Week 4 in the NFL will be remembered as the week things went back to normal. The ‘regular’ referees went back to work. The ‘replacement’ refs went back to working tennis games and soccer matches.
Meanwhile, the NFL owners and NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, got exposed. To them, player safety is their main concern, wait… I mean, the integrity of the game is of the utmost importance, wait… hold on again, that’s not what I meant either…. Oh, I remember now, it’s Show me the $$$!, yeah, that’ it.
To pick on the group that we all know now (if we didn’t know before) establishes the very integrity of the game turned out to be, what the kids call today, an epic fail. I’m all for getting your house in order financially, and that, apparently, is what the owners wanted Roger Goodell to do. The failure came in underestimating the value the regular referees had in keeping order in a typical NFL game – Don’t know about you, but some of the games I watched with the replacements in charge reminded me more of the movie ‘Escape From New York’ than professional football games.
The thing that most confounded me about the referee lock out is they (the NFL owners and Roger Goodell) were willing to sacrifice their marque players, the Tom Bradys, the Peyton Mannings, and particularly for us Dallas Cowboys fans, the Tony Romos - some of these guys, if not all, make more than all the regular refs combined – in order to squeeze what amounts to chump change out the referees. I was sure, as I wrote last week, that the replacement ref debacle would culminate in the serious injury of a franchise player and only then would the lock out end.
The other scenario happened instead. A game was decided by replacement ref error. Not just any game either, but one involving one of the premier teams in the league, the Green Bay Packers. On top of that, the Packers happened to be playing one of the teams that has been taking the most advantage of the absence of order, playing dirty and taking cheap shots, the Seattle Seahawks – and on Monday night in prime time! The perfect storm.
Integrity of the game and player safety my ass.
Player safety segues perfectly into tonight’s Monday Night Football game and the teams playing in it: The Chicago Bears and our Dallas Cowboys. Let me start by asking a question. Football is an inherently violent s How far will the Dallas Cowboys get this year if their QB, Tony Romo gets injured and misses significant time or the rest of the season? Another question. How far will the Chicago Bears get if their QB, Jay Cutler suffers a similar fate? The answer to both questions, obviously, is the same: Not far. Why on earth, then, would either team further risk that possibility by having such inferior offensive linemen protecting them?
Jerry Jones has kept Romo on the run for years with over the hill players and terrible draft choices. The Cowboys best player, left tackle Tyron smith, is better at right tackle. The Cowboys next best player is right tackle, Doug Free, who sucks, impart because the Cowboys keep moving him around. The center position is a joke. We picked up C/Guard, Ryan Cook, off the scrap heap to replace a horrible Phil Costa, (because of injury, not because he sucks – which he does). When did the offensive line become not a priority? How can a reasonable business man not see how important it is to protect his greatest asset? Jerry talks about windows closing, but does that matter? He is content to throw Romo through that window anyway, shards of glass and all!
The Chicago Bears are doing a similar disservice to their QB, Jay Cutler. It is so bad for Cutler that he yells at and ‘bumps’ his offensive linemen. Cutler overreacts and is a little bit of a baby, but I’ve watched some of his games and he is relegated to the opposing team’s chew toy more often than not. I’m surprised he hasn’t pulled off one of his lineman’s helmets and beat them with it on national television (it may happen tonight).
It’s unfortunate that tonight’s game will probably be decided by which teams QB is still standing at the end of the game. I sincerely hope I’m wrong. Knowing what we do about Jerry Jones and his marketing prowess and his love of his Cowboys and Romo, maybe he has really tried to provide his franchise quarterback a stable offensive line. The latest fiasco by Jerry and all the owners with the ‘player safety be damned’ referee lockout and the inability to achieve putting a cohesive line in front of Romo, I’m not so sure he cares that much anymore.
Points and Observations:
-Around the league: The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense looks old, the New England Patriots finally get WR Wes Welker back involved, the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta falcons are the surprise – real deal – teams this year (at least to me), and the New York Jets, Tim Tebow and all, suck a little bit.
-what a difference a real referee makes, and when did you ever think you’d say that?
-Oddly, the Cowboys don’t necessarily play well at home in Cowboys Stadium. However, they do play particularly well on Monday night. So, that’s something.
-By week 4, the good teams in the NFL start to make some noise. I’m looking for the Cowboys to be loud tonight.