Death By Beli-trick-eration


At least when Michael Scott declared bankruptcy in The Office, everyone at Dunder Mifflin knew it immediately.

When Shane Vereen lined up and declared himself an IN-eligible receiver, who exactly knew what was going on? Vereen, Brady, The Hoodie and referee Bill Vinovich?

Unless I missed it, there was no on-microphone, in-stadium announcement: “Number 34 has reported as an IN-eligible receiver.” That’s what would always happen when a big fat lineman declared himself ELIGIBLE as a receiver. The whole world knew it, well in advance.

I am sure that’s what peeved off John Harbaugh, who is getting little sympathy from most fans, seeing as how he’s a member of the Whining Stomping Harbaugh Clan. I don’t think he’s wrong, however. As nimble as the Pats and The Hoodie are at exploiting loopholes in the NFL rulebook that only a trial lawyer could see, there has to be some degree of equity in how they are applied.

You can’t just say 5 seconds before the snap, “oh yeah, I’m IN-eligible. Just so you know….”


That said, any sympathy I might have had for Harbaugh was cancelled out by his ridiculous use of timeouts that likely cost him an additional possession to try to win the game. Why coaches don’t treat second half timeouts as the precious gold bullion that they are, remains a mystery. Even though one of the Ravens wasted timeouts came before the big 4th and 1 pass to Torrey Smith, I refuse to say that timeout was “justified” by the result. Be ready to call a play and go. And worst case scenario, take the 5 yard penalty and convert on a slightly longer play, or punt.

When the Pats picked off Flacco in the endzone, there was 1:39 left in the game. With all three timeouts left, the Ravens would have put the Pats in a difficult spot. They would need to get a first down, in order to keep the Ravens from getting the ball back with well over a minute left to play.

Usually, teams like to RUN for first downs in that spot (less risky) but seeing as how the Pats had ZERO running game at that point, it would have likely meant Brady throwing at LEAST on 3rd down. And even with the Great Tom Brady, that’s a big risk.

But, the Ravens never got to force that uncomfortable moment on the Pats. Of all the “advanced metrics” now changing sports (i.e. “expected win percentage”) someday, someone will show these coaches that 2nd half timeouts are meant to WARP TIME ITSELF in the final minutes a game.

They are not meant to spend time just “talking about things” to avoid a mere 5 yard penalty.


I was glad to see Vinovich (and later in the day, Terry McAulay) take a no-bullshit approach to cheap shots, trash talk and other “extra-curricular” activities. The league may have done a good job of shutting down asinine end zone shows with props and hidden cell phones, but more work needs to be done everywhere else.

That said, inconsistencies abound. Not only did Harbaugh get a 15 yard penalty for exactly what Dez did the week before, but I have no idea why Tom Brady is allowed to scream in the face of Vinovich over a play that had exactly zero foul play involved. Oh, wait a minute. I know why. A) He’s Tom Brady. B) It’s a home game C) The Commissioner is out from under his desk, taking in a few hours of the brisk New England air with his trophy TV host wife.

Got it.



Turns out, we spent too much time talking about the wrong Cam.

Kam Chancellor is one bad, bad, man. As Richard Sherman put it: “He damages people’s souls.” Aside from the sick snap-timing, line-leaping, twin-near-blocks of Graham Gano at the end of the half, and the “put the baby to bed” pick-6 in the dying minutes of the 4th quarter, the way Kam (KAAAAAMMMMM!) simply ERASES ball carriers who venture into his zone, is a sight to see. The nuclear put-down on a rambling Mike Tolbert who had end zone designs after picking up a first down on a draw play, was maybe my favorite Kam moment.

“Hey, nice run. NOW… it’s over. BOOM!”


It needs to be noted: Russell Wilson is a 3rd rounder. Kam Chancellor a 5th rounder. Richard Sherman is a 5th rounder. And for more salt in the wounds: Marshawn Lynch was acquired from the Bills for a 4th rounder and a conditional 5th rounder.

And Seattle hasn’t even had a 1st round pick the last two years.

This year’s free agency derby did little to slow down the ‘Hawks. As Golden Tate, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond, Red Bryant, Chris Clemons were all told… “see ya fellas. Won’t miss you.”

Even more amazing, was that Percy Harvin was finally healthy and starting to tear it up, and he was sent packing to the Jets for a ham sandwich. Some would even say it stabilized the ‘Hawks season and created a lockeroom of very focused minds: “Hey, I guess TEAM really does come first.”

You don’t have to like Seattle, but you would be a bald faced hypocrite to not respect it.


There will be mixed reviews of Cam Newton’s performance Sunday. Yes, the picks were bad. An underthrown floater, and a stare down. Plus, at least two others were dropped or overturned by replay. That said, I came away impressed. Cam played his ass off for most the day. And did it in the hardest building in the league, against the best defense on the planet, and with his team trailing almost the entire way.

He’s less than a year off major ankle surgery, playing with a fractured back, and with an entirely new wide receiving corps. Kelvin Benjamin is going to be a beast. Cam showed he can stand in a chaotic pocket, keep his eyes up downfield, and deliver some good hard accurate balls.

Combine that with his ability to run for backbreaking first downs on even 3rd and long, his ability to run it in for touchdowns inside the 5 or convert 4th and shorts, and I’d be very happy if Cam Newton was my quarterback. My opinion on him has come a long way from the pouty sophomore slump season.


I wonder how much longer the NFL will allow Marshawn Lynch to do the ol’ “Two-word Answer” routine after games. Of course, I think it’s a joke the NFL mandates that he and everyone else make themselves available. The notion that not fining players who duck the media would result in an en-masse defection of players from the press – and that would result in an even minutely measurable negative economic impact on #thisleague?? – is laughable.

But then again, the cocoon of delusion of arrogance The Shield spins for itself is like nothing else in sports.

A perfect example is the virtual “hostage video” that NBC’s Al Michaels was forced to read during the Patriots game when they bumped back from commercial with a shot of Der Kommissar chillin’ in the stands with the commoners. Despite the fact that NBC PAYS THE NFL A MOUNTAIN OF MONEY (which makes them the CLIENT, not the vendor, thus they should feel free to say whatever the hell they want!) somebody at 30 Rock with a puckered asshole decided that simply letting a 40 year broadcast veteran deliver his own thoughts on the Mueller Report was just TOO RISKY.

Michaels plowed through the tightly scripted narrative as briskly as possible, and without even a hint of trying to “sell it” as his own. Like he was driving through a farm town, trying not to whiff the pig shit.

The NFL is a league that will fine you for what you DO say, fine you for what you DON’T say, they will destroy video tapes the entire league would LOVE to see, then deny having seen video tapes nobody really wants to see. They will make a federal case of Greg Hardy’s fight with his girlfriend that left her with a broken nail, and nothing else. But then shrug when Tim Jennings blasts his way down the road at 100 mph while hammered: at noon!

But don’t forget people: “Together, We Make Football” and “No More!”





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