Sep 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee (50) intercepts a pass during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

On Replacement Referees and the Ugly Cowboys

Oh – my goodness. I will conclude this article at about 2:00 AM on Tuesday morning so I am not sure the full extent of outrage in the NFL fan base. If my Twitter account (@MrCowboy74) and ESPN/NFLN analysts are any indication, this is going to be one LONG day.

The Landry Hat is a fan blog about the Dallas Cowboys (and I will get to them) but I must touch on the three weeks of unwatchable garbage the NFL has heaped on its INEXPLICABLY loyal fan base. To put it mildly, what we all witnessed last night is a shame to the sport we watch. The referees have been putrid since pre-season but it all came to a head last night, on the last play of Monday Night Football. While one could argue that every play counts, the last play of last night’s game ABSOLUTELY counted. It will count for the rest of this season to the Packers, Seahawks and every other team in their respective divisions.

The B.L.U.F. is this: Golden Tate caught the Green Bay defender (M.D. Jennings), not the ball. And it was not simultaneous possession because Tate did not have both hands on the ball for the entirety of the catch while M.D. Jennings clearly did. If you have not seen the play, the Packers were robbed of a win on the road against the Seahawks. The referees initially ruled the play both a touchdown and a touchback. There was no time left on the clock. The player in possession of the catch in that instance is unable to be reviewed. Then, perhaps the most jarring of all images we witnessed last night, the Packers special teams were forced to rifle through a travel case to find their helmets they just put away so they could run a meaningless play to end the game. All the while, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was giving an interview on the field WHILE THE GAME WAS TECHNICALLY STILL IN PROGRESS. The extra point was kicked a solid 10 minutes after the incorrectly-ruled touchdown in what amounted to a complete disgrace for the National Football League, its owners, teams, players and fans. The NFL owners ought to be ashamed of themselves. The popular target is Roger Goodell, which is laughable to me. Goodell is simply doing the bidding of the owners, which he will always do because that is his job. The greed of the billionaires in this scenario is causing the state we have in front of us today. I do agree the referees are asking for way too much (most notably a pension for a part-time job) but the NFL owners are in perfect position to give it to them by cleaning out their couches. They pay more to sign and outfit extra training camp bodies for one off-season. This is now effecting the integrity of the sport. Imagine if instead of M.D. Jennings, it had been Brandon Carr. Not one of you would be able to keep your lunch down…. I’m about to be sick.

Sept 24, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate (81) holds on to the game-winning touchdown as time expires against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Anyways, speaking of the Cowboys, the game on Sunday did not make me feel much better. The Cowboys defense, once again, played well for the majority of the game. The offensive line, once again, played like a steaming pile of hot garbage. Jerry Jones has given Tony Romo a unit that is going to end his season before it is desirable. In fact, I hate to predict such a thing but I am fairly confident Tony will not make it past the Bears, Ravens and Eagles (twice). One of those four games against a dominant pass rush will not end well for him if something does not change. When the Cowboys play a competent pass rush and the offensive line plays as they did Sunday, Tony will eventually take a hit that he can’t handle. His toughness won’t matter when another Cowboys lineman “oles” an opposing defender one too many times and Tony is blind-sided into oblivion. Grim prediction, but one I am very confident in making at this point.

I wonder how many balls Jason Witten has to drop, how many times DeMarcus Ware has to jump offsides and how many mistakes have to be made on pre-snap penalties by these and other big name players before there are consequences? Are these players untouchable? Based on what? The Super Bowls they have brought home?

Barry Church being out for the year is devastating news to him and to Cowboys fans. Church was one of the bright spots in the development of the secondary. Now they are using their $60 million cornerback at safety……….. Seems legit.

The idea of the week we can apply here is perspective. If the Cowboys had lost a close game on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and then proceeded to handle the Seahawks and Buccaneers in consecutive weeks, we would all be feeling quite confident. Instead, two weeks of poor play have us all concerned about the Cowboys performance and abilities. Either scenario has the Cowboys at 2-1 and first in the division. Additionally, I was apoplectic about losing to a horrible Seattle team last week by such a large margin. It seems as though Seattle is a legitimate threat to all opponents at this point. Bottom line: the season is young so perspective is in order. I don’t back off my stance last week that this team is not going anywhere. However, I do admit they may go further than the hole I stuck them in last week.

Also, Chicago is coming to town on Monday night. Once again, the Cowboys have a (slightly) longer week to prepare. Can they take advantage?

 

Around the Division

Giants: They have obvious holes in their injured secondary but overall this team is still legitimate. They could have easily started the season 0-2 but have battled to tie Dallas/Philadelphia for an early 3-way tie in the division. Also, stop blaming Dallas coaches/Tony Romo for Martellus Bennett’s failures in Dallas. It was obvious to anyone paying attention that he did not want to be in Dallas and did not want to play second fiddle to Jason Witten. The reason he is doing so well now is because he WANTS to and he has the physical ability to do so.

Philadelphia: They have serious issues with turning the ball over, Michael Vick’s play and what would appear as a crisis of confidence in their play-calling on offense. All that said I still am not looking forward to playing such a stacked team. Even with turning the ball over so frequently, they’re 2-1 as well. I’m fairly confident Dallas, New York and Washington would all be 0-3 at that turnover margin.

Washington: I don’t like being “that guy” that says I told you so but…. I told you so. RG3 is great. He really is. But he is not the next big thing, he’s not the future of the position and he’s not the savior of the franchise. At least not yet. Week 1 in New Orleans was played against the worst defense in the NFL right now. The Saints have no head coach, no continuity and no hope that it will get better anytime soon. RG3 may win his 15 Super Bowl titles one day, but he’s not quite that guy yet. Plus, even if he was that guy now, that team has no one around him and won’t for a while because they gave all their draft picks away for next millennium to get him.

 

If you like what you see, follow Mark on Twitter (@MrCowboy74) for all your Cowboys news, updates and opinions.

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