Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

The Worst Play Call in the History of Football   Leave a comment

On October 31, 2010, when Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly had his backup quarterback throw a fade route while trailing Tulsa by one point at their 19-yard line with 45 seconds left and an excellent kicker waiting to kick the game-winning field goal, I thought I had seen the worst play call in the history of football.  The risk far, far outweighed the reward to the point that the call seemed incomprehensible.

In Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle’s Pete Carroll called for a pass play while trailing 28-24, facing 2nd and goal from the New England 1 with 26 seconds left and one timeout remaining.  From a purely risk/reward standpoint, this was not a worse play call than Brian Kelly’s, but given the context that this was a Super Bowl and not just a regular season college game, it was arguably a worse play call.

Last night, the Atlanta Falcons managed to top them both.  With 3:56 left, facing 2nd and 11 at the New England 23 yard line, holding a 28-20 lead, all Atlanta had to do was run the ball two more times, even if for no gain, force New England to burn two of their three timeouts, and then attempt a 40-yard field goal that their kicker is going to make about 90 percent of the time to give Atlanta a 31-20 lead, leaving New England needing two scores in roughly 3:45 and only one timeout.

Of course what Atlanta did was call a pass play, which resulted in a sack, followed by another pass play which resulted in a holding penalty which knocked Atlanta entirely out of field goal range.  You can say it’s easy to second-guess given the results, but it was pretty clear at the time that making sure to get at least 3 points on the board was the best option.

Any other horrible play calls I’m missing?

Posted February 6, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in College Football, NFL, Sports

Tim Brown and Jerome Bettis, HOF   Leave a comment

As is tradition, the new class of Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame is announced the day before the Super Bowl.  Two Notre Dame players with outstanding NFL careers finally received that honor yesterday, after waiting far longer than they should have.

There is very little argument with Bettis.  He racked up elite rushing totals while playing most of his career for a very popular and successful franchise.  At least in Indiana, there is quite a bit of noise that Marvin Harrison deserved to go in the HOF as a receiver ahead of Tim Brown.  If you are entirely ignorant of the history of the NFL before Peyton Manning arrived in Indianapolis, it’s a pretty easy argument to buy into.  Harrison benefited from playing in a much more pass-freindly era, and benefited from playing with arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time.

Tim Brown played in a much less pass-friendly era, with a whole bunch of less pass-friendly quarterbacks.  It’s pretty easy to see that there are a lot of reasons other than the respective value of each receiver as to why Harrison was able to rack up much better career numbers than Brown.  On top of that, Tim Brown put his body on the line to return punts and kickoffs 375 times.  Marvin Harrison put his body on the line to return punts and kickoffs 21 times.

Tim Brown played for 16 years in Oakland with Jay Schroeder, Jeff Hostetler, Jeff George, Rich Gannon and Rick Mirer as his quarterbacks and he’s still in the HOF.  If Marvin Harrison had to play 16 years with those quarterbacks, you’d have forgotten who he is by now.

TimBrown

Posted February 1, 2015 by Andrew Cabiness in College Football, Indiana, NFL, Notre Dame

Play the Super Bowl in March   Leave a comment

File this under: Interesting idea but incredibly unlikely to actually happen.

Using the 2014 calendar, February 3 – March 9 is the worst stretch of the year for sports fans.  The February 2 Super Bowl ends the football season.  The March 10-16 conference tournaments begin the college basketball postseason.  In between there is very, very little to get excited about.  Yes, this year has the Winter Olympics, but for annual events you can count at most one must-watch event–the Daytona 500–and even that is the beginning of the NASCAR season and not the end.

Between February 3 and March 9:

  • There is no football
  • There is no baseball (Spring Training doesn’t count)
  • Basketball and hockey are in the middle of 82-game regular seasons, so no single game gets much attention
  • There are no tennis or golf majors
  • There are no horse racing triple crown races
  • There is no Indy 500

To make matters worse, the weather is bad in much of the country (even worse this year compared to most) so you can’t even do stuff outside while the TV is devoid of interesting sports.

