Summary of Football Insight and Analysis (Part III)
TRASH TALKING WHEN YOUR TEAM IS GETTING WHIPPED?…I attended the Capital One Bowl this year where Michigan State played Alabama and I noticed something peculiar by one of the Michigan State defensive backs. On the first drive by the Crimson Tide, this Michigan State DB did a lot of “trash talking” at the Crimson Tide receivers as these receivers continued to make players in front of him. It did not matter that The Tide were moving the ball with ease on offense and were ahead at halftime 28-0, this DB continued to talk. At one point, does this defensive back realize he and his team is playing poorly and it’s time to stop making a foolish of yourself and shut your mouth?
At what point would the Michigan State coaches say something to this player? This defensive back continued to talk trash well into the second half? If you’re a Crimson Tide player at some point you may get tired of the trash talking. At some point, I think it’s OK to make your point by saying “scoreboard” and leave it at that.
BAN NFL GAMES PLAYED INDOOR AND ON ARTIFICAL TURF…Why can’t the NFL act like the English Premier League or Bundesliga in soccer (European football) where all soccer games are played outside and on real turf? I don’t mind that each NFL stadium has personality and is unique in their own way. You can have different stadium configurations, different weather considerations, different scoreboards and different fan intensity but play the game outside on real turf. The NFL should mandate at least these two things to keep the game as competitive and consistent as possible.
SUSPENDED IF YOUR FINES EXCEED A CERTAIN LIMIT…I heard on the Dan Patrick radio show some time ago about the possibility that the NFL will suspend players for one or two games if their fines throughout the year reach a certain level. For example, James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been fined various amounts at least 3 to 4 times in this season, if he reaches $100,000 for the year or a specified amount, will the NFL suspend him for a game? In this scenario, fines would accumulate throughout the year and players will be punished if it exceeds a certain amount. I really like the idea because in some situations, fines are not a deterrent enough. If you suspend them for one game, this may have a greater effect on what the NFL is trying to accomplish. Agree?
HELMET TO HELMET OR OTHER RECKLESS HITS…If a defensive player engages in a helmet to helmet hit or another questionable hit and injuries his opponent, should the defensive player who caused the injury have to sit out as long as the offensive player is injured? Could this ever catch momentum within the NFL? If an injury is within the guidelines of the game, indeed no suspension would be warranted. I know this is a violent game and injuries are a big part of the game, but the NFL may need to look at deterring these types of hits as much as possible.
WHO DECIDES WHEN A RETRACTABLE ROOF IS CLOSED?…For example, the roof has been closed at Lucas Oil Stadium when the temperature in Indianapolis falls below 70 degrees? Are there high and low temperatures guidelines they follow in terms of when and why they play outdoors or close the roof? It would be nice for the announcers of that particular game to provide some background and insight. Possibly improve the quality of your coverage?
MIKE MCCARTHY OF THE PACKERS − BE CAREFUL WITH THE STEELERS… From afar, it appears that sometimes, Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers do enough to win. Sometimes, it appears they don’t play to win but play not to lose. Using this season as an example, this strategy may work against the Eagles or Bears, but I suspect this won’t work against the Steelers. If they tighten up late in the game and when the score is close and rely solely on their defense, at some point the Packers will get burned.
For example, I’ve seen some Packers’ games this year where the Packers do very little with the ball offensively with 3 to 5 minutes left in the game being ahead by a field goal or 6 points. They may “clam up” and get tight and not “go for the gold” while on offense. Perhaps their offensive play calling becomes too conservative. Run, Run, Run or Run, Run, Throw. Too predictable! Why always risk relying on your defense as the last wall of protection?
Mind you, their defense is very good and opportunistic, but be careful. At some point with a few minutes left in the game with a small lead, if your defense fails you, your opponent could score with little time remaining and win the game. Think about the number of times Peyton Manning has done this over the years, scored with only a few seconds left on the clock. I’d consider an alternative approach. If the Packers get the ball with 2 or 3 minutes left in the game, don’t get too conservative. Of course you’re taking a chance of a turnover. That’s a chance you’d have to live with. Why not execute some effective plays which are less risky? Especially if you get to your opponent’s side of the field. Worst case scenario, you turn the ball over, your defense typically will get one more shot. If it’s a pick-six, you’ll get the ball back one last time. Best case scenario, you gain a few first downs and run out the clock. I think that’s the Steelers’ mantra – get the ball on offense, be effective and play some “smash mouth” football so their defense is not tested. Why test your defense when sometimes the best defense is your offense?
If the Packers have a slight lead with a few minutes to go, I hope Mike McCarthy has the courage to trust his offense to control the rest of the game. It’s a strategic decision currently not used much in the NFL but one which could pay dividends if executed properly. Play to win and don’t play not to lose. At least that’s my philosophy. Would you agree?
FOX NFL COVERAGE IS SOMETIMES CONFUSING…During this past season, Troy Aikman of Fox Sports called Chicago a great sports town. What does this mean? Or for that matter, what do most announcers or commentators mean when they say such and such city is a great sports town? Are they merely pandering to the sports fan? Do they mean Bears’ fans are loyal and proud to back their team? Or maybe they are great fans regarding of the ticket prices or the team’s success? We need qualification for this type of statement?