Formerly an email newsletter about all things NFL, it's now a blog about all things NFL, but mostly all things Dallas Cowboys. Probably with a dose of politics, food, and college football.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's not the refs, it's the rules

During Monday night's game there was a controversial call concerning a muffed fair catch. I didn't see it, but I'd like to comment on it extensively. From listening to honest talk radio, here's what I think I hear happened:

The ball was punted. The receiver signaled for a fair catch. When he tried to catch the ball, it bounced off of him and -- before hitting the ground -- into the hands of a member of the kicking team. Turns out that's not legal, and not only did the receiving team get the ball, the kicking team was penalized.

This was the correct call according to the rules. I discussed this with a good friend of mine who is a high school and collegiate official. He wrote,

The reasoning behind the rule is that (the receiving team) says, "OK - fine. We won't advance it but you gotta stay off me until I cannot possibly catch this thing. That means if I muff it high into the air, you gotta let me continue to try and catch it! I promise I won't advance it. Promise!" K says," fine - but you promise not to advance it if you catch it? OK. But if you drop it and it hits the ground, we're gonna smack you, but good."

It's all a series of trade-offs. They also look at Fair Catch receivers as being especially vulnerable to contact while their attention is focused on the kick, and they wish to protect them.

I still think the kicking team should be able to get the ball before it hits the ground while still making contact with the receiver off limits. But hate the rule, not the rulers. Like my good friend also wrote,

I don't write 'em. I just try to memorize 'em.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

It's the OL, stupid

Early in the game, even while Dallas was building a quick and impressive 17-0 lead, Larry Allen was getting whipped. He was getting beaten on running plays by whoever lined up over him, or who he should have picked up sliding down the line.

Then, something happened. Like he got pissed or something. He started... not just playing, but finishing. He didn't look bored. He didn't look like he was just running drills in practice, he was slugging his guy, he was blocking downfield, and he's the reason they ran the ball so well.

Downfield blocking. I hadn't seen that since, like, the 90's.

Give an assist to Al Johnson too. Johnson might only be average, but mercifully, I never saw Andre Gurode take the field. Petitti was good, and so were Witten and Campbell on both sides.

Now if they can just do it again.

I'd like to prop the D too, but I'm not so sure that were really that impressive. I have no idea why Philly didn't run the ball. Even with the deficit, they had plenty of time to grind out some drives, and the Dallas run D had been questionable. McNabb had a terrible game. Dallas got some pressure, but there were plenty of times where McNabb had time and made some horrible short-hop throws.