published Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

5-at-10: Replacements, POW-er poll and UT-Georgia

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...

  • photo
    Officials signal after Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate pulled in a last-second pass for a touchdown from quarterback Russell Wilson to defeat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 in an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, in Seattle. The touchdown call stood after review. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Defining moment

There are moments in sports that we know will be permanent. Some are for greatest — think Kirk Gibson's one-legged homer in 1988, MJ's shot over Bryon Russell in the 1998 Finals or even David Tyree's catch. Some are for the not so greatest — the ball bouncing off Jose Canseco's head for a home run, the ball going through Buckner's legs, Scott Norwood's missed kick ("Laces out DAN!").

Some are simply historic — Buster Douglas dropping Mike Tyson, Lo Charles dunking Houston in the most influential sports play ever. (Explanor: Lorenzo Charles' dunk to win the 1983 NCAA title lifted little-known N.C. State coach Jim Valvano into celebrity status, Valvano became a big-time college hoops figure and when he died of cancer, the sports world galvanized around his death and has raised more than $100 million to fight cancer. Is there another sports play that has done that much good? We say no way.)

The NFL replacement referees had their defining moment late Monday on the final play of Seattle's 14-12 win over Green Bay. Here's a Youtube of the play http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXDs1YQO04k.

There are several things to discuss here. Let's break them down old-school — John Madden style. Here's how pretend old-school Madden would review:

"First off, the play was just the last part of a rough night for this crew. BAM — Jon Gruden, a 5-at-10 favorite not known for restraint, was controlled and consistent with his complaints about the officiating. What about that Gruden, huh? Great coach who could be a great announcer, but WOW, that's bad hair.

"Now, we get to the end and there's craziness and you got big guys looking for other big guys and that little fellow Russell Wilson is back there running around and running around. John Madden has had breakfasts bigger than Russell Wilson for crying out loud.

"Where were we? Oh yeah the final play. The pass, the offensive interference, the double catch and then the refs coming in and making separate calls, and they stick with the wrong call. Heck, Stevie Wonder called and, Stevie's a hugh Seahawks guy, and even Stevie said, 'Wow, they missed that one.'"

Thanks pretend John. We promise to come back to you later this fall.

Now off the field, let's look at the fallout from this. First, the Green Bay Packers are now 1-2. One of the NFL's most popular franchises and a preseason pick by many to make the Super Bowl is behind the 8-ball three weeks into the season. If they miss the playoffs, well, here's saying this play will factor in greatly.

Secondly, after last week's story that Vegas lines makers were shaping point spreads toward the home teams because the refs were trending calls toward the home teams, this justifies that measure chapter and verse. Plus, the spread on this game was Green Bay minus-3.5, so the Seahawks (the home team) covered the spread with this play. And while we have ZERO proof that any shenanigans were at play here, when it comes to sports gambling and conspiracies, pro sports league can never be too careful. And for the record, the reported amount of action that was affected was roughly $200 million. Perception can be reality and vice versa.

Third, replacement referees now becomes THE story in the NFL. Think about it this way: We're less than 48 hours from the Titans winning one of the most thrilling games in their history and doing it 100 miles away from our desk, and all anyone will talk about today is the blown call 2,500 miles away that most of us didn't see live.

We've said it before and sadly we'll probably say it again, but the NFL is risking the reputation, the status and the future of a $9 billion (yes, billion with a 'B') industry for a few million bucks.

This must be fixed now. Not tomorrow, not after breakfast, not next week. Now. Period.

And know this, the regular officials need to strike while the public opinion is in their favor. If this is not rock bottom for the replacement refs, then it's at least in the team picture. And the regular refs are not going to be in a better bargaining position than today.

Let this moment pass — especially when the NFL starts spinning the demands of the regular refs that include pensions for guys that technically have part-time jobs in an economic culture where no one is getting pensions with full-time jobs — and then the pendulum will swing. Because eventually these refs will get better, and when the public outcry comes and goes, the regular refs will be the former refs.

Guys, it's time for this to end. For everyone's sake.

————

  • photo
    Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws under pressure by San Diego Chargers defensive end Vaughn Martin during the first half of an NFL football game in San Diego, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NFL POW-er Poll

On to the POW-er Poll (abbreviated version since we're already running long). And raise your hand if you had the Patriots, Steelers and Packers each at 1-2? Yeah, we didn't either.

