By Columnist Jean-Paul Bergeaux
Making rules about concussions doesn’t change the game of football. Does anyone actually think that Hines Ward had a neck injury on Sunday night? Of course not, he suffered a concussion of some sort. He got knocked out. However, throughout the game he was listed as questionable with a neck injury because if it had been labeled a concussion then he would have been locked out of that game and been under pressure to possibly not play the next week. Don’t be surprised if we find out that this is becoming common with the new rules about what teams have to do about concussions. Players will LIE about it and trainers will be under pressure to look the other way. Would it be better to encourage players to be honest?
Parity continues and it’s making for an exciting 2010 almost every week. Every week seems to be filled with overtime games and last minute wins. It speaks to the parity of the NFL that is obvious when you look at the division standings. 19 out of 32 teams are either in the lead or within 1 game of the lead for their division. An astonishing 24 out of 32 teams are within 2 games of the lead for the division. That means 75% of the teams in the league are not only in contention, but only a division win and maybe one other lucky week from being tied or in the lead. Amazing.
The Cowboys need a competent head coach. I feel for Wade Phillips. I really do. He’s a great defensive coordinator, and desires to be a great head coach, but he just ISN’T. He’s missing some key elements of a head coach that make him able to lead an entire team into battle. We’ll see if long term Jason Garrett has what it takes, but it’s clear that Wade Phillips didn’t have it. This team is loaded with talent, and has been for several years, but they have only one playoff game win to show for it under Wade Phillips.
Things I think I know.
Brett Favre should step aside and let the Vikings move on. The Brett Favre experiment for the Vikings is over. It’s just a question of whether he will play for his own statistical benefit for the rest of the season, or step aside and let the Vikings start the process of moving on. If Favre really cares about the organization that pursued him and his teammates that flew down to convince him to play, he will step aside now. Not at the end of the already lost 2010 season.
Troy Smith deserves a chance in San Francisco. Before his injury in 2008, Troy Smith had earned the starting job in Baltimore and was playing decent football for a young QB. Then Joe Flacco changed Smith’s life forever by having a spectacular rookie season while Smith recovered. After waiting in the wings for a chance for two years in Baltimore, the 49ers picked up Smith as almost an after thought. With a pair of 1st pick overall QBs in Alex Smith and David Carr on the roster, no one thought about Troy. But two weeks and two 100+ QB rating performances and two wins later, Troy Smith has opened some eyes. No one should be surprised, Troy Smith is talented and has never had a chance to prove whether he can play or not.
NFL Network announcing continues to be TERRIBLE. It’s not even close. I think some are wishing for some of the horrible Monday Night Football crews before the last couple of years after the NFLN proved once again that they could actually get worse than last year in announcing. No one thought it was possible; you have to give them credit for that, they set announcing back even further than they did last year in just one game.
Things I know I don’t know.
Are late bye weeks an advantage? The Raiders, Chargers, Packers and Saints all had bye weeks this week. The Raiders and Chargers both had an excellent week as they watched the Kansas City Chiefs fall again and propelled the Oakland Raiders to the top of the division. The Saints and Packers watched their rivals win and march to the top of their divisions. But the question is how much having a rest at mid-season or later helps a team get ready for the second half of the season?
Did Mike Vick just win the NFL MVP? He’s made the Eagles offense look like an arena football team. Scoring 70+ points doesn’t look out of the realm of possibility. If Andy Reid hadn’t decided to slow things down last night, it’s possible they could have scored 50 in the first half of Monday night’s game. He has 11 TD passes and ZERO interceptions, 115.1 QB rating, with 4 rushing TDs and nearly an 8 yard average to add. He’s the Eagles leader now; they want to win with and for him. If he can stay healthy and keep it up, he may have done a primetime leap frog to MVP? Is there anyone who doesn’t want to watch him play? Isn’t that a mark of an MVP?
Is there any way to improve the NFL officiating? Before retiring, Mike Perrera used to like to point out that one bad call in every game (16 a week) would still be a better than 99% correctly called plays. If there were only 8 bad calls a week, that would be nearly a 99.9% correctly called week of games. So how do we avoid the game changing bad calls? It just so happens that the two most obvious game changing calls happened in the same game that was a primetime “season opener” for Thursday night football. That facemask call on the defense that should have been offsetting penalties and the Roddy White pushoff that wasn’t called were obvious bad calls. But can fans expect perfection? Or does a team just have to win in this era of parity by enough to prevent the possibility of bad officiating taking the game away?