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Things I Never Knew Before Today


Apparently Aaron Rodgers’s head is somewhere in the middle of his back.

This game is, though, an object lesson about why officiating never really “costs” any team a game; the Packers have benefited not only from a farcical roughing-the-passer call to negate a 3rd down play but an almost equally bad call upholding a non-fumble call on a fumble, and yet they’re still getting beat pretty badly.   With that said, I can’t resist noting that Bill Leavy was the same idiot whose crew made a complete hash of Super Bowl XL.  What this guy is still doing in playoff games I can’t tell you.

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  • Ronnie P

    So the big two pass happy juggernauts in the NFC are likely going down. Good.

    • At this point in the game, Eli Manning is 21/33 for 330 yards and 3 TDs. That’s a pretty happy passer, no?

      • Scott Lemieux

        YEah, Giants sure as hell didn’t win this with their running game.

        • Ronnie P

          But they do have a good running game and a good defense (I wasn’t just talking about today). The Saints, Pack and Pats tend to be one-dimensional.

          • R Johnston

            You obviously haven’t watched the Giants much or checked the team stats, because they had a pretty bad rushing game this season.

            • Pretty bad is an understatement.


              As in 32 out of 32 teams in total rushing yards and rushing yards per attempt.

              • c u n d gulag

                The Giants running game was so bad until last week, and not much of anything yesterday, that GB basically didn’t do much of anything to defend against the run right before the half, even though the Giants RAN the ball before the time-out was called, so they had a good idea of what was coming.
                The Giants were basically willing to run out the clock to end the half.

                And GB’s lackadaisical attitude let Bradshaw get off a big run, AND get out-of-bounds, to set-up Eli’s Hail Mary TD pass.
                And the Giants never looked back after that.

                That was atrocious coaching. There’s no other way to put it.
                Simply atrocious!

                • c u n d gulag

                  Also too: No matter what defense was called, it was also piss-poor execution on GB’s defense.

                  All they had to do was keep Bradshaw in-bounds, and go into the half only 3 points down.

                  They stop him there, might-could be a different game.

              • R Johnston

                32 out of 32 in yards and yards per carry, sure, but that’s a little misleading–the Giant’s weren’t that bad running the ball. They didn’t break any really long runs all season and it looks at a glance like they were much more likely than other teams to power run rather than pass in short yardage situations, which tends to reduce yards/att. If you look at something like rushing first downs or first downs/rushing attempt the Giants were merely pretty bad rather than bottom of the league, and they piled up a mess of rushing touchdowns–6th in the league–while doing a good job of holding onto the ball.

                Footballoutsiders DVOA, which emphasizes first downs, touchdowns, holding onto the ball, and which de-emphasizes big plays, ranks the Giants as the 20th best rushing offense this season. That seems a little generous to me, but it seems closer to the mark to me than 32 does.

                • the thing to remember about the giants and running is that they have fundamentally been running the same offense since george young showed up in the early ’80s, which in turn was the chuck fairbanks patriots offense of the ’70s, brought to the giants by ron erhard.

                  and at the heart of that offense is play-action passing, and without at least trying to run the ball, there is no play-action.

                  so even when the holes aren’t there – which has been true many weeks this season – and even though both bradshaw and jacobs don’t have the acceleration they both had in 2007, the running game remains important to the giants to set up the passing game.

    • rcobeen

      Yeah, thank God we got rid of teams that play exciting football.

      • Ronnie P

        The NFL would be very dull if only one type of team won. We had three uber-passing teams, no we’re down to one. Good.

        • Njorl

          But it’s the wrong one!

          • c u n d gulag

            Not if you’re a Giants fan! :-)

      • Yeah, thank God we got rid of teams that play exciting football.

        Philistine. Pink hat.

        The only thing more exciting than a pulling guard is a pulling tackle.

  • Kurzleg

    I was afraid of this sort of game from the Packers. Not that they’re the first #1 to come out flat. Rodgers clearly isn’t at his best tonight, but neither were his receivers. Overthrown balls, drops, and generally nobody getting open. But the defense has been a problem all year, and it’s hard to believe the loss of a starting DE and a safety would cause such a huge collapse.

    All that said, the Giants are clearly peaking right now. They’ve taken all of GB’s best shots and overcome them. That game in SF will be interesting because it’s anyone’s guess how long any team can hold a peak.

    Oh, and Jennings clearly fumbled. Without that call, this would be a flat-out thrashing by NY.

    • Marek

      Yeah, I thought the non-fumble call (and failure to overturn it) was even worse than the roughing-the-passer call.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Yeah, the only thing that made the roughing-the-passer call nearly as bad was the announcement of a non-existent “blow to the head.” If the call was just a late hit, in my opinion if would have been an erroneous judgment call, but hardly an unusual one.

  • Anderson

    That IS the same asshole ref ???? Omigod. Keep him away from the Super Bowl.

    2 of 3 Packer TDs off bogus calls.