1) Atlanta: Who has a more complete passing game with quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver tandem Julio Jones and Roddy White, and ageless tight end Tony "Ponce de Leon" Gonzalez? And in a pass-first, pass-most and pass-last league, that's a good thing.

2) Houston: The Texans are in the proverbial cat-bird seat — they are one of the league's best teams in the NFL's worst division. Although we're still not sold on QB Matt Schaub's ability to play the entire season.

3) Regular NFL referees: Who has more street cred than those guys right now? And when they come back, there won't be a soul complaining about a call for at least like 11 minutes. Seriously, Roger Goodell has been accused of having too much power. We never thought that, considering he has guided the league to unprecedented heights and the undeniable top spot in the nation's sporting view, and in his case, the ends justified the measures. But he if does not fix this mess today, then his mad consumption of power was purely selfish. It's all well and good to wear power suits and jet set and rule with an iron hand in player issues as long as the league is cruising. Well, this mess is screaming for direct and immediate action, and well, Mr. Goodell are you ready for your close-up? Fix this in time for week 4 and issue an apology on behalf of the NFL as a whole. Now.

4) Arizona: The NFL is the baseline for the sporting truth that you are what your record says you are. The Cardinals are unbeaten. They are imperfectly perfect, but aren't we all?

5) San Francisco: Everyone relax. Yes, the 49ers laid an egg Sunday against Minnesota. Everyone lays an egg every now and then. Just ask Roger Goodell.

————

Tennessee-Georgia, T-minus 4 days

We've been thinking about what it would take for Tennessee to beat this Georgia team.

Miracle? Maybe.

Masterful game plan? Almost assuredly.

Mindful measures by many. For sure.

Let's examine those three:

Miracle: If you would call a Tennessee win over Georgia this Saturday in Athens a miracle, that's more of a compliment to the Bulldogs than insult to the Vols. This Georgia team is well-constructed and star-laden.

Masterful game plan: Tennessee's strength is its passing game. Georgia's defense is on the short list of the elite in the country as our SEC ace David Paschall tells us here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/sep/25/uga-needed-time-with-3-4-d-ut-now-uses/. Tennessee coaches are going to have to craft a thoughtful plan that gives the Vols the best chance to have success running the ball. We know a lot of Johnny Vols Fans that are less than enamored with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's aptitude. Well, Coach Chaney, this is a chance to make believers out of a lot of doubters.

Mindful measures by many: For the Vols to have success Saturday in Athens, it will take more than alliteration and catchy catch phrases. At least three Vols will have to have career days, and one of them has to be an erratic California quarterback known as much for his one quarter back tat than any one quarterback stat. Let's list three:

Tyler Bray: It's time gunslinger. It's time to meld potential and production against an upper-echelon foe. It's time to make the throws in tight windows with pressure and pounding and pursuit all around. It's time.

Curt Maggitt: We believe there will be no fewer than six NFL first-or-second-round defensive players on the field Saturday. Georgia has five — Jarvis Jones (who could go No. 1 overall), Jonathan Jenkins (first-rounder), safety Shawn Wiliams, safety Baccari Rambo (who is listed as the starter at free safety on the UGA web site), inside linebacker Alec Ogletree (who also is listed as the starter on the UGA web site) — and Tennessee has A.J. Johnson. A.J. is a stud, but he needs a running mate against the super-duo of freshmen runners, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. (Side note: The tandem of Gurley and Marshall has been dubbed "Gurshall" with all due respect and rhyme to Herschel Walker.) Mr. Maggitt, please pick up the orange emergency phone. You're presence is needed in the spot light.

Derek Dooley: Hey, there are a slew of UT players — Raijon Neal, Byron Moore, any UT kicker since John Becksvoort, et al. — that could overachieve and help shape this game. But this is a chance for Dooley to craft a hallmark moment. Or even a Hallmark moment This is a unique opportunity for Dooley. This is a big-stage setting with little backlash. UT is a two-touchdown underdog, so winning would be gravy. Competing is the first step, and Dooley must have his charges ready to fight from the opening whistle. And he must give his fan base a reason to watch the second half. If he thinks angry fans after the Florida loss are bad, let a Georgia train start rolling and apathetic fans turning the channel or avoiding the call-in show are 10-times worse.

