Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday 01/11 (Very) Quickie: Cardinals!

And, all of a sudden, the Arizona Cardinals are America's Team.

If you don't have a rooting interest in the NFL playoffs, how can you not be rooting for pro football's most historically hapless franchise?

That was an incredible defensive beat-down they put on the Panthers on the road (for the 2nd straight week, they shut down a high-powered running attack, this time perhaps the NFL's best) -- and it's hard not to watch Larry Fitzgerald in the first half and not say he is the best WR in the NFL.

Here is how wild it is for the Cards: If the Eagles win today, Arizona will host the NFC championship game. Anyone see that coming?

Meanwhile, coaches HAVE to be able to challenge whether the play clock ran out before an opposing team got their play off -- I love that rookie Joe Flacco won his 2nd straight playoff road game, but it is completely ridiculous that a missed call was the difference.

CBB: Nothing typifies how amazingly competitive the Big East is this year than Louisville going to Philadelphia and beating Villanova... Meanwhile, it's amazing to think that a week ago, Boston College was on top of the world, having beat UNC -- now, they end the week with 2 straight losses, to Harvard and, yesterday, to Miami. UNC must be going: HUNH?!?!

NBA: The Grizzlies re-sign Darius Miles, and I'm pretty sure that they're going to dare the Blazers to sue them. Portland won't, and they will be on the hook for Miles' salary. Sorry, Portland: Maybe you should have thought harder before taking on that salary to begin with. Don't look for the rest of the league to bail you out. (Can you imagine this scenario in the NFL? There would be 20 teams fighting to screw over an up-and-comer.)

MLB: Pedro Martinez to the Marlins? (Do they even need him to help their already loaded young pitching staff?) Are the Marlins the new Rays?

NFL Coaching Carousel: The best thing the Lions could do is hire the Titans' Jim Schwartz, my favorite assistant coach in the NFL. If/when he turns around that franchise, it would be the ultimate validation of Schwartz's stats-based coaching methodology.

Pop Culture: Did you catch the song "I Love The BCS" on Saturday Night Live last night? It wasn't all that clever, but it hits on a massive hot-button among sports fans and anytime sports crosses into larger pop culture (or, say, politics) it gets a ton of attention.

-- D.S.


Unknown said...

Dan, my Florida Gators championship basking friend - you have hit a sore point with me.
Not to rabble rouse, but I spent the entire night last night explaining to everyone I know that there are two things about the "blown call", that everybody seems to believe won the game for Baltimore, that need to be explained clearly.
1) The ref has to look at the play clock, acknowledge zero, and then look to see if the ball was snapped. If, by the time he spots the ball, it is in play, there is no penalty. This split second movement of the officials eyes is not instantaneous, or simultaneous, to the clock, and the "non-call" of a delay of game occurs about two or three times a game. the incessant harping on it in this case is not commensurate with the flagrancy of the foul. Refs miss way worse all the time, and no one says boo, because there is no blatant visual evidence that laymen can read, like a clock!
2) Let's examine when and where the play occurred.
It was not fourth and forever, or even third and forever, with Baltimore losing, with ten seconds to go. There was more than two minutes to go, and the Ravens were in a manageable third and two, near midfield. Even if the flag was thrown, the play would then be a third and seven, and Flacco completed a strike over the middle in to double coverage on that play. You mean to tell me he could not convert a third and seven on the next snap in a similar fashion? And the catch still left Baltimore well short of the FG distance they needed. Tennessee still had a chance to hold, and still had time when they got the ball back to come down the field and even it up.
The Titans out-gained the Ravens almost 2-1 (391-211) in total yards, and turned the ball over late inside the 5. Heck, even after being given a short field on the very next possession, they only managed a game tying FG, not a go ahead TD.
So let's add up the factors: 3 turnovers, failure to stop Baltimore late, multiple costly penalties. The "non-call" on the potential delay of game did not lose the game for Tennessee.

But the Cardinals defense might be the story of the playoffs, even if they don't go to Tampa. And the resurrection of Edgerrin James. But that defense... Wow!

TC said...

You were a loser at ESPN and it's only fitting that you have been relegated to the Siberia of the interwebs.

Way to be a typical whiner and cry about the non-call, when Tennesee had multiple othe opportunities to take control of the game. If play was "the diiference", it would have been a game winning play, which this clearly was not. I guess you think the "Tuck Rule" and Bartman were responsible for those losses as well...nothing like a handy excuse for the whiners to grasp on to.