    As fit the Giants, I am stunned. Pleasantly stunned.

  • TT

    Congrats to the G-men–they absolutely dismantled the Packers in the second half. I thought it would be a close Giants win or a Packers rout. I certainly wasn’t expecting this.

    Coughlin is just a terrific coach, probably the most underrated of his generation. He engineered two huge playoff upsets back-to-back to win the SB in 2007, and now this.

  • mpowell

    Officially, the NFL’s position is that super bowl was well-officiated. I’m not sure what their actual view is, but toeing the corporate line may be forcing the people who make such decisions to act as if this is the NFL’s internal belief as well.

    And I have to agree on Coughlin. I used to think he was a mediocre coach, but I have come to realize that he is quite excellent.

    It’s also amazing how little time off is required for a WR/QB group to get out of sync (I mean they still go to practice, right?!). You would think GB would have learned the lesson watching various Indy playoff collapses. I guess not.

  • I’m jazzed about the win, but this was maybe the worst officiated game I’ve ever seen.

    On to San Francisco.

    • SP

      Returning to the scene of <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2003-01-06-giants-49ers-officials_x.htm"another candidate for worst officiated game.

      • SP
        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          As a Niner fan, I enjoyed that game at the time. But the officiating was pretty appalling.

    • Jeeze. Do I have to remind you guys that the Lions dropped 42 on the Pack, and probably would have won if they hadn’t had a TD taken away because the official called the receiver out of bounds, when he was several feet away from the side line when the play was completed.

      NFL officiating sucks rocks, every game, every week.

      At least we don’t have Phil Luckett to kick around any more.


  • gorillagogo

    Christ, still complaining about the refs in Super Bowl XL. Oh my god, Darrell Jackson pushed off right in front of a ref and got flagged for it. Sean Locklear was called for holding after he clearly held Clark Haggans. Pass the smelling salts, I think I’m going to faint!

    • CaptBackslap

      The holding call was a bit weak if memory serves, but that was clear offensive pass interference, and both plays were directly in front of the official. If you want to get away with marginal plays, don’t do them where the official would have to explain to his boss why he didn’t throw a flag.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The Locklear call, OK. The Jackson call is made about .00000000000001% of the time.

      • mark f

        Not to mention less impactful but totally bizarre penalties at other moments, like calling a quarterback for an illegal block while he was attempting to tackle a guy returning an interception.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Right. I actually agree with Steeler fans about the Locklear call; I’m sure that there were similar holds on both sides that went uncalled, but that’s just because holding calls are always somewhat arbitrary — unlike the Jackson PI call, stuff like that is called all the time. It just felt worse because 1)other marginal calls were going against Seattle, 2)the next play was an INT, and 3)the INT was followed up by the farcical illegal “block” penalty on Hasselbeck.

  • Steve S.

    My goodness, this certainly is some impeccable logic:

    officiating never really “costs” any team a game; the Packers have benefited

    The identifiable bad calls in this particular game went in favor of the losing team. Therefore, officiating can never cost a team a game. Can I use this one in future?

    As if to put a point of emphasis on it you then say

    Bill Leavy was the same idiot whose crew made a complete hash of Super Bowl XL. What this guy is still doing in playoff games I can’t tell you.

    Well, hell, Scott, I can tell you. It’s not possible for an official to cost a team a game, so what difference does it make if Leavy is still doing playoff games? Why are you heaping invective on somebody who is incapable of affecting the outcome? Sheesh, how petty is it to insult someone who not only didn’t affect the outcome of the game but cannot even do so in principle?

    • Scott Lemieux

      The point it simply that a team can overcome bad calls and win. It obviously doesn’t follow that we should be indifferent about whether the games are being well-officiated or not.

      • ploeg

        Bad calls are bad, and they have effects beyond the immediate results of the call. Then again, it’s not as if the officiating was handing touchdowns to the Packers on a silver platter.

        For example, regarding the fumble that was mistakenly waved off, it’s true that the Packers would not have been able to score the subsequent touchdown if they made the correct call. But the Giants had a number of chances to stop the Packers both before and after the call, and they didn’t do it.

        Then with the roughing the passer call, if they let the play go as it was, it would have been 4th and ten for the Packers, at a time when the Packers would have had to go for it. Certainly the penalty made things easier for the Packers in that they did not need to make a 4th down conversion (and the Packers were 0 for 1 on 4th down in the game). The way that the Packers were moving the ball during that drive, though, it was probably at least 1-in-3 odds that they would have made the conversion.

        There’s times where the officiating almost literally hands the game to one of the teams. This game wasn’t one of them (and wouldn’t have been one of them, even if the game turned out to be a lot closer than it wsa). For practical impact on the game, the bad calls in this game were relatively minor.

  • Anderson

    “Yeah, thank God we got rid of teams that play exciting football.”

    That statement is so nonsensical, I’m not even sure it is in English.