———

This and that

— Did you see that the domain name of cowboys.com was changed last weekend to a gay dating web site (not that there's anything wrong with that)? The switch left a lot of NFL fans searching for different kinds of stats this weekend. Let's move along. Deal? Deal.

— Texas slugger Josh Hamilton missed five games because dry eyes that occurred in part because of too much caffeine and energy drinks. OK, we'll bite. Hamilton missed multiple years with drug and alcohol addiction. Now, Red Bulls and a black coffee are off the list too? To his credit, here's how Hamilton opened his news conference to discuss the situation: "It's me we're talking about here," Hamilton told reporters prior to Monday's game. "Guys, it's me — it's Josh. It's going to be something weird."

— Alleged tree-poisoner Harvey Updyke was arrested last week in Louisiana for becoming hostile trying to return a lawn mower to a home improvement store. He was charged with terrorizing after throwing a fit when the manager wouldn't give him full credit for the $150 mower. Updyke faces the same charge in Texas. So if you're scoring at home, Updyke has terrorized people, plants and things in three different states.

— Sweet buckets of terrified middle schoolers. Jarnell Stokes, the University of Tennessee stud sophomore basketball player, has a little brother named Isiah. Well, he's little in that Isiah is only an eighth-grader. Isiah is 6-foot-7 and there is a photo of him playing football on this yahoo.com blog http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/brother-university-tennessee-hoops-star-most-terrifying-8th-211930637.html. That's a scary site for 14-year-olds everywhere.

———

Today's question

We're open for a give and take if you're interested.

That said, who wants a UT-UGA contest. Pick the score like we did for UT-Florida and we'll give it a go.

Discussion is always welcome, and if you need a topic, how about a Mount Rushmore of worst calls in sports history?

We'll start with Colorado getting five downs against Missouri, the Thanksgiving referee that called the coin flip wrong between the Steelers and Lions, Eric Gregg behind the plate for the Braves-Marlins playoff game in which Livan Hernandez got 10 inches off the outside corner, the crew at the U.S.-Russia hoops game in 1972.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
jomo11 said...

random comments and your thoughts, Jay on replacement refs. 1 ) If the replacement refs were around during the Revolutionary war, we would still have British accents 2 ) Jon Gruden was so mad, he just might take the UTK job after all 3 ) A Wisconsin state senator just tweeted call 212-450-2017, Goodell's phone number to complain 4 ) with replacement refs JaMarcus Russell may decide to make a comeback since an interception can now, apparently WIN a game 5 ) backlash i heard this morning, it seemd like the relacement refs have kicked small children ., .. .

September 25, 2012 at 10:27 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

1) No. Not even the stinkatude of replacement refs could stop the power of the U.S. of A. Take that King George.

2) Gruden was really mad. He was not mad enough however to risk a seven-figure job working 100 days a year at ESPN for a seven-figure job working 100 hours a week in Knoxville.

3) Mistake for the Wisconsin Senator, and he knows it.

4) PURPLE DRANK for everyone we've had a Jamarcus Russell reference. Holla. And somewhere a broke Vince Young just woke up from his Cheesecake Factory hangover and said, "Get my agent on the horn."

5) Kicked small children, clubbed baby seals, poisoned historic trees, made terroristic threats at the Home Depot, ordered the hamburger at the Subway. Yep, these guys are evil.

— 5-at-10

September 25, 2012 at 10:32 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

"Discussion is always welcome, and if you need a topic, how's this?"

And then....nothing.

I see what you did there.

I'll take Georgia 38-20.

September 25, 2012 at 10:32 a.m.
chas9 said...

It WAS an interception, and the incident WILL get the NFL off the pot.

As for ATL, I asked it yesterday and here it is today: Can anybody stop 'em and how does Super T-Gon get so open?

Miracle. If you can get -13, lay the points and bet the farm. For entertainment purposes only.

Prediction: For the first time in history, all the contestants in the Beat Jay contest will go 100% correct this week.

September 25, 2012 at 10:53 a.m.
TennFlyer said...

Until fans stop showing up for games and TV ratings drop, there is no incentive for Goodell (the owners) to settle. Remember they used replacement players and we still watched. It will take Mrs. Hochuli getting tired of Ed being around house on weekends for this to get settled. BTW Georgia 42 UTK 20

September 25, 2012 at 11:43 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

You're end.

9er —

Not sure how Super T-Gonz does it but he does it. It's like Speed Stick deodorant, not sur ehow it works but we know it works.

