The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Go Pats!

A fabulous cap to a fabulous season, made all the more remarkable by a depleted secondary (down to one experienced, accomplished player) completing the last two quarters against Donavan McNabb and an impressive receiver corps. Several quick observations:

1) Instant replay has led to a serious deterioration in the quality of officiating. I lost track of the number of times this post season when the refs declared a turnover on the field when it was obvious play had stopped and the runner was down. Twice in the Super Bowl. At least once or twice in the AFC Championship game. I am glad for instant replay since it has improved the ultimate accuracy of calls. But whether it is moral hazard or just laziness or the league giving bad guidance, refs seem to allow play to continue long after a player goes down and a ball subsequently pops out.

2) Congratulations to the Browns on hiring Romeo Crennell. It's the Pat's loss and he's already been in Cleveland so he knows what to expect. But one concern for Browns fans has to be that last Eagles touchdown grab by Lewis. The Pats left Lewis, the Eagles' fastest receiver in one on one coverage with a first year reserve safety. From the reactions on the field it was clear Belichick hadn't called for that coverage. The Eagles seemed on the way to a score anyway, but forcing them to use more of the clock and possibly a timeout would have seemed a more expedient move. That's either Crennel' blown call or Eric Magnini (the Pats secondary coach and Crennel's likely successor). Crennell or someone on the defensive staff seemed to really blow the prevent defense at the end of all three playoff games and the Miami game.

3) Everyone who loses to the Pats says "we just made too many mistakes." It's an interesting psychological rationalization and it's true, subtract the turnovers and the Steelers and Eagles probably win. But it allows the other team to think they were the better team. After so many such victories this pattern should be telling. Look at McNabb's numbers - 30/51 for 357 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles outgained the Pats. But tunrovers and the scoreboard tell the tale of this game and most Pat's wins. By now, all those turnovers should be clearly recognized not as simple human errors by careless players but forced mistakes by a cagey coach and team. It's as if Belichick has found the football equivalent of Ali's rope-a-dope, allowing his team to take the other's punches until an opening arises and then jumping on it to exploit an advantage.

4) Bill Belichick made three of the leagues best quartebacks look less than human this post season.

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