Craptastic NFL Player Power Rankings: Week 3 – A Funny Thing Happened in Seattle Last Night – By Cameron Heffernan and Dustin Brewer

This week the editors at HefferBrew take a second to voice their opinion on the whole NFL official fiasco and ways they could fix it, or in Cameron’s opinion, to just leave it the way it is. Oh, and the usual crappy player rankings.

photo from abc.com

Prior to the “Craptastic Player Power Rankings”, first let the editors at HefferBrew get a little something off our collective chest about these NFL officals. The ‘Power Rankings’ are at the bottom, by the way.

Dustin – So this is what it feels like to be between a rock and a hard place.

The biggest story of this NFL season thus far hasn’t been the slow starts of supposed super-teams like the New Orleans Saints (0-3) or the New England Patriots (1-2) but the replacement officials and their apparent lack of understanding for the game.Since the NFL and the regular officials broke off talks before the season and the NFL announced replacement refs, everyone has wondered just exactly how it would play out.

Well, Monday Night in Seattle, millions upon millions had their frustrations from weekly grievances turn to complete and utter rage after a blown call and review cost the Green Bay Packers a close win.

That call by no means was the only missed call for the Packers, and even the Seahawks had a few questionable calls against them so this isn’t an isolated incident at all.

The 49ers and the Vikings saw phantom pass interference calls as well as Niners coach Jim Harbaugh getting two extra challenges of plays despite his team having no (0, none, ziltch) timeouts remaining.

Calls like this have become the norm the first three weeks of the season, which is to be expected with officials so inexperienced to the rules and speed of the NFL and while it’s definitely hurting the game, the blown call last night isn’t the worst thing the officials did this weekend.

On Sunday, I watched the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders clash on the baseball diamond turned field in Oakland. As the Raiders were mounting their comeback, WR Darrius Hayward-Bey was completely leveled by the Pittsburgh secondary with an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit that saw Bey take a shot right to his chin and sent him collapsing to the ground in a crumpled heap. It was a terrifying scene to watch and an awful reminder of how brutal and cruel the sport can be, but, while the fans sat in silence and trainers, players and coaches sought to see that Bey was at all responsive, the referees failed to throw a flag of any sort on the Steelers despite the obvious helmet-to-helmet hit or its’ aftermath.

That’s where I draw the line.

Yes, these replacement refs have been awful and yes, the regular refs don’t really deserve all that they’re asking for despite the public outcry to get them back ASAP at any price.

But in this day and age where commissioner Roger Goodell has built his name speaking of “player safety” and stripping the New Orleans Saints of their manhood over “bountygate” to make an example of them to the public, he has to step up to the plate in some way. He has to show every player his concern, not just the ones who grab headlines.

It’s a shame the Packers had to suffer a loss due to the ineptitude of the officials, but if it gets the ball rolling, the conversation started and the seat Goodell’s on a little hotter, then in the long run I don’t think the team will care too much.

Cameron – Last night may go down as the most blown or botched call in sports history. With the Packers leading 12-7 with about no seconds on the clock, Russell Wilson tossed a prayer up to the end zone. Seattle Receiver, Golden Tate and Packers Saftey,  M.D. Jennings went up in the air simultaneously, Jennings had his hands on it first, but Tate was also able to get a hand on the ball too at almost the exact same time. The both of them came crashing down out of the air, both clutching onto the ball. One official called touchdown, the other called interception. Which was right? Who cares. The NFL seems to have turned into the WWE and it’s awesome. As soon as they ruled the catch a touchdown last night the first thing I though to myself was, “holy crap, Vince McMahon is back in the football game, only this time it’s not the XFL, it’s the NFL.”

Obviously this is a joke, as much as I would love for all sports to become a little more like the WWE, they probably won’t, but on the other hand there is an interesting tidbit about the review officials that shouldn’t be overlooked.

They aren’t in a lockout. The field officials are. Those guys in the booth that review every scoring play and every play that is questionable, and withing two minutes, they are the same guys that have been there for years now.

All morning ESPN analysts have been berating the NFL sub referees like this is their fault. It isn’t, the play went to veteran officials in the booth and they made the decision, not these sub refs, yes one of them called touchdown and the other called interception, but the real decision was left to the veteran review officials in the booth. What did they do? They ruled it a touchdown and a Seahawks victory. VETERAN REVIEW OFFICIALS, NOT THE SUBS, THE USUALS!

