Another senseless murder on national television.
Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy wantonly killed a perfectly innocent timeout Sunday night in front of Al Michaels and everybody. He called it so he could argue with the officials over a 5-yard false-start penalty.
When will this slaughter end? When will NFL coaches realize that timeouts have tremendous value at the end of a close game? When will they stop wasting them to avoid -- or now to argue about -- 5-yard penalties?
The next snap was Adam Vinatieri's miss of a 29-yard field-goal attempt that would have given the Colts a one-point lead over the San Diego Chargers with a minute and a half to play. The chatter about whether Dungy's timeout iced Vinatieri is nonsense -- the guy's the clutchest, Super Bowl-winningest kicker of all time and he's thrown off by a timeout by his own team prior to a chip-shot kick in a regular season game? -- but the real damage was yet to come.
The Chargers took over at their 20 and ran three plays, the first two followed by the Colts' last two timeouts. The third was followed by about 40 seconds ticking off the clock because Dungy had murdered the Colts' first timeout. Instead of taking over at their own 33 with a little over a minute to go, the Colts took over with 22 seconds left.
Dungy says he apologized to the team after the game for letting his emotions get the better of him, and I guess that's supposed to make it OK. And the senseless killing will continue.
Peyton Manning, bereft of receivers whose name has ever made the paper, threw two incomplete passes, then his sixth interception of the game, icing the win for San Diego. With a minute to play with instead of 22 seconds, who knows how that last drive would have gone down?
More important, with proper clock management and timeout usage by Dungy, Manning might have had a chance at seven interceptions.
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Panel o' Experts standings through Week 10 [PERMALINK]
It's been a while since I've published the standings of this column's NFL Panel o' Experts, but now that I have -- for the moment -- managed to correctly predict the winner of more games than my 2-year-old daughter has, there's no time like the present.
Mark Schlereth of ESPN is in first place, a whisker ahead of his co-worker Ron Jaworski and Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
Daisy, who takes all favorites of six points or more and flips a coin for the rest, is scuffling a bit lately, having gone only 13-15 in the last two weeks. She's tied for 15th place in the 21-member panel with Larry Weisman of USA Today, a professional writer who watches lots of games, interviews coaches and players and has spent years honing his expertise.
Daisy flips a coin.
Daisy has correctly pegged four more winners than Mike Golic, who played at Notