Every now and then, we get what I call in sports radio a “buffalo” of a topic. A game, a play, a call, a controversy, a scandal, etc. that is something so big, and with so many edible and usable parts … that it’s like the natives slaying a buffalo that will not just feed them for weeks, but they’ll use every part of the beast for something.
Well, the Bengals implosion on Saturday night, was more like a sports radio WOOLY MAMMOTH. It’ll feed everybody for a long, long time.
Make sure to tune in Monday on Yahoo Sports Radio and other venues to get the full digest, but for today let me just summarize a few things, and offer a quick suggestion or two.
a. Isn’t it great that the league, the refs, the players, the coaches, and the fans all have NO IDEA exactly what is a… catch or a legal tackle? The Bryant TD catch was amazeballs. And in my world, I WANT that to be a catch. But the way it’s been called all year… no…. that usually gets overturned.
b. There is something Called “Article 8” which deals with leading with the crown of the helmet. Ryan Shazier CLEARLY used the crown to knock Bernard OUT on that hit. It’s a penalty. Although it’s seldom called. Whether Bernard was “defenseless” or whether Shazier delivered “incidental” contact are the kind of nuanced words in the rulebook that only invite more controversy. Those words need to be eliminated, and the rules greatly simplified.
c. Whatever your take on Vontaze Burfict’s hit on Antonio Brown, it’s undeniably a losing football play. That kind of “drive by” shoulder truck-sticking of a guy, gets called a penalty by the refs ALL THE TIME. A good player, avoids plays that will draw a penalty. Burfict knows this. He doesn’t care. He’s probably the dirtiest player in the league in the last 20 years.
d. Of course Joey Porter should not have been on the field. Yes, you could have called a penalty on him for running his mouth at PacMan. But somehow, he was allowed out there. And the man who once got angry after getting kicked out of a strip club for making it rain, then had his gangbanger buddies come back and shoot up the place, fell for the bait. Incredibly devious by Porter, and it worked.
e. Of course Marvin Lewis is to blame, at least for one thing. He had NO coaches of his own on the field, to forcibly separate and remove his hotheaded idiots from the referees and Joey Porter. A better coach, would have sent every sideline bouncer out there, to get his idiots over to the sidelines.
Which brings me to a simple suggestion to perhaps help avoid these kind of debacles in the future.
Call it the “Hashmark” rule.
It would go something like this: “When the game officials are sorting out a penalty, and a “hashmark” signal is made clearly, then both teams are required to immediately retreat OUTSIDE of their own side of the field’s hashmarks and remain there until the referees signal the all clear. ANY player who violates the hashmark zone will be flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and is subject to possible ejection.”
That would at least give the referees a wide, clear, zone to discuss the call, without having to push, coddle, escort, calm down, hold back, and generally listen to a bunch of psychotic grown men arguing about a call. It would also help mitigate, if not eliminate, all the trash talking and secondary fights that break out.