Time to repair the NFL this is getting out of hand
December 19, 2017 3:00 AM
by Alan Berg
As a kid, I grew up watching Walter Payton diving over an entire group of giant men to score touchdowns making my young self a Chicago Bears fan. Coupled with my father, older brothers, mother and grandmother watching the NFL games I was hooked. It was just a part of my fall/winter on Sundays.
Now I have no idea what sport I am watching, no one knows what a catch is. We’ve seen it over and over and instead of fixing the rule this offseason the NFL just made it more ridiculous. And now it’s likely the Pittsburgh Steelers have to go to New England to try and make the Super Bowl rather than vice versa.
Hopefully you didn’t have to see the play I am referring to but if you did you clearly saw Steelers TE Jesse James catch the ball, turn and reach the ball over the goal line. As he went to the ground after crossing the goal line, the ball hit the ground and moved in his hands, thus by NFL rule it is an incomplete pass. The disconnect is – had James been carrying the ball like a running back on a run play and did the exact same motion the play ends the second any portion of the ball reaches the goal line. Unfortunately the rule is different for receivers and runners.
To me, the quick fix is let’s say if a receiver has possession of the ball with two feet in bounds, it’s a catch. If the player goes to the ground and loses the ball it’s a fumble. There, simple.
Another rule fix needed badly is the dumb fumble reaching for the pylon. At the end of Raiders-Cowboys game the exciting ending was stolen when Derek Carr reached for the endzone and going out of bounds lost the ball. It rolled out of the endzone right next to the pylon. I realize this rule has been around a long time but the Cowboys did nothing on this play to earn a turnover and 20 free yards. At the absolute worst it should be Cowboys ball at the one, but I think it puts the ball at the 1-yard line for Oakland. Another rule I would like to see go.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Well, with two weeks left to go things are starting to finally take shape in the NFL. With the lucky break in Pittsburgh, New England looks to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC with only home games left against Buffalo and NY Jets. The Steelers head to Houston next week for a Christmas night game and close out home vs. Cleveland.
A slip up by Brady and NE would open home field back up for Pittsburgh with a schedule like that.
Over in the NFC, the Eagles maintained a one game lead over the Vikings as QB replacement Nick Foles played well against the Giants.
That said, the Eagles did look shaky at times and you will have to wonder what they will look like come playoff time.
As far as the rest of the playoffs, well, it’s as usual a mess. Jacksonville needs a win this week at San Francisco and the division is locked up before having to play at Tennessee in Week 17. There is an outside chance at a bye week but with opposition facing the two teams in front of them they are likely locked into the No. 3 seed.
Kansas City came back to life at the exact right time and with a win this week will hold off LA and Oakland. Thankfully that race is nearly over.
The Titans sit at 8-6 along with the Bills and Ravens. Baltimore needs to hold serve at home vs. the Colts and Bengals, they should and clinch a playoff berth. Buffalo will likely miss because of losing to New England this week. While Tennesee may or may not still be in the divison race but still likely gets in with one loss. The Chargers are a game back and need help.
Eagles, Vikings, Rams and Saints all took care of business and should maintain their respective leads over the NFC. So let’s focus on the wild cards.
Carolina is tied with the Saints but loses the head-to-head tiebreaker. They host Tampa next week and travel to Atlanta for Week 17.
The Falcons with a win against Tampa last night, would have a game lead over Detroit, Seattle and Dallas.
Tough task, though, beating NO and Carolina, so there is hope for the three trailing. Lions at Cincy, host Pack. Seahawks vs. Cowboys winner still in, loser out game. And Detroit closes at home against Green Bay and Cowboys are on the road at Philly. The NFC race is exciting to say the least.
ACCOUNT BETTING: One thing I hear a lot is people saying they want to have a Strip-based sports betting account but don’t want to deal with the parking fees and long walks. One cool thing about Caesars is the Rio is part of the company and the Rio has free parking. It’s a great spot for locals to get in on the Caesars sports app without having to deal with the Strip.