that Kansas City stops that drive at that point absent the penalty.

posted by rcade at 02:22 PM on January 21

I agree that call was terrible (and I'm a Pats fan). There were also 2 KC DPIs on the same play that could have been called instead.

posted by kokaku at 04:15 PM on January 21

It's virtually impossible to fully enforce pass interference. Almost every play there is contact by both the offensive and defensive player, and personally, I'd much rather the officials leave it up to the players to settle the outcome.

The missed call in the NO / Rams game was obvious and needed to be called. But there are teams whose entire passing offense is built around "rub" routes (illegal pick plays) that never get called, and who have receivers who deliberately engage the defender prior to the ball arrival because of their size advantage. Rarely ever do you see these called, but heave the ball anywhere in the direction of the same receiver and the defender who was engaged is flagged for defensive PI. That is much worse than leaving up to the players to win the play.

The NHL had a somewhat similar problem with hooking and holding so they clamped down on all play for a short period of time. Today, there are games where officials call everything, resulting in the game flow being completely killed and taken over by a special teams exhibition. And the enforcement of the "tougher" rules vary wildly from game to game and even within game by player and reputation.

posted by cixelsyd at 05:15 PM on January 21

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