  • cpinva

    well, this certainly explains that inexplicable call:

    Apparently Aaron Rodgers’s head is somewhere in the middle of his back.

    otherwise, it was such an egregiously bad call, whoever made it should be immediately banned from reffing football, at any level, forever.

    of course, turning the ball over 5 times in one game certainly doesn’t increase your overall chances of success either.

  • … it was such an egregiously bad call, …

    Wasn’t there helmet to helmet contact on that play?

    • Scott Lemieux


      • Thlayli

        Actually, there was. The impact snapped Rodgers’ head back a couple of inches, and the back of his helmet touched the back of Umenyiora’s.

        No way in hell was it a 15-yard penalty, but it did happen.

        • Spokane Moderate

          Exactly correct.

          I’m not a Giants fan, and I was leaning toward the Packers in this game, but I was surprised how often the Packers defenders led with their helmets when hitting Manning and got away with it.

          Then compare those plays with the one that got flagged in the Packers’ favor, and it looks especially bad.

        • Clark

          Helmet-to-helmet contact doesn’t warrant a penalty in and of itself. The defender has to lead with his helmet and make initial contact with the offensive players helmet. It doesn’t count if his helmet slides off a shoulder pad or something.

      • elm

        I’m a Giants fan, but even I’m willing to concede that helmet did, in fact, touch helmet halfway through the tackle and for the briefest of moments. No way it’s penalty, though.

        Also, is it possible the refs called it on the wrong person? Osi tackled Rodgers into another Giant (can’t remember which one) and in the process, Rodgers’s head hit the arm of that other Giant. Again, no way that should be a penalty, but it’s less egregiously bad than calling it on Osi.

        • Anderson

          Yes, there was incidental helmet-to-helmet, tho the Giant was actually leaning his head to one side to *avoid* creaming Rodgers in the skull.

          Bad call, but not as bad as the fumble; what the hell Levey was looking at under that hood, IDK. Porn .gifs, maybe.

          • c u n d gulag

            I think he was looking for a couple of thousand dollar bills under that hood.

            And it sure looks like he found them.

  • c u n d gulag

    One last dig at Tebow and his Dominionist Christian fans:

    If you want to see what a humble guy with humility looks like, it ain’t Tebow.

    Take a look at Eli Manning if you’re looking for that.

    He may look like a JHS student.
    But on the field, he’s got the heart of an assassin.
    And just as humble as can be.

    Eli wasn’t the one boasting he was an elite QB.

    He was answering a question from Michael Kay on his afternoon drive-time radio show before the season started.
    And, from the evidence, it sure looks like he answered that question truthfully.

  • just to spend a moment talking about the actual game, as a giants fan, i basically wrote off the season when their best corner (terrell thomas) and their highly regarded #1 corner pick (prince amakumara) both got hurt preseason, and for a good run of the season, that looked like a good judgement on my part.

    but over the last 4 weeks, the secondary has played extremely well, assisted, admittedly, by the defensive line being the healthiest it has been all season (although justin tuck is still only playing at about 75% of his healthy capacity), which, again, is eerily consistent with the 2007 stretch run, when corey webster in particular turned from a victim into a very fine cornerback.

    • elm

      This has been my consistent concern about the Couglin-era Giants. They always seem to have an extremely high number of injuries (though I may be suffering from confirmation bias here since I don’t follow other teams as closely.)

      Part of this, I think, is that their GM often takes players in the draft that have fallen due to durability concerns or injury histories, which sometimes pays off in draft steals but often leads to injured players. But I’ve always wondered if Coughlin has something to do with it, too, with his hard-nosed “If you’re not 10-minutes early, you’re late” attitude, I wonder if he isn’t pushing players in practice too hard or encouraging them to play through pain which ends up just hurting them more. I have no evidence for this, but I find frustrating the fact that, though they have shown themselves to be a fantastic team when healthy in the Coughlin-Eli years, that “when healthy” condition rarely lasts a whole season.

      When they get healthy at the end of a season, you see this year and 2007. When they get less healthy over the course of the year, you see all the end of season collapses.

    • c u n d gulag

      As a die-hard Giants fan myself, I’m still kind of astonished myself.

      Right before the season, when I heard our GM say, after those injuries, and after doing NOTHING in the off-season, that he was confident that this was a playoff team, I wondered what he was smoking?
      What team was HE looking at?

      This one, I guess.

      Though, after the 2nd Redskins game loss, I thought they were done. How you gonna challenge in the playoffs when you can’t even beat the Skins?

      And then, the season turned on a Cruz, and they started to turn into victors. Victor Cruz. It was his 99 yard run to glory against the Jets that seemed to have turned the team and the season around. It’s been off to the races since then.

      And, my Jets fan friends are green with envy, because NY is still a Big Blue town (even if the do play in Jersey).
      And if the Jints win the SB, the Jets will have talked-the-talk, while the Giants will have walked-the-walk. Again.

      We’ve got a chance to go back to SB. SF will be tough as hell to beat. But it’s a chance I never thought we’d have back in September.

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