Concur about the Bulldogs minus-13. 100 percent in fact.

TennFlyer —

That's a great point.

Sadly thought, there's no way Mrs. Hochuli is going to get tired of Ed — dude is ripped like Ned Flanders.

You're in the contest.

— 5-at-10

September 25, 2012 at 11:51 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Wasn't it Freeman or McCann who also had a dry eye problem and they eventually told him to kick the caffeine for a while and see if that helped?

I didn't get to watch last night's game but I saw a replay of the final play and ... I just don't know what to say. Then again, I get my Gruden fill with all the spots he's doing for Corona and Hooters.

September 25, 2012 at 12:56 p.m.
chas9 said...

Knock on Knoxville:

The good: The Mrs. Frank Gifford and Hoda Show will dress in orange and sing Rocky Top on campus Monday.

The bad: A Vol fraternity is about to go on double secret probation.

The ugly: The football team's so-called defense.

September 25, 2012 at 12:58 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Put me down for UGA 37 UT 18.

Granted there is a learning curve when you get to the NFL, even for refs, but when you jump from YMCA ball to the big leagues, and millions are watching...Goodell has got to get it resolved or his product is going to be 2nd fiddle to Rosanne re-runs.

September 25, 2012 at 1:06 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Did someone say Contest? A chance at redemption?

Georgia 31, Vols 20

The The Mount Rushmore of Referee Jobbing

1/The Immaculate Reception

2/The Tuck Rule

3/Pete Saragusa's intentional belly flop that knocked Rich Gannon out of the 2000 AFC Championship game. No call on field, yet the Commissioner later laid a $10,000,000 fine on Saragusa.

4/Every call where justice is delayed or ignored through ignorance by the replacement referees.

September 25, 2012 at 1:15 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

It was Freeman and it may have been the caffeine. Or maybe the PURPLE DRANK. Freeman looks like a Purple Drank kinda guy.

And nice call on Gruden's commercials. Another reason to wonder why he would be interested in the UT gig. They don't let/ask SEC coaches do Hooters commercials or beer spots.

9er —

We heard that fraternity story. WOW. Just WOW. And that comes from a guy who was in a fraternity.

Even Otter and Bluto and Boone and Hoover and D-Day heard that Knoxville story and went, "Holy Smokes."

McPell —

You're in.

We're starting to think the biggest mistake in this whole mess was Goodell not having a crack team of replacement commando refs ready.

— 5-at-10

September 25, 2012 at 1:16 p.m.
chas9 said...

On the subject of bad calls, ask John McEnroe.

And please, no nominations from gymnastics, since that activity is just a setup to job somebody. Boxing's almost as bad.

The bad call that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game is worth a mention, but it was a close play.

Judging from Bobby's heated discussions with umpires, there must have been a Rushmore's worth of bad calls against the Braves in every week Cox managed.

September 25, 2012 at 1:24 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Couldn't help but notice Stabler's fourth-down fumble forward that became a TD did not make your list. Coincidence? We think not.

9er—

This would be the McEnroe Rushmore. You can't be serious?!?!?!

September 25, 2012 at 1:34 p.m.

GA 45 UT 17

September 25, 2012 at 2:08 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Georgia 35 Tennessee 20 (missed extra point, not field goals)

5at10, is the MAC > the Big East?

September 25, 2012 at 2:20 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Addicted —

You're in.

Laughter —

We say yes, top to bottom. Don't think Ball State or anyone in the MAC is better than Louisville, but there is better play across the board in the MAC.

We think the Georgia will score 35 — whether UT can score with them is the question. (And we concur — there won't be a slew of UT field goals).

— 5-at-10

September 25, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
Todd962 said...

I was one of the unlucky people that actually stayed up and watched that stupid game last night. You just have to take a deep breath and shake your head. Gruden was pretty funny listening to as he got frustrated, got quiet briefly, and then took his comments in a different direction, so as not to have his head spontaneously combust. It would have been difficult to be in their positions last night and not just start ref ripping as a commentator.

Gruden at one point said that Green Bay was going to have one of the worst 6000 mile flights home to Wisconsin. Well yeah, Jon, seeing how the drive is only 1900 miles, going over Asia, Europe and both major oceans would make that flight extraordinarily excruciating with that loss on your mind.

