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Commentary from the Edge - Week 16
Kevin Ratterree
December 16, 2008
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I was as proud as the parent of a new baby when the NFL implemented the instant replay system. But as I watch replay grow from a beautiful innocent toddler to a bratty, sneaky, know it all, alcohol drinking, money stealing teenager, I am growing increasingly disenchanted.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have now been involved in two controversial game ending replays, neither of which should have been overturned. Both resulted in money changing hands at the sports books.

These replay bozo’s are really, really starting to torque me off, not to mention they are getting to be an expensive extravagance I had not anticipated. I think we need to send these rogue replay official brats off to military school. Or maybe we just need to send them to the chalkboard and make them write “INDISPUTABLE VISUAL EVIDENCE” about 100,000 times. To be followed by a season of sitting in the corner with a dunce hat on.

There was not indisputable video evidence to overturn the refs decision that the ball was short of the goal-line, despite the fact that the “both players feet were in the end zone.” None. Nada.

If people are disputing it the next day, I’m thinking the evidence was not indisputable.

I’m no genius, but I do understand some elementary principles of physics. For example, when trying to judge whether a football crossed a line of gain from a replay the camera angle would need to be positioned stationary EXACTLY at the line of gain to be able to determine with any CERTAINTY that the ball touched the plane. Any different angle than that, and the call cannot be made with certainty.

The “definitive” replay that I saw appeared to me to be slightly to the inside of the playing field camera angle as the camera panned toward the goal line, and the call was apparently made on that angle. If that camera angle had been reversed to the goal-line side, it would likely have given the appearance of being short of the goal-line. And it did look short of the goal line from the end-zone view.

If any of you replay officials don’t understand the concept of an optical illusion, try this. Take your middle finger and stick it up at yourself. Okay, that one is from me. Now, close both of your eyes. First open the right one. Close it. Now open your left eye. See how that finger moves? The ball does the same thing morons. Now open both eyes, tuck that finger and punch yourself in the face. That one is from me too.

That, my friends was what is known as a judgment call. Yet another judgment call. And that is not the intention of the NFL instant replay system as it has been sold to us.

I would gladly offer my services to the league as a replay official. I understand “job parameters” and will gladly stay within the confines of the rules as written. Indisputable visual evidence. Got it. But even if you don’t want me, I’m thinking there have to be at least 16 people on the planet that understand that concept. Can’t we find ‘em and stripe ‘em?

Speaking of incompetent people in high positions, I caught a little bit of Warren Sapp’s act on NFL Network Sunday morning. The guys were doing a segment called “Buy or Sell” with the help of stock market nut-job Jim Kramer. I only turned to the NFLN because ESPN went to a commercial break, but I was there long enough to watch Sapp do what he does best, make an ass of himself:

Sapp on the Eagles: “That linebacker suck.”

Sapp on the Lions: “I’m going to blow up the stock market if they start selling that.”

Okay, Sapp managed to show a lack of command of the English language and a lack of good judgment and taste in the span of about a minute. Sapp will inevitably end up a liability for those that dare hook a microphone to him.

I predict Sapp’s broadcasting career will blow up. Because that analyst suck.

I’m going to spend the week analyzing the following facts and see what I come up with:

Owens: Targets 92. Catches 46.
Witten: Targets 89. Catches 62.

The Cowboys have looked like a beast on defense since Wade Phillips decided to stop masquerading as a head coach and took over the team’s defensive unit.

All that looks pretty cut and dry, but maybe there is something here most of us can’t see. I’ll get back to you.

Misery Index

10a) Browns: Browns fans worst fears were realized. It was all a mirage. That 10-6 magical season was just a speed bump on the road to nowhere.

10) Cardinals: This looked a lot like a team that spent the week celebrating their first division crown since Moses. You might want to check yourselves. If you can’t survive the Tarvaris Jackson onslaught, I don’t exactly love your chances vs. Romo or Ryan in the playoffs. The owners of this team have had three winning seasons since the 1970’s. And NEWS FLASH, they still don’t have one yet this year. Put down your party hats. Lay off the booze. Step away from the hookahs.  Agree on the snap count before you snap the ball. And try not to embarrass yourselves any more.

9) Broncos: When the other team’s receiver has as many yards and touchdowns as your starting quarterback, it isn’t hard to figure out how that day ends up. So the Broncos extend the already painful turtle v. snail race between them and the Chargers for the AFC Jest title.

8) Raiders: The merciful end is almost here now. Now Raiders fans can brace themselves for the ensuing circus to determine the Raiders next “head coach.” I heard on one of the pregame shows this week that Roger Goodell was the first sitting commissioner to attend a Raiders game with Al Davis in the owners box. Hopefully the commish managed to get his point across during their time together and there will be no need to start proceedings to have Davis committed.

7) Bills: Letting the ancient Brett Favre bust off a 20 yard run against you is like letting your grandpa get over on you with your girl-friend. That was embarrassing. But not as embarrassing as trying a pass play on 2nd and 5 with a 3 point lead and a bit over 2 minutes left in the game. Especially when the quarterback that attempts that pass is J.P. Losman.

6) Redskins: This thing sure did crash and burn. Remember when this team had people jumping on the bandwagon. Zorn actually had people believing. Unfortunately the "new" wears off quickly in the NFL, and the Redskins flaws were ultimately revealed.  None the least of which is playing in the league's 2nd toughest division. So thus winds down another year of disappointment for Danny Snyder. Huh. How about that. Even when things are really, really bad, there is always something I can smile about.

5) Packers: Man, talk about a tank job. I guess when it comes right down to it, Brett Favre fell backwards into a pile of chit and came out smelling like a rose. The Packers still smell like manure. You certainly can’t connect the dots between Favre’s absence and the 5-9 record, but you can connect the dots between a defense that gives up 24 points a game and the 5-9 record. Still though, the Packers brass are probably secretly praying they don’t end up watching Favre in the Super Bowl while they are busy scouting their top ten draft pick. That just wouldn’t look good.

4) Bengals: There are some teams down in this neighborhood that you might say, “hey, they could turn it around next year.” The Bengals are not one of them. The problems are too numerous to fix in one off-season. And given the Bengals history with the current hierarchy of shame, one can only assume the problems here are too numerous to fix in one quarter century.

3) Rams: Rams, Rams, Rams. This is a border war like no other. The Rams and the Chiefs battling it out for the title of biggest losers in Missouri. Hell, the Royals aren’t even in the mix this year. It is unfortunate that this had to happen in this particular year when we have all been concentrating on our Misery Index darling Lions. I mean, in any other year, this girl-fight border war would be the stuff of Misery Index legend. If not for the Lions. If not for the Lions…

2) Chiefs: Mine eyes have seen the glory of the dumping of the Carl. Who would have thought that Carl would "resign" before that douchebag Illinois governor? Ahh, Carl. We’re going to miss you. Like a corpse misses their blood. What will I miss most?  Even when you could build a championship level team you always managed to leave some glaring deficiency, just enough to keep the team at arms length from success. I could sit and reminisce for hours about Carl's achievements. Elvis Grbac. Tamarick Vanover. Mike Cloud. Bam Morris.

But the memory that sticks with me the most was how Carl used to love to save money on kickers. I remember when he tortured the hometown folks in the playoffs with Lin Elliot. That was the game that killed the five year plan in the sixth year.  Boy that brings back memories. Good old crazy Carl. In Carl’s last game before his “retirement” announcement, the Chiefs ‘09 draft pick was resting on the foot of some kicker named Connor Barth whose wide left game ender Sunday may have saved the Chiefs new GM a chance at the 2nd overall pick. Party on Barth!

1) Lions:

Dear Santa,

I have been a very good boy this year. I reduced my foul language in my articles by damn near 10%, I always cleaned my plate, and I cleaned up my room a few times. And I didn’t even mention in this column what a jackass Terrell Owens was for taking a dump on Christmas by wearing that blinking Rudolph nose. I only want one thing for Christmas this year. And you know what it is. It’s the same thing I want every year, but never get. Santa, I don’t ask for much in my life. I am a simple man with simple taste and simple needs. I don’t need money. I don’t need fame. I don’t need fancy cars. But dammit Santa I need this! Don’t you take this away from me Santa! You hear me? I ain’t jokin’ jolly old fat man. There better be a perfect season under my tree or the reindeer gets it.

Love, Kevin

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