9-13-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Have a good weekend? Mine's not quite over yet actually.

Yep, that's right, I'm writing you from the Writing for the Cycle home offices today on the home-stretch of a three-day weekend.

I don't have anything particularly special planned. Just burning a vacation day so I don't wrap up the year giving any back. I'm sure most of you can sympathize.

In any case, it was a beautiful weekend and there was plenty going on in the world of sports.

How to recap? Yep, that's right, it's a Notes column.

So let's get to it...

Right after the quote.

”When someone tells you something defies description, you can be pretty sure he's going to have a go at it anyway.”
- Clyde B. Aster

Did you see the call at the end of the Bears/Lions game? That play defied desc... wait...

Yep, you guessed it... that's one of my...


Everybody's screaming about how the Lions got hosed... the problem is, it was the right call.

If you missed the play, take a second and go watch it right here.

Lions WR Calvin Johnson catches the ball, secures it, gets two feet in and falls out of bounds whereupon he hits the ground and the ball comes loose.

Seems like it should be a touchdown, right? Not so fast.

Here's the NFL rule that covers this situation:

If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

As you could see from the video, Johnson lost control of the ball when he hit the ground, and didn't regain control before the ball hit the ground, ergo, it was an incomplete pass, the game was over and the Bears beat the Lions 19-14.

There's certainly a case to be made over whether the rule is a good one. After all, when a running back breaks the plane of the goal line, the play is considered to be over. If a runner leaps over a pile, for instance, breaks the plane of the endzone and then has the ball come loose after hitting the ground, that's ruled a touchdown. So why should it be different for a receiver?

Me? I don't know. Seems like that should be a touchdown.

But it wasn't. And by rule, it shouldn't have been. Maybe the NFL needs to take a look at changing the rule. Maybe not.

Either way, the one thing that shouldn't happen - and unfortunately it did - is for the officials to be criticized for the call they made. They don't get to “use their better judgment”. The rule is the rule, they followed it, and got the call 100% correct.

And besides...

Turns out I enjoyed watching football on Saturday more than anything I saw on Sunday... not that it's a shock, I know.

Regular readers know I'm something of a college football junkie. I can literally get up at 10am, kick on ESPN's “College Gameday”, and start watching college pigskin for the next 10-12 hours, and be thoroughly entertained by it all.

On Sundays? Not so much.

First of all the NFL pregame shows annoy the crap out of me. They pack twice as many announcers in the studios as are strictly necessary, which means they need to create opportunities for them all to say something allegedly amusing. It's a waste of my time and theirs.

Unlike the college atmosphere you see on “Gameday”, the scene-setters on the NFL shows are stale. Mostly because the atmosphere in most NFL stadiums is fairly stale. There just isn't the same passion and intensity in professional venues that you see on college campuses. It's just a lot of drunk people with more money than they know what to do with.

Secondly, the games are way too overloaded with commercials. Sadly, this is starting to work it's way into college broadcasts as well, but the NFL games still take the cake. I don't know how anybody can enjoy themselves at the games with all the stopping and starting to feed the television monster.

Finally, I just like the way the college game is played better. I like the wide hashmarks which gives more room for plays to develop on the edges. I like the overtime rules better. And I like the variety of schemes. You don't see the triple-option in the pros. It simply doesn't work there. But in college, you see triple-option offenses battling against spread offenses, or standard power-running offenses. You see it all, and it makes for a more enjoyable game in my opinion.

Each year that goes by, I become more and more convinced that football on Saturdays is more entertaining than football on Sundays.


The Twins took two out of three in Cleveland while the White Sox took two of three against Kansas City... that means the Twins still lead the division by six headed into Tuesdays opener of the final series between the two clubs.

I said it last week, but this race is not over.

Perhaps it will be after these three games between Minnesota and Chicago, but for now, it's not.

I keep seeing people throwing out “if the Twins go x-record, than the White Sox have to go y-record”. While that may look nice on paper (or in a blog), it's a misleading way to look at things. Whatever record you assume for the Twins, that doesn't mean they can't fall apart and come in well below that record.

Look at 2009. People kept saying, “the Twins are dead... if Detroit goes x-record, than the Twins would have to go y-record, and that's not going to happen”. Well, as it turned out, Detroit fell apart, the Twins got hot, and they ended up having to play a Game 163 to decide the division.

With 19 games remaining, a six game lead is significant, but not insurmountable.

After the Twins finish with Chicago, there'll be 16 games remaining. If the lead's 6 or better, then maybe we can go ahead and stick a fork in the Whities and start looking towards the post-season.

Until then? Others may try to do it, but not moi.

Incidentally, the Twins are ideally set up to finish things off this week. They've got their three best hurlers set to take the mound in Chicago. Here are the scheduled match-ups:

Tuesday - Francisco Liriano (13-7, 3.24) vs. John Danks (13-10, 3.54)

Wednesday - Brian Duensing (8-2, 2.02) vs. Gavin Floyd (10-12, 3.91)

Thursday - Carl Pavaon (16-11, 3.47) vs. Mark Buerhle (12-10, 3.99)

Chicago desperately needs a sweep to stay in this race. If they get it against those three pitchers, then I'll be the first to tip my cap and declare them right back in the race.

If not... well, we'll deal with that when we get there.

(No jinx, no jinx, no jinx...)

That's going to wrap things up for today. I'll be back on Wednesday with more college football talk. How did I do with my picks? Who am I picking for this week? Find out Wednesday.

Until then, thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I don’t have any problem with anyone preferring the college game to the professional game; I do however, have a problem with the college overtime format. My take has always been that if you can win in regulation, it won’t matter if the overtime rules are fair. I know most like the college version better because both teams get the ball. But, I’d argue college overtime is an artificial “score-fest” and not real football.

    After nine innings of baseball, they don’t start the tenth with a running at second base, which essentially is what the college game does, allowing you to start a drive in scoring position. In football, the game is about getting first downs and preventing your opponent from getting first downs, and also playing solid special teams. The college overtime is not played like this; you’re already in field goal range without needing a first down. If overtime started with teams beginning their drives at midfield, I’d like it better, but still I’d rather have a tie. I have no problems with a tie. Why scrap and brawl for sixty minutes and then have a field goal kicking contest? I feel college football sold out with this overtime system to get better TV ratings. I believe hockey did the same with theirs in an attempt to remain relevant.