Personally I love leftovers. The food variety, I mean. In football? Not so much.
Usually the NFL is slow to react to controversial calls or non-calls from the previous season. Not this year. A classic “leftover” from the NFC Championship game involving the Saints and the Rams has made it back to your fan dinner plate.
Beginning this season, all offensive and defensive pass interference calls, as well as non-calls, are now reviewable. Coaches can use one of their two challenges on the play, but as always, any reviews in the final two minutes of a half must come from the booth.
The new rule will be instituted for only one year, giving the league a full season to test it out. That’s right in line with previous dramatic changes, including recent ones regarding extra point tries and tweaks to kickoffs. After testing those out for a year, both were enacted on a permanent basis.
“I give the coaches a lot of credit and the members of the committee a lot of credit,” said NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay. “We went in with the idea that we were absolutely willing to expand it. Now the question was going to be, how far and for what? And the reason that we made the proposals for the DPI and OPI is that we had data that said these are the most impactful plays. And that’s what replay was designed for.”
Whether the foul is called on the field or not, officials will be able to correct “clear errors” on impactful plays.
So no matter what the officials call or don’t call on the field, the slo-mo TV tape reviewers in New York will decide what the call “should” have been.
I guess that makes Sean Payton feel a little more vindicated about that non-call against the Rams in the playoffs. The leftover of that controversial play now has new life.
My only beef is traditional in nature. For decades the NFL has preached to us that all the “questionable” calls or non-calls will even out for both teams. Apparently the league no longer believes in that traditional adage, which sort of implies that on-field officials are becoming less and less essential to the administration of the game.
I would moan that they’re taking the human element out of the officiating of the sport, except that some calls missed by human refs are so egregious you almost have to wonder if the game has become too fast for human eyeballs in the moment a call must be made.
But now NFL umpires, referees, and judges are in effect turning into leftovers. The sport is turning into a video game with digital monitors.
Another “leftover” thing happening in Philly is the wake of weird publicity from that anonymous “insider” who insinuated Carson Wentz is considered not well-liked or especially approachable by some of his teammates.
Maybe there’s some juice to that story, because now we have the Eagles in full PR mode trying to dress up the leftover with some palatable spices.
Head coach Doug Pederson believes Carson Wentz can grow as a teammate by being more “vulnerable” with his peers, a key part of the maturation process that he saw greats like Dan Marino and Brett Favre go through firsthand.
“First of all, I think everybody can be a better teammate. I can be a better coach. I think being a better teammate would just be sometimes being a little more vulnerable, being a little more accessible,” Pederson said at the owners meetings in Phoenix on Tuesday. “You’re obviously committed to your craft, to developing your skill, but it’s like you want to walk across the aisle and talk to the other side. And that’s all part of the maturation process and the growth process, and it’s something you learn through time.”
Wentz acknowledged he “maybe wasn’t the greatest teammate at times” last season as he battled multiple injuries, worked separately from the group while he rehabbed and dealt with the disappointment of having to once again watch from the sideline as the team had success.
This was in response to a critical article of him on PhillyVoice in which sources described him as selfish and egotistical. Wentz rebutted multiple details in the story but allowed that he is a work in progress. A host of teammates took to social media in his defense.
But now even his head coach basically admits Wentz can be a hot taco to deal with. So the Eagles are encouraging him to tone it down, and essentially dilute his personality to become more of a tasty leftover combination dish.
Back in college our cafeteria had a food service (Saga) which took steak and potatoes left over from Sunday and turned it into shepherd’s pie on Monday— or, as they called it, the “Saga Mountain Climber”.
Me, I don’t want my quarterback to become a Saga Mountain Climber. I want him as mean and spicy on the field and in the locker room as he was born and bred to be. I don’t need him to be my chum. If he feels he needs to yell at me or even ignore me to make me better, I’m down with that. Just win, baby.
Inevitably the sport is being dumbed down by the perceived need to make it kinder and gentler in terms of officiating the games, or more sensitive to the feelings of players who are easily offended by quarterbacks who remind them too much of General Patton.
Speaking of leftovers, how about the kid at Maryland spring practice yesterday who was signed as a wide receiver by new head coach Michael Locksely (formerly of Alabama), but was told there were now too many wide receivers in camp so he had to switch his position to cornerback?
What would you do? Accept the position change, embrace it, or start working on your transfer application?
The kid’s name is Sean Savoy. He had just transferred to Maryland from Virginia Tech where he had been named to many All-ACC Rookie Teams, averaging over 10 yards a catch.
Locksely admitted he may have over-recruited at the wide receiver position, but noted that Savoy had played both cornerback and receiver in high school, so the switch shouldn’t be that big a deal.
Tell that to the kid. He is now officially a leftover.