Look, human error has always been apart of sports, as a Celtics fan I can honestly tell you that the Celtics were jobbed out of a second championship in 2010 with their ‘Big 3’ and that the “Music City Miracle” in 2000 was totally a forward pass and the Titans we’re able to go to the Super Bowl that year on a totally bullshit call. That’s sports though, nothing is fair, and even if the usual officials are in they probably blow that call last night too and many other calls the last few weekends. Prior to this official lockout we as fans hated the refs, we felt the original ones blew calls too. Now since these replacements are so bad the originals have become infallible. Which in no way is true. We are human beings, we make errors, nothing can be done about it and that’s just the way it is. Sorry.

To the players, it is unfair that they have to deal with such an atrocity of a game and to the game of football that they love so much. To us as fans, it shouldn’t mean as much, it’s okay to be disappointed about the outcome but it would be crazy to overreact, thankfully Green Bay is a small place. I’m sure if the town of Green Bay was downtown L.A. or New York there would’ve been riots all over demanding for Roger Goddell’s head, as well as the heads of every official the league had to offer. But they are a small town, and Wisconsin isn’t known for it’s rioting. It’s cheese maybe, but not rioting.

I personally don’t think it matters, old refs, new refs, as long as there are refs. The argument of safety has gone out the window, how exactly do the replacements make the game less safe, when it’s the players that are the ones causing the damage. The refs aren’t the ones who go helmet to helmet and they surely aren’t the ones stomping around with their chests puffed out after they’ve given someone a concussion. They’re outmatched and they don’t have as much control as we want them to. On the other hand, did the refs last year really have a big handle on the safety of the players? I still saw hits that almost killed Colt McCoy last year as well as other players. Those players weren’t thrown out, they were just fined and were back two games later. Suspensions don’t mean much and the NFL doesn’t truly care. The point is that it’s a commodity over anything else. We will still watch next week and the week after that. Nothing will change untill we as fans force a change.

Another funny tidbit about all this too, is that maybe these replacements have been gambling on the games?

Last night saw a $150-million swing at the sports books. I even thought about laying some money on the ‘Haws’ but I thought, “Naaaa, the Packers have got this.” I even thought about the Ravens last night. But again, I was thinking, “naa, the Patriots got this.” They didn’t. Both the ‘Hawks’ and  the  Ravens were heavy underdogs and if they won, people betting would see a hefty payout. Both games had very questionable outcomes.

No matter the questionable outcomes though, the Packers shouldn’t have even been close with the Seahawks, let alone within a touchdown. They should’ve been up by at least two touchdowns and they should have gone for an extra point instead of a two point conversion (that’s mainly because that lack of extra point had me lose in one of my fantasy leagues by .50, .50!). Last night Aaron Rodgers was sacked eight times. The Packers deserved to lose cause they looked terrible and they played to the level of their opponent and not above that level. Plain and simple, they deserved to lose, just like the Patriots deserved to lose on Sunday night, and just like how my favorite team ever, the Bills, deserved to lose against the Titans and that bullshit “Music City Miracle”.

It’s just sports ladies and gentlemen, yes we may have a slight emotional investment in it, but it just doesn’t mean as much as we want it too. The Packers will win most of their games this year and the ‘Hawks’ will probably win six and one of them will be tainted. All I’m saying is that we should stop hating on the NFL, the commissioner and these refs and start appreciating the WWE-esque nature that has formed around the NFL.

For anyone with children and who are getting worked up over this ref debacle, think of it this way, when your kid is crying because John Cena doesn’t win the WWE championship you look down upon him because you know it’s not real and that he’ll have another opportunity. Now look at the sports you watch and say the same thing, “It’s just entertainment, don’t worry, they’ll get another chance.”

Now for the “Craptastic Player Power Rankings”

1. Chris Johnson aka “CJ2K” – Sunday, 14 carries, 24 yards. For September, 33 carries for 45 yards. He literally is averaging 1.4 yards a carry this year. His longest rush is 13 yards. 13 YARDS! This guy once had a 2,000-yard rushing season. There is a small bright side to all this (kind of) he’s caught nine passes for 63 yards. No touchdowns though and really nothing other then a total of 87-total-yards in three games for a man that held out on his contract last year because he said he was the best at the position. Oh and my girlfriends 0-3 fantasy start wanted me to tell you to go sit on a pineapple for like half-an-hour. just saying.

