Defending bigger receivers; NFL Rewind
First, it disgusts me in it’s own peculiar way that I feel compelled to write something of an NFL rewind on a Monday morning. Did spectators to the gladiators write blogs about what they witness? Shit, maybe the did. Humans are fucked up.
I’ll take the first opportunity to express how dumb I think fantasy football and gambling are.
(1) Fantasy football. We have no clue what a player is going to do on a week-to-week basis. Game plans change, injuries happen. Yet, we assemble a roster and we pay money to enter a league and just let things play as they lay. We watch as someone like Marcus Mariota — by most objective measures an inferior player to Tom Brady — outscore the Patriots quarterback. It’s amazing.
(2) Gambling, especially parlays and teasers. In all, I picked EIGHT games yesterday. Eight. Two straight up; Four as part of a ML parlay; Two in a 6-point tease. Two straight up games, I won. Three of my four teams in the ML parlay win (F, you Minnesota), so there’s a loss. In the teaser, game one I was a winner; Game two, I was not. Sure, let’s take our own money and gamble with it.
Was Bill Belichick channeling his inner Pete Carroll throwing on the 1-yard line? Was he dumbed down by the two-point conversion attempt by the Seahawks who were up by seven points? It’s the only explanation right? Terrible play calling at the goal line.
I’m okay with the no-call on the game’s final Patriots play. I don’t agree, but don’t take that as a sore-loser attitude. I don’t think it takes a football genius to understand that the game is called differently for bigger receivers. I watched three football games yesterday: Denver-NO, Dallas-Pitt, NE-Seattle. All three feature receivers of super-human size and strength. In Denver, there’s Demaryius Thomas; Dallas has Dez Bryant; In New England, there’s Rob Gronkowski.
All three guys — and Julio Jones is another — are giants. They’re physical. They do as much pushing and maneuvering as the defensive backs covering them. It’s part of their game. But, because they’re so big, they get called differently by the refs. There’s a little more leeway for a defender to jostle and hold and push. For the record, I’m okay with this. But only kind of okay with it. There’s no real solution. They get away with a little bit; The defenders get away with a little bit.
And there’s probably an argument both ways. I watched all three receivers experience coverage yesterday that would have warranted a flag if they were built like, say, Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders, a lithe, explosive player. Calls probably could have been made on Thomas, Bryant, and Gronk as well. It’s a hard game to call, and that’s probably because it takes quantum mechanics to explain what a fucking catch it, never mind what a player is and isn’t allowed to do to defend them based on their size.
At the end of the game, I probably think Kam Chancellor could have had a flag thrown for — at least — holding and maybe PI. But I also think Gronk ran right at him. What could Chancellor have done? Could it have been a foul on both players, replaying of down? I don’t know. And that’s why I’m okay with the no call. I just wish I had more faith that it would have been a no call at any other moment in the game, and not a no-call because of the situation.