What I like about your contests is that they dont cost nothing, so I can get away with saying crazy things like UT 31 UGA 28. It wont be detrimental to my finances, and you guys will just write it off that I have been "butt chugging" all afternoon. On a related note, that is a pretty disturbing activity and it gets even more disturbing if it was part of a hazing incident. How you could ever look someone in the eye and call them a brother after being forced to do something of that nature is beyond me. I always preferred my alcohol abuse to be self inflicted and oral, the way college drinking was intended.

September 25, 2012 at 2:32 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

So is that the official name of the frat boys drinking method du jour — "butt chugging" — and sweet buckets of awkwardness, how to do you go up to one of the guys in the house and say, "Hey bro, let's go knock back a couple of Bud Lights..... Drop your pants."

Yes, binge drinking is bad enough among fraternity cats, but butt chugging — or binge stinking if you will — takes it to a whole new level.

— 5-at-10

September 25, 2012 at 2:48 p.m.
TennFlyer said...

Hey bro, let's go knock back a couple of Bud Lights..... Drop your pants -------- Don't you mean Butt Lights?

September 25, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

fec,

Oh, I'm more than OK with the tuck rule call. In fact that was a properly administered and adjudicated interpretation of the rules.

The roughing the passer call on Sugar Bear Hamilton in 1976, now that wasn't Scottish.

It was crap.

September 25, 2012 at 2:52 p.m.
Todd962 said...

And I think its safe to say Hargis and yourself have at least double digit viewers from the loyal 5@10'ers alone. Thats a good pull even if the only reason we come back every week is to hear you rip on his shirts.

My S'Pitt associate was about as pleased with last nights reffing as Friday night's game. Something about absurd amounts of sideline warning penalties only going South Pitt's way. Those may have been an attempt to even the score for the sweet pick the ref layed on the Signal Mountain player on your tape.

September 25, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Tenn Flyer

Well played indeed sir.

Maybe couple of Un-Natural Lites? Or PB-Arses? And the joke options are limitless for Yeunglings, Busch and Heinekens, no?

Spy —

Meant to tell you this earlier.

We were at the Baylor-McCallie football game last Friday and the Baylor Red Raiders have a big-time QB prospect named Michael O'Connor who transferred in from Canada before the season.

Well. every time McCallie got a sack or hit the quarterback, the McCallie student section started chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A!"

If there are scholarships to the Duke hoops cheering section, there were some 5-star recruits in the stands for the Blue Tornado on Friday night.

That was most definitely Scottish.

— 5-at-10

September 25, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.
TennFlyer said...

One last one -- no bottles, I prefer it in the can. McCallie does have one of the best student sections when it comes to ballgames. They travel well and know the game.

September 25, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.
chas9 said...

Love all the beer jokes, but apparently the beverage du jour was wine. No joke. Apparently you remove the squeezable plastic bag with right sized plastic spigot from the box it comes in and you're ready to go. Red or white? There are some great French and Australian wines, but Greek?

No explanation on why they don't just go straight to tequila.

September 25, 2012 at 3:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Or they could have borrowed from the scene in Weird Science in which Robert Downey Jr. asks the bartender for some scotch...

Barkeeper: Straight up on the rocks?

Robert Downey Jr.: Just give me the whole bottle.

Barkeep: Tell you what... why don't you just bend over and I'll shove it straight up.....

Robert Downey Jr.: On the rocks is fine.

9er —

Maybe those UT fraternity chaps just finished watching last year's UT-UK game... you know the one with the receiver playing quarterback... Oh nevermind.

— 5-at-10

September 25, 2012 at 3:43 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Now that's knowing your enemy and taking the time to scout your opponent well. Well done, McCallie student section. Well done.

I'll take the Dogs to cover, 45-17, and the Euros retaining the Ryder Cup.

September 25, 2012 at 4:18 p.m.
chas9 said...

I guess Tuesdays are always slow at the 5@10 except when we're talking juvenile frat antics that have endless comic potential even for us amateurs.

September 25, 2012 at 4:27 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

No doubt.

Wonder if our fraternity fellows were watching the classic episode of "The Newlywed Game" when the drinking started. Hhmmmmm...

Spy —

That's roughly the number we're thinking too, and we'll take the McCallie student section's approach to the Ryder Cup:

"U-S-A! U-S-A!"

— 5-at-10

September 25, 2012 at 4:32 p.m.
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