Oh, and here’s a few other facts about this season for Chris:

The Titans had 437-total-yards against the Lions on Sunday. Johnson accounted for 29 of those yards. he had a five yard catch on top of his whopping 24 yards.

Jake Locker has now rushed for 67 yards on eight carries in three games this season.

Chris Johnson is the worst. His team still won on Sunday though.

2. Cam Newton – Newton essentially had his ass handed to him on a silver platter  by the New York Giants last Thursday. He threw for 242 yards completing 16-out-of-30 passes and finding the end zone once on a rushing score in the first quarter. Everything from there was downhill. Newton threw three interceptions, all of them just poorly thrown passes to the other team. Newton looked good coming out of the gate but, just continued to look frustrated throughout the rest of the game as the Giants’ pass-rush kept Newton confined to the pocket and out of his comfort zone. We got to see a little bit of the Jay Cutler face from Newton too, and that was amazing.

3. Phillip Rivers – This is a little unfair seeing as he went up against the defense that forced Peyton Manning into three first quarter interceptions. Rivers, on the other hand, didn’t almost lead a miraculous comeback in the final quarter like Peyton did so looks like your stuck on the craptastic bus for now. Rivers looked atrocious on Sunday he and the Chargers looked outmatched by the shockingly consistent and dominant Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta allowed Rivers to complete 21 of 38 with 173 yards passing and two interceptions. The Chargers lost 27-3 and crossed the 50-yard-line four times, twice they got to within the Atlanta 7-yard-line  both of which resulted in fumbles. One time resulted in a field goal and the fourth time resulted in an interception. The Chargers then intercepted the play directly after Rivers’ second interception but went three-and-out on two short passes, a penalty and an incompletion. This is the way the Chargers day went throughout, a few short dumps and an incompletion for a fourth down. Seems Norv hasn’t figured out September, or maybe the Falcons are just that good.

4. Michael Vick – Hey buddy, your back, only this time you didn’t throw any interceptions. You wanted to do this the old fashion way didn’t you? Two fumbles, one returned for a touchdown, sacked five times for a total loss of 35 yards and a total QBR of 5.4. Vick, man, you sure are looking good.

Funny thing about this, I had gotten so used to putting Vick on this list that on Friday I made a last second move to replace the Houston Texans defense with the Cardinals defense. The Texans got a total of five points, the Cardinals got a total of 24 points. Now I only won my match-up by a total of 110.82 – 96.80. Thorough mathematics we learn that 110.82 – 24 + 5 = 91.82. Meaning I would’ve lost my fantasy match-up 96.80 – 91.82. Thank you so much Michael Vick, thank you so so much. 3-0 baby! 3-0! I may lose to one of the worst teams this week though, only because I Swagged about my 3-0 start. The team I play this week? Dustin’s. I hate him. I’m only kidding.

5. Green Bay Packers Offensive Line – Look, we already went over the appalling events of last night in great detail before the rankings. So let us take a look at what a stinker the O-line for A-Rodg put up last night, sacked eight times for a total loss of 39 yards, he was rushed the entire game and even though Cedric Benson did score a rushing touchdown he only had 45 yards on 17 attempts. The whole game was great if you love defense and horrible if you love offense. The usually stout and prolific O-line of the Packers has been everything but good this year. Rodgers has been sacked a total of 16 times on the season for a total of 95 yards lost. We’re only just finishing week 3 and they’ve allowed 16 sacks. 16!!!!!!!

Honorable Mentions – Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill (Hey! great to see you guys back here, you did just enough this week but not too much. Great job, gold star!) The Steelers, all of them (for real? you let the Raiders come back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth? You guys are getting old and you’re slipping. Also, Mike Tomlin looked like he didn’t give a shit), San Francisco (trap game, or Harbaugh throwing the NFL off his scent), Mark-Tebow, Sam Bradford, Mike Shannahan, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace (I had to single them out for their fumbles), and Matt Schaub’s ear. 

Cameron Heffernan and Dustin Brewer are the creators of HefferBrew. They both feel that the whole official situation in the NFL is a mockery of the sport and Roger Goddell needs to pull his head out of his ass. Follow HefferBrew on Twitter at @HefferBrew and like us on Facebook

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