By: Patrick Imig (Tweet @patrickimig)
Cold Hard Football Facts classy pundit sacker
Drew Brees' 5,087th passing yard for the 2011 season was a milestone moment for sure. ESPN and Monday Night Football couldn't have scripted the end of their regular season of telecasts any better. Well, that's not actually true because the final touchdown pass and record breaking throw could have come in a nail-biting finish. And to be really greedy and hammer home the point, Oprah Winfrey
could have been in attendance cheering for the Falcons.
Hypothetical scenarios be damned. Brees' record setting completion occurred at the end of a mismatch. Naturally, this doesn't sit well with some of the holier than thou pundits who wonder what kind of a man Drew Brees and Sean Payton really are. Let's turn to longtime CHFF whipping boy turned CHFF convert Pete Prisco of CBS Sports. Said Pete
“There is a chance (the Saints) will play the Falcons again in two weeks. If they do, they will be facing a team that sure didn't take too kindly to the way Brees broke the record. Nor should they have.”
Interestingly, Prisco points out later in his column that Falcons players didn't take too kindly to Saints players celebrating on the Falcons logo last year in the Georgia Dome (fake urintating has that effect). The Saints are 2-0 against the Falcons in 2011, making this a moot point.
“Respect? The Falcons players didn't see it that way. Nor did much of their staff. The players I talked to all thought it was classless.”
The players Prisco talked to who said it was “classless” are anonymous in name, if you're wondering.
“The way I see it, what should have been a truly special moment, something that should have happened in the context of the game, and made it tainted with questions. It won't overshadow what truly is a special record for one of the greatest passers of this generation, even ever, but it does take some of the gloss off of it.”
Translation: it's not a big deal. A truly tainted record is one filled with cheating and scandal. Ryan Braun's 2011 National League MVP is tainted after he tested positive for PED's, for example. Barry Bonds … you get the idea.
Anyone who recalls the season Brees broke Marino's record will remember the fact that he threw for 5,000+ yards. Getting it done in front of the home crowd (and worldwide viewing audience) and eliminating it as a topic of discussion for the following week was the smart thing to do.
Have a seat in the pundit dunking booth, Pete. It's been a while. You'll be joined by Yahoo! Sports Jason Cole. Said Cole
"The lingering question that surrounds the whole thing is just how classy the move was and, more important, if Atlanta can do anything about it. The 9-6 Falcons will return to 12-3 New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs if the NFC seeding holds form after the final week of the season ... Classy? Not so much, and Payton pretty much admitted that when he said he stretched his ethical standards for this situation."
Unlike the previously mentioned Prisco, Cole quoted Falcons players by name who said they didn't mind.
Sean Weatherspoon: “No man, it’s our job to stop them. I can’t say I’m upset by them running up the score or anything like that when I had a chance to make a play.”
Roddy White: “We didn’t make plays. We had to make plays, stop them and do our job, not worry about what they’re doing. Now, in a couple of weeks if we have to come back here, I might feel different. [But] not now.”
The lesson to be learned? When you have the chance to break the record, you do it. Scoring a late touchdown isn't cheap or scandalous. End of story.
DEAR NFL NETWORK
During Saturday night telecasts, you can lift the “Thursday Night Football Special” graphic in favor of something that says, I don't know, “Saturday Night Football Special”. Ditto for the “Thank God It's Thursday” phrase on the bottom of the graphics. Saying Thank God its Thursday during a Saturday night game would be confusing to anyone, especially those who just awakened from a coma or surgical procedure.
MERRIL HOGE STOPS IN FOR A 2011 FAREWELL
Following Week 15, the idea that the Chargers could reach the playoffs as a "dangerous" team and even that the Chiefs could make the playoffs was the preferred pundit flavor of the week. With those two scenarios out of order, the idea that the Packers are a very beatable team still lives. This isn't to suggest the rest of the league has no shot at stopping the defending Super Bowl champions on their quest to repeat. But when longtime Pigskin Detention offender Merril Hoge is toting that rock, well, yeah, let's take a look.
Here's Hoge's analysis of the Packers Sunday night victory over the Bears.
“The problem is the Packers get smacked around on the football field and that happened actually (Sunday) night. They're defense got gashed, got hammered against a 3rd string quarterback and 3rd string running but up front, I mean just getting manhandled!”
The Bears turned the ball over! Had they not turned that ball over, it's a different scenario ... the Chicago Bears in that first half, they handled the Green Bay Packers offense. They did that just like the Kansas City Chiefs, the difference is they started to turn the ball over when they got in scoring territory.”
It must be really nice to get manhandled in the first half of a game and only give up 3 points. Hey Merril, the Packers have forced 29 interceptions in 2011. As Philip Rivers pointed out several weeks ago on these pages, "that's a good pass defense"
. And while it's true the Packers have slipped defensively from their 2010 campaign, it's also true they're still 8th in Defensive Passer Rating
(compared to 1st in 2010). Up front, the Packers were 10th in Defensive Hog Index in 2010 compared to a meager 25th through 16 weeks in 2011.
... the Packers are first in Passer Rating Differential this season, just as they were in 2010. What it all means? You can afford to give up yards as long as you force turnovers and keep opponents out of the end zone. And when you don't force turnovers, you can rely on your offense led by Aaron Rodgers to bail you out. Only when the defense fails to force turnovers AND the offense fails to punch it in are you doomed to defeat. This is why the Packers are 14-1. And why Merril Hoge is and forever will be: A) a man with a ridiculously large tie-knot and B) a perennial trouble maker in Pigskin Detention.
TERRY BRADSHAW COULDN'T ID KYLE ORTON IN A LINEUP
I guess I can respect the candor and honesty, but come on Terry. From Bradshaw's Fox Sports column
about Kyle Orton facing the Broncos:
"He’s returning to play the team that cut him loose and put him on the streets, so to speak. This is going to be an emotional game and I don’t know him well enough to say how he’s going to respond to all that.
I really don’t know that kid. If he hit my car, I wouldn’t know him. I want to say Orton will play well — he has had two very good games for the Chiefs — but can he control his emotions and play within himself?
Yo, State Farm Insurance, here's your next TV ad featuring NFL quarterbacks. Kyle Orton, driving his pickup truck, crushes Terry Bradshaw in his Prius, turning it upside down in the process. Bradshaw calls the insurance agency to find out what to do (one too many concussions, maybe) and the agent instructs him to take down the information of the other man involved in the accident. Bradshaw does but refuses to believe Orton is who he says he is as an homage to the discount double check commercial featuring Aaron Rodgers.
Then we find out Bradshaw isn't insured by State Farm, and Orton drives off while an upside down Bradshaw (still in turned over car) continues talking to anyone who will listen. Orton mentions he has a party to catch
. End scene.
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