Given their increased amount of TV time, NFL refs can now join SAG, the Screen Actors Guild, and will be eligible to win Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
The NFL, like MLB and the NBA, is eager to devour itself from the inside out for its inability to apply foresight. Thus, the NFL is becoming flag football.
And there is no greater mindless addition to game-killing “instant” replay reviews than the chance for teams to have pass interference calls and no-calls undergo microscopic, slow-motion and freeze-frame examination.
This added rule is a colossal knee-jerk response to that flagless interference call in last season’s Rams-Saints NFC Championship, a non-call so egregious it stood out as a rarity and calamity.
So now the NFL, in an attempt to treat the aberrational, allows all PI calls/non-calls — the common and reasonably sufferable — to be reviewed, while its TV networks cut to commercials for added revenue.
Then again, perhaps the NFL did exercise foresight, the same as Br’er Rabbit when he begged not to be thrown into the briar patch.
Last Sunday’s Jets-Eagles included 18 accepted penalties, with several more declined. At the same time, Vikings-Giants accumulated 17, not including those declined, thus in all there were roughly 40 penalties.
The irrelevant has never been more significant. A light bump of a long snapper, a slight brush to the side of a defender by a kick-return blocker brings flags. No brief contact above the shoulder of an opponent by an offensive lineman can be overlooked as a common, natural course-of-play act.
No touchdown can be quickly followed by an extra point until it undergoes forensic inspection.
And the only thing taken for certain is that one replay judge’s conclusive evidence doesn’t meet the standard of another’s.
“Momentum,” once a genuine element of football, has been legislated from the game.
And the recently conditioned call of play-by-play announcers after a long TD pass — “No flags!” — no longer means one isn’t coming.
Kansas knew what kind of Dogg they were getting
The University of Kansas apologized for the raunchy, women-denigrating act performed last week by Snoop Dogg, a vulgar rapper with an extensive criminal record — as if KU had been ambushed by Mr. Dogg.
But KU owes Dogg the apology, given that he only did what he does. It isn’t as if he’d sing a medley of Perry Como’s greatest hits.
Gary Bettman didn’t apologize after the NHL paid Dogg to appear at an NHL All-Star event attended by thousands of kids, where he played X-rated rap. And Roger Goodell doesn’t apologize for the N-wording, crotch-grabbing, garbage of rappers the NFL invites to perform at its games, including the Super Bowl.
They get what they invite and for what they pay.
It’s called MSD, Modern Statistical Disorder, and no sportscaster is immune.
That’s why veteran Sam Rosen, who never cited such stats in the past, opened last Sunday’s Vikings-Giants by telling us that Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins is “3-5 lifetime against the Giants.” He failed to give Cousins’ ERA.
Same game: Vikes had second-and-11 from the Giants’ 14. They were in the “all-important” red zone. On the next play, Cousins was sacked at the 24. Was fourth down still a red-zone possession? No one knows, but these are important, telltale stats!
Later, the Giants were in the red zone, then out of it, then back in it — in the same possession. Does that count for two red-zone possessions in the same possession?
Yes, Booger McFarland talks some crazy talk on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” but he pays attention. Monday, after a 19-yard TD run against the Browns by 49ers RB Tevin Coleman, McFarland:
“We give the running backs a lot of love, but let’s watch this center, here, Weston Richburg.” Tape next showed Richburg, listed at 300 pounds — he appears lighter — making a sharp shotgun snap to Jimmy Garoppolo, then sprinting to the left flat, where he applied a block to spring Coleman.
“Athletic offensive lineman,” added McFarland. “You don’t have to be 340, 350.” Good stuff.
49ers defensive back Richard Sherman is another who demands full respect in return for none.
Before walking it back, he publicly trashed Browns QB Baker Mayfield for failure to shake his hand after Monday’s game, for Mayfield’s lack of sportsmanship and grace.
But it was Sherman, playing for Seattle in its win over San Francisco in the 2014 NFC Championship, who nauseated a national TV audience by shouting boasts and trashing Niners WR Michael Crabtree, the man he covered.
Ads dodge Acuna’s loafing
Though Ronald Acuna Jr. is twice seen showboating in MLB’s new “We Play Loud!” image ads — shouldn’t it be “We Play Slowly!”? — neither clip shows Acuna perhaps costing the Braves Game 1 against the Cardinals because he jogged a lead-off double into a single, nor his throat slash gesture that caused the Cards’ Yadier Molina to return the gesture.
The Cards enjoyed Acuna’s “enthusiasm for the game” so much he was hit by one of several pitches thrown at him.
Meanwhile, as commissioner Rob Manfred continues to approve of such “fun” to attract kids, the national epidemic grows, from Maine to Connecticut and now Kansas — lengthy reports of high school and kids’ leagues losing qualified game officials to increased incivilities — including verbal abuse, threats and violence against umps and refs by players, coaches and parents.
Say, where is Colin Kaepernick during this China/Hong Kong/NBA human rights calamity? Or does Nike do too much business in China for him to activate his activism?
Lookalikes, submitted by Bill Parrinello: Tony Romo and Stan Laurel.
A radio ad during Giants football games salutes the devotion of “Go Big Blue!” Giants fans. It then offers details on how such fans can sell their Giants tickets.
All these big TV names signing on with Vince McMahon’s second XFL should be aware that many former McMahon WWE and XFL broadcasting hires omit that gig from their bios and résumés rather than carry the stain.
When new Devil Wayne Simmonds returned to tough-love Philadelphia on Wednesday, after eight years with the Flyers, he was cheered. At first. Later? As Doc Emrick said while calling the game on NBCSN, “Is he being booed now? OK, it’s over!”
Reader Gerard Casey asks if “Danny Dimes,” the nickname for Giants QB Daniel Jones, makes him sound like “some Mafia hood.” Yes. Much too mob-like. From now on it’s “Danny The Chin.”
Phil Mushnick’s column returns Oct. 25.
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