Friday, December 15, 2006

Super Bowl events

Dan Marino will be on hand during the coin flip for the event.
Don Shula will carry out the trophy and hand it to the winning team.
We hear there is no truth to the rumor that Dave Wannstedt will be on hand to take tickets, nor that Jay Fiedler will be there to sell hot dogs.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cheating and spying

There was a report floating around - based on a comment by a player - that some players had bought bootleg videos of Tom Brady and used them to help decipher his playcalls and cadence. Bootleg videos? Does that mean something like a "Girls Gone Wild" video?

Geez. Everything that happens *on the football field* is public record. Whether the Dolphins watched every televeision broadcast of every game he's played in, somehow got a hold of a recording of one of those audio dishes you see on the sidelines, or even if Jason Taylor was in uniform holding a tape recorder during the last Pats game, it just doesn't matter.

How could that be considered cheating in any way? The NFL chose - rightfully - not to investigate.

Used to be a time - before every game was broadcast - when teams had to make films of their own games, and then were required by the NFL to exchange them with their upcoming opponent. Many a coach would send somebody to have a somewhat clandestine meeting with a person from the opposition to change film cans. In those days, getting a little more scoop was valuable.

Today, everything that happens is well known.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pro Bowl Cheerleader

Congrats to Jamie on being named the pro bowl cheerleader. It was funny to see them put the skirt and lei on her only to see them both fall off as she danced, though.

and speaking of QBs

I really don't understand the Daunte Culpepper situation. He came here injured, and may or may not have been ready to play. But, Saban, the trainers, and Culpepper thought he was ready to start.

He did, and lasted a few games before getting benched. Most people would agree that it was a few games too many, because he didn't do much and looked tentative on the field, and certainly didn't lead with any authority.

He was sent to the second team for a few weeks, while he continued his rehab. Then, he was "demoted" to the third team for a few weeks, as the rehab dragged on. Ultimately, he dropped to inactive, meaning there were 3 QBs ahead of him (Harrington, Lemon, and Vick). He had more surgery, and Nick said he might consider moving Culpepper to injured reserve at some point, depending on his rehab.

More weeks pass, and there's a situation where Miami is short a roster spot, and takes a gamble in releasing Joe Berger to free up a slot, and the Cowboys sign him. But, couldn't they have put Culpepper on IR if that was an issue?

So, today, Saban put Culpepper on IR. He said he wanted to have an experienced QB on the roster if he needed him. Okay, sounds fine. But, isn't he injured? And aren't there other QBs out there, should something happen?

And why now? There're still a few weeks left. What changed?

I can't figure this out...I'm wondering if Culpepper will even be around next year...

QB development

I think Joey Harrington has the goods. I liked him when he was at Oregon, and believed he was a good acquisition for the Lions, and quietly wished he could have made it to Miami...

And here it is a few years later, and he's here. Do I think any less of him? Nope. He got a bit of a bad deal in Detroit, and was blamed for a lot of things. And he picked up a few mildly bad habits, which he has mostly put behind him.

But, he never really developed fully as a QB. And I'm guessing that's because he never really had a mentor, or a QB coach who really could help him out. Sure, he's made some strides here (in spite of what some of our local media says about him), but he could still use some help, methinks.

So, I'm going to make a suggestion to the team: why not consider Don Strock as a QB coach or some assistant? He's the guy who mentored Dan Marino, and helped him to develop. And he's currently unemployed.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dolphins clobber the Patriots

Heading in to the game, a few Pats friends of mine reminded me that often New England has a tough time against the Phins.  I figured a close game was likely.
And it started off that way.  Miami took a 3-0 lead in the 1st, and extended it to 6-0 before the half.  Later, a TD was finally scored to make it 13-0, and you knew the Patriots weren't going to go quietly.  How many points did they make up against the Lions?  18?
The Patriots kept trying to drive, and Miami's defense was simpyl relentless.  They had 4 sacks of Brady, and another of Cassell in mop up duty.  3 turnovers.  Countless big hits.  And on offense, Miami just did enough to maintain control and get some first downs. 
Give coach Saban a lot of credit: his gameplan was simple.  Win the field position battle, and score a few points.  And of course, don't turn the ball over.  They were all successful, and Miami found itself victorious.
But, I have to wonder if the loss of Vince Wolfork was the turning point in the game.  Miami was able to run a little more after that.
And I also have to wonder about the decision to go for 2, to make it 21-0 instead of 20-0.  Was that to tell Bellichick something?  Or was it that he really believed that it would make a difference?
And one more point: I appreciate Nick's good sportsmanship at the end.  Kneeling on the ball with under 2 minutes remaining was a classy thing to do. 

Amusing moment

Near the end of the game, H Wayne appeared on the sidelines with some people who appeared to be his guests.  They handed him a camera and asked him to take a picture of them on the field.  I laughed at the sight of H taking someone's picture. 

Then, a security guard suggested that he could take a picture of all of them, and did so.
And a moment later, that same security guard was admonishing them for getting too close to the field.

Tom Brady

Dude lost his cool during the game.  He was yelling at his linemen.  He was knocked down often, and more often than not, he popped up and started jawing with whomever was within earshot.  And who can blame him as Miami's defense perplexed him?  He had a QB rating like Jay Fiedler, and now stands at 2-4 all time in Miami.
To quote a guy who called into a radio show after the game yesterday "It was great to see all of 12 jerseys leaving the stadium, including the one on the starting QB."

More on the series

Again with respect to CBS and the NFL, screen captures are shown here to tell the story...

So, its first and 10 on the 33, after the 15 yard penalty. On the next play, there's a direct snap to Pass. He rolls to the right side of the offense, and throws back to Brady, who throws for a TD pass.

The problem was that the pass to Brady was a *forward* pass (Pass was at the 41 1/2 and Brady caught it at the 39 - you can see him reach out to catch it, and then he has it just before heaving it). So, Brady's pass was a 2nd forward pass, and therefore illegal.

The rule is clear, that this results in a 5 yard penalty for 2 forward passes. There is another rule - a combination loss of down and 5 yard penalty - when the passer is over the line of scrimmage. This did not apply.

Saban was livid, but the ref did ultimately get it right. It was now 1st and 15 for the Patriots.

Then, CBS made it worse by continuing to say that it should have been a loss of down. That was incorrect. So, when you look at the screen shots, realize that the downs are incorrect, and on the 2nd play after the penalty - which should have been 2nd down - the down marker says 2, but CBS says 3rd. Then, CBS says 3rd again when it is actually third.

In summary, what transpired *on the field* was wholely correct. The officials had the correct call, distance, and downs on each play.

Nice going!

And confusion ensued

With about 10 minutes to play, New England got the ball, and stood near midfield.
There was a series of plays that occurred. With respect to the NFL and CBS, here are some screen images that help explain what happened. I have hilighted the down and distance, and copied from the "official" play record.

On first down, the pass was incomplete.
On second down, there was a run for no gain.
On third down & 10 (which CBS incorrectly shows as 3rd and 9), the pass was incomplete.

BUT, on that 3rd down, Bell was called for roughing the passer. That gave the Patriots a first down, after the 15 yard penalty was assessed.