Monday, December 13, 2010

Shaming The Devil

The NFL screwed up yesterday in the Bucs vs Redskins game.

To compound matters they lied about screwing up.

And in fact the media helped them try to pull a fast one on the fans.

Well, you know me. I'm calling bullshit.

At the end of the game the Redskins were driving on the Bucs and got the ball down to the 12. I know it was at the 12 for several reasons. For one the line judge was standing right on the 12 looking down the line to see if anybody was lined up offsides. For two the ball was lined up on the 12. And for three the official scorer listed the ball as being on the 12 on the play by play viewable on

Now I'm no math major but that means the Redskins would have had to get to the 2 yardline or beyond for a first down. Well instead they completed a pass down to about the 3, and this is where it gets wacky.

The scoreboard, one sideline set of sticks and the Fox broadcast all had the next play as 2nd and 1. On the other side of the field however one set of sticks had the play as 1st and goal. How did this happen?

Well for some odd reason the people on that side of the field put the yard marker for a first down on the 3 instead of the 2 and instead of actually measuring the yardage after the catch on 1st down the officials just decided it "looked like" a first down. Now the thing of it is everything would have been fine had they just called for the chains for a measurement. It would have shown that somebody screwed up in putting the marker on the 3 instead of the 2 and it would in fact have been 2nd and 1.

Instead an official just pronounced it a 1st down albeit VERY quietly.

Notice on the play by play that the only way the official scorer can cover for the officials is to indeed list the ball as being on the 2. But it wasn't on the two. AND THAT WAS THE POINT! If you recorded the game its quite obvious that the ball is on the 3 at best and not close to the 2. Its at least a full 2 yards from the 2. But if the official scorer doesn't list it at the 2 then they are admitting that it wasn't a first down.

Technically the Redskins didn't get a 5th down. What they got was 5 opportunities when according to the yardage they should have only had 4. I don't know if their play calling would have changed had they been aware that they didn't have a 1st and goal but that doesn't change the fact that the officials screwed up that spot.

But what's most discouraging about the whole fiasco is that once the NFL saw that Fox had pointed this out and they went into spin mode, most of the media just repeated what they were told instead of checking it out for themselves. And in fact several were kind of cavalier about it, blaming all of the confusion on the Fox broadcast instead of the refs.

Well at least one journalist, AP writer Joseph White Jr. (no relation) saw the same thing I saw and tweeted this:
Watching replay, I see how #Redskins got "5th down": Chains only measured 9 yds for 1st down. (12-yd line to 3-yd line)

See the only way the explanation possibly works is if the ball was spotted on the 13 or further away. The mere fact that the NFL's own scorer listed the 12 as the spot before the supposed 1st down destroys the NFL's own explanation.

In the end the Bucs still won and for that we are all thankful, but I hope the journalists who so enthusiastically put out the NFL's version of events last night take a second look and question the NFL further about this. If not they really aren't doing their job in my opinion.


  1. I couldn't believe that the refs got this wrong and that no challenge was made by the booth on the supposed 5th down, but I am ignorant on what could actually be challenged at that point.

    I guess the challenge really should have been made on the supposed 1st down catch by Armstrong.

    I'm equally as shocked as you that no one in the traditional media has come out with a play-by-play analysis of the sequence to question the NFL's official statement.

  2. Thanks Steve. Glad to hear you agree. Had a poster on the PR board telling us he watched an explanation and even though after watching it he couldn't explain any real evidence to us other than 'don't pay attention to the lines' We had shown stills of ball placement, brought up game center, and despite evidence wanted to be spoon fed what the NFL and puppets were serving. Another funny point of interest.. I had gamecenter up while watching the game. Game center actually had 4th down listed twice, as everyone actually watching saw it. It wasn't until after that they 'fixed it' despite the fact we know they didn't get to the 2. He also wanted to point to Morris dismissing this. Not only do I think he wouldn't call shananigans but if I'm on the sidelines without the birds eye view and lines to make it easier to see I probably don't notice and just assume the marker is at the right place. Why would you think otherwise?

  3. Oh and to clarify, just as you did we did notice that 1st down play was on the 12 yard line and the 2nd down (supposed 1st down) play was on the 3.

  4. Oh and yes the play calling could have been slightly different. But given the fact they had almost no time left a short pass or run to just pickup the first is highly unlikely. It's almost certainly still going to be the shots at the end zone they took. Either way if you give a team enough extra chances they'll get it eventually. Some have tried to spin that fans are mad at the 'fashion' we won but don't realize the thing that makes us angry is when we're lied to and know it. That they simply won't 'man up'.

  5. This was not the only screwup, they refs missed at least 12 calls on the Skins that I counted and at least 4 on the Bucs, it looked like they were cold and just wanted the game to get done with. How do you miss two horse collars in the open field, someone really needs to teach D.Hall how to tackle.

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  7. watched the replay... it was blatant

  8. Steve are you available on Sunday?Are all these injuries a fluke or is it ime to get a new strength and condtioning coach(I hear the Jets S.and is going to be available)Did you play with The Greatest L.B. Derrick Brooks?If so how did he lead?

  9. I browsed through the pregame shows (until the Giants-Vikings started) and I saw no mention of it. They were all over the Jets coach tripping the Dolphins player (not the league's fault there), the Jackson celebration and the Metrodome, but I didn't see anything on the blown spot. Even Coach Morris seemed to downplay it. There must be an unwritten rule that the league should be portrayed as perfect. And generally everyone goes for it. Kind of scary if you extrapolate this to other forms of potential abuse and media cooperation.

  10. I've been railing on this for years when it comes to spots and the use of chains for first down marking. With the advent of DVR, it's amazing to see how off spots are on a regular basis in the NFL. And the fact that, in today's day and age, they are using the same system for 1st down markers as they used in the roarin' 20's is just ridiculous. Tell me there isn't a better system than a group of 70 year old guys holding giant orange markers with a chain attached to them. How often do these markers get shifted around when said elderly gentleman dozes off during one of the many breaks during a game. In a game of inches, you have to wonder how often this archaic system has screwed teams. It's tie for someone, NASA perhaps, to come up with a better system

  11. Steve, the first 3rd down for the Bucs with just over 13:22 in the first qtr, looks just like the play that Freeman through downfield on against the Ravens on 3rd and short. Again, Spurlock was running parallel to the 1st down marker open. Is that what you saw?