So, why doesn’t the NFL shift its season to take advantage of this?  I propose moving the start of the season back three weeks, add in a two-week Christmas break, and moving the Super Bowl back five weeks.  In a hypothetical 2014-15 season, this is what the calendar would look like:

Sunday, September 28 – Sunday, December 21: Weeks 1 through 13, with each team getting one bye during Weeks 4-10

Sunday, December 28 – Sunday, January 6: All teams off for two weeks

Sunday, January 11 – Sunday, February 1: Weeks 14-17, with no byes

Saturday-Sunday February 7-8: Wild Card Playoffs

Saturday-Sunday February 14-15: Divisional Playoffs

Sunday, February 22: Conference Championships

Sunday, March 8: Super Bowl

Now, if this plan has any chance at all in even making to the point of serious discussion, it’s because it would be a major boost in TV ratings.  You are subtracting three weeks in September when the weather is nice and people are outdoors and/or traveling more.  You are also subtracting two weeks at Christmas/New Year’s when people are spending more time with family and TV ratings are traditionally lower.  You are adding five weeks in February-March, when there is essentially no competition from other sports, and also when the weather is pretty bad and TV ratings in general are historically some of the highest of the year.  Also, there would be less overlap with the college football season, which opens the door for more Saturday games late in the regular season.  This could be in addition to or instead of the Thursday night games, which are piling up more complaints from players and fans than they are TV ratings.

An added bonus of taking two weeks off at the end of the year is that it allows teams to rest up and get healthier for the final five weeks of the season + playoffs.  In theory, healthier teams make for better games.

So, what do you think of this idea?  Totally insane?  Brilliant?  What pluses and minuses do you see in such a plan?

Posted February 6, 2014 by Andrew Cabiness in NFL, Sports

Cutler Rhymes With Butler   Leave a comment

My apologies for a postless December.  One of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding my current location is that it is close enough to family that we are expected to visit for Christmas, yet far enough away that it is difficult to do.  Add in the fact that my wife and I both have/had parents who divorced and remarried, and that adds up to four different families that want to see us for Christmas.  The net result was 1,020 miles driven between December 14 and December 25.  So yeah, I don’t feel guilty about not doing much else.

Christmas is now behind us, yet today I am compelled to write because of Santa Claus, or to be more precise, a man who is from Santa Claus, IN.  Jay Cutler has just signed a seven-year contract extension with the Chicago Bears.  Based on initial reactions on message boards and social media, this is a very unpopular move with Bears fans.  Cutler himself has been a fairly unpopular figure with Bears fans.  In his five seasons with the Bears, the team has made only one playoff appearance, which included a home-field NFC Championship game loss to the Packers in which Jay missed the second half due to injury and had his toughness questioned.  He has missed several games due to injury and thus had his durability questioned.  During his last injury, his backup performed at an incredibly high level, which added fuel to the fire for those who wanted Cutler gone.

I will go on record, here on January 2, and say that I think keeping Jay Cutler is the right thing to do.  First of all, NFL contracts are not fully guaranteed, so a seven-year contract does not mean that the Bears are stuck with him for seven years. All that a seven-year contract means is that a higher percentage of the money is guaranteed, but the Bears can still cut him loose after any of the first six years should they desire to do so.

Secondly, there are no better quarterback options available via free agency, and having the 14th pick in the draft ensures that the Bears will not have a chance to draft Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles, who are the two guys that really would be worth getting to replace Cutler.  From Cutler’s standpoint, staying with the Bears is an obvious move despite his unpopularity.  There are several other teams that might like to have him, but none of those teams have anything close to the offensive weaponry the Bears have assembled.  If Cutler is ever going to be a successful NFL quarterback, this is the team that is going to make it happen.

Finally, the main reason I am on board with this move is Marc Trestman.  While Lovie Smith’s nine seasons in Chicago were very successful overall, the offense was usually so bad that it struggled to outscore its own defense.  In Marc Trestman’s first season in Chicago, the team ranked second in the entire NFL in scoring.  If nothing else, Trestman has earned the right to be trusted when evaluating offensive talent, and if he decides that he wants Jay Cutler as quarterback, then that should be more than good enough for the rest of us.

Posted January 2, 2014 by Andrew Cabiness in NFL, Sports

25 Sports Movies I Love   1 comment

There is no rationale for 25 other than I went down a list of sports movies on Wikipedia and came up with 25.  I guess given the name of my blog it would have been cool to do 13 or 42, but I couldn’t stop at 13 and it would be quite a stretch to get to 42.  Instead of ranking them 1-25 I will group them in categories.  I know pretty much every sports fan with a blog has done this category, but I definitely have some unique tastes and promise there will be movies on the list that won’t make many (or maybe even any) other people’s lists, as well as plenty that are on a lot of lists that I am leaving out.  Links are to clips of my favorite scenes.

Movies with which I have a personal connection–not necessarily a personal connection to the movie itself (though one does fit that criteria), but a personal connection either through living in the state/city of the film’s setting and/or being an avid fan of the team/player that is central to the film:

  • Rudy (1993) – I was actually a student at Notre Dame when this movie was filmed, so there really is a personal connection here.  One of the most emotional days of my life was when I got my acceptance letter to ND, and I get choked up every time Rudy gets his.
  • Knute Rockne, All-American (1940) – The “other” Notre Dame movie, featuring Ronald Reagan as the Gipper.
  • Hoosiers (1986) – You really can’t be from Indiana and not have this movie on your list.
  • Eight Men Out (1988) – It’s not ideal that your favorite team is best known for throwing the World Series, but a great movie nonetheless.
  • Brian’s Song (1971) – A movie that makes me proud to be a Bears fan.  When you have a movie like this about your team, you don’t need stupid gimmicks like foam cheese on your head.
  • Remember the Titans (2000) – Maybe a bit of a stretch in the “personal connection” category, but I did live in Alexandria near TC Williams high school for a year.
  • Catching Hell (2011) – Because few things are more fun than reliving the agony of Cubs fans (especially the one at 1:21 in the clip).

Comedies–in general comedies are my favorite genre of movies, so of course several sports comedies make the list:

  • Caddyshack (1980) – Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and a song by Kenny Loggins?  You can’t go wrong with that combination.
  • Major League (1989) – Charlie Sheen “winning” in the end.
  • Happy Gilmore (1996) – I think of this movie anytime anybody mentions Endless Love, The Price is Right, or Red Lobster.
  • Slap Shot (1977) – Not on a lot of lists because it’s so old and/or because it’s about hockey, but it really set the bar for sports comedies.
  • Talladega Nights (2006) – By far the best of Will Ferrell’s venture into sports comedies.
  • The Waterboy (1998) – Not in the same league as Happy Gilmore, but still very funny.
  • The Grand (2008) – Hilarious poker movie where the ending consisted of the cast playing an actual poker tournament, unscripted but in character, that determined the winner.

On a lot of lists–We’ve all seen these dozens, if not hundreds of times:

  • Field of Dreams (1989) – The field in Iowa is still there.
  • Rocky (1976) – No matter how bad the sequels are, if there’s that many of them the original must have been great.
  • The Natural (1984) – Classic Redford.
  • A League of Their Own (1992) – It’s both a “chick flick” and a baseball movie.  What a brilliant idea!
  • The Bad News Bears (1976) – The original one, with Walter Matthau.
  • Chariots of Fire (1981) – Running–lots of running.

Not on many lists–I’d be shocked if you’ve even seen them all, let alone actually like them:

  • Space Jam (1996) – A lot of people thought it was dumb, but I loved it.  I love Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, and Bugs Bunny, so why wouldn’t I love this movie?
  • The Rookie (2002) – I don’t know why this movie stuck with me, but it did.  Maybe because the guy is left-handed?
  • Brewster’s Millions (1985) – Very funny movie with Richard Pryor and John Candy.
  • Men With Brooms (2002) – Any excuse to get Leslie Nielsen on the list–plus it’s about curling!
  • The Kid from Left Field (1979) – If there’s one movie on the list you haven’t seen it’s probably this one–so obscure I couldn’t find a clip on YouTube.  It was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and features the worst uniforms in the history of professional sports.

So, there’s the list.  Any movies on the list that you absolutely hate?  Anything you think is so awesome that you can’t believe I left it out?

A Super-Presidential Proposal   Leave a comment

Before I get to the subject at hand, today is the one year anniversary of my father’s funeral, where I probably said the most profound things I ever have or ever will say.  If you knew Dad, please click here and take a minute to read those words, again or for the first time.

So last night proved once and for all that older brothers rule and younger brothers are just weenies–or something like that.  I read this morning that preliminary numbers indicate that this is the highest-rated sporting event ever (though a 33-minute blackout delay has absolutely nothing on a 125-minute jet dryer explosion delay).  I also heard several talking heads state this morning that the Super Bowl should be moved to a Saturday because a large number of people miss work on Monday after partaking in a Super Sunday party.  The biggest problem with that statement is the one that precedes it–television money will never allow a move to Saturday, or any other day, because of the monster ratings the game gets on Sunday.

There is one other option for reducing the amount of work missed on the day after the Super Bowl, and this is to make that day a holiday.  Now, the Federal Government is never going to create a new holiday just for the Super Bowl.  This is partly because of how politically incorrect it would seem, but mostly because there’s already a Monday holiday in February.  It’s currently the third Monday in February because that is usually the Monday that is closest to Washington’s Birthday (February 22).  However, nobody actually calls it Washington’s Birthday anymore.  Everybody already calls it Presidents’ Day and associates it with Lincoln (February 12) just as much as with Washington, so why not move the holiday to the day after the Super Bowl.  If you want, go ahead and include Reagan (February 6) and WH Harrison (February 9) in the mix as well.

If you like the idea, write your Congressman and suggest it.

Posted February 4, 2013 by Andrew Cabiness in NFL, Sports

I’m (Not Quite) Ready for Some Football   Leave a comment

Fall has always been my favorite season.  It is party because of the weather–Summer is too hot, Winter too cold, and Spring too rainy–but I love the moderate temperatures and the harvest landscapes of Fall.  However, the main reason that Fall is my favorite season is football.  I am a football fanatic from Indiana, and for anyone who fits both of those categories, football season kicks off with a huge bang this weekend as the state’s two most popular college teams (Notre Dame and Purdue) play each other Saturday, while the state’s two most popular professional teams (Colts and Bears) kick off their NFL campaigns against each other Sunday.

Now for a statement that seemingly contradicts every essence of my being: I won’t be watching a single minute of either game.  The actual reason is that I am attending the wedding of a close friend in suburban Chicago Saturday and traveling back home Sunday.  [The groom is also a huge football fan, which serves as ultimate proof that men have absolutely zero input into the date and time of their weddings.  No man would choose to get married at 3:30pm on a Saturday in September.]  There is also some symbolism to this circumstance, as I happen to be 100% fully absorbed in a baseball pennant race.  [Cubs fans can click here for an explanation of what a pennant race is.]

There are 26 games left in the Major League Baseball season, and the Chicago White Sox have a one-game lead over the Detroit Tigers.  I’ve been hanging on every pitch for at least a month already.  I have failed to join a fantasy football league for the first time in nine years because I’m too busy on message boards discussing the merits of giving Chris Sale extra rest, platooning Dayan Viciedo, and whether Hawk Harrelson is the best or the worst broadcaster in the history of baseball.  I’ve been watching so much MLB Network that I just now noticed that my cable company stopped carrying NFL Network two months ago.  I’m even taking off work Friday to head to Chicago a day early and see a Sox game the night before the wedding.  To borrow a poker term, I’m all in on the White Sox this year, and hopefully after 26 more games, I’ll feel like the guy whose set held up and not like the guy who just had somebody hit a gutshot straight on him.

Oh, and I hope that Kate Upton is to Justin Verlander what Memo Paris was to Roy Hobbs.

Posted September 6, 2012 by Andrew Cabiness in Baseball, College Football, Indiana, NFL, Notre Dame, Sports

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