@ November 10, 2008

You know what really grinds my gears? When you get two highly paid professional tackle football commentators together, and they don't seem to know what the fuck they are talking about.

At a critical junction in yesterday's Giants-Eagles super football fantastic number-one throwdown, Eli Manning steps up in the pocket on third down near the 20 yard line and fires a pass to Kevin Boss for a critical first down at the 3.  Uh-oh, I thought.  He looked really close to the line of scrimmage.  And, sure enough, the yellow flag was thrown.  Illegal forward pass, five yard penalty, and loss of down.  The Giants were going to have to settle for a field goal try.
But then I saw the replay.  By rule, a player is considered behind the line of scrimmage as long as any part of his body remained behind the line.  And clear as day, I could see that Eli had dragged his right foot behind him, keeping it behind the line as he threw the pass.  Challenge! Challenge! I screamed at the television.  (By the way, my television is specially equipped so that people on the other side can hear me.  It really comes in handy during sporting events.)

Giants super-coach Tom Coughlin got my message, challenged the play, and it was overturned.  The Giants pounded the ball into the end zone for a touchdown and went on to win the game by 5 points.

Only: Al Michaels and John Madden, the highly paid analysts for NBC Sunday Night Football, did not seem to agree with the decision made by the referees.  Replay after replay showed Eli Manning was clearly behind the stick on the sideline, which is the official indicator of where the line of scrimmage is.  Only, Michaels and Madden did not seem to be looking at the stick.

No, instead, they were looking at the stupid magic floating red line that NBC superimposes on the field to indicate where the line of scrimmage was.  Only, the line was off by about a half-yard.

"Well, I guess maybe the back of his right heel is behind the line," Michaels wavered.  "It's awfully close."

"I don't think the officials are looking at the same replay I'm looking at," Madden blustered. "He looks in front of that line to me."

Newsflash, old man: THE MAGIC RED LINE IS NOT OFFICIAL. The stick is official.  Madden, weren't you a coach at one point? How did you know where the line of scrimmage was back then, down on the field, before you could see where the magic red line was? Oh right, you LOOKED AT THE GODDAMN STICK. 

Now, if this had been a brief conversation I might not have minded.  But we looked at the replay FOR 15 MINUTES.  100 times we watched Eli throw the ball with his foot behind the actual line of scrimmage, and 100 times we heard the announcers complain that his foot looked like it was in front of the fake, magical floating red line. 

Somebody in the production truck must have gotten as sick of their stupid mouths as I did, because they went back and re-adjusted the magic red line to put it in the proper place.  Now, the replay clearly showed Eli behind the magic red line. "We're looking at replay with the line moved to the tip of the football, and you can see he's behind the line," Michaels finally admitted.

"Well, sure he is if you move the line," Madden complained.

I missed the next few plays after that because I was distracted by punching myself in the face.

PS: In today's AP recap:

The Eagles were surprised the play was overturned.  "I don't know what they were looking at," defensive tackle Mike Patterson said.



You know who really rapes my daughter?

Andy Reid.

Really an embarrassing coaching performance by him. Losing challenges on consecutive plays? Maybe that will put an end to the old "throw the flag and hope and pray that it'll get overturned even though there is no evidence that it should be" trick. And everyone except for Andy Reid seems to have figured out that the Eagles are unable to convert third- and fourth-and-short situations by running the ball. QB sneak? Play action? Anything? HELLO IN THERE?

Also, I know the Phillies just won, but watching Donovan McNabb huff and puff and let 20 seconds run off the clock instead of getting a play off before the 2 minute warning must have brought back some nasty memories of the 8-minute drill during the Super Bowl loss a few years ago.

Obviously, I enjoyed yesterday's game immensely (except for the aforementioned grinding of gears).

I missed the 8-minute drill. I went to bed right after the double challenge. (Challenge! Double Challenge! Physical Challenge!)

Did Brad Lidge win the Cy Young Award yet? Is Ryan Howard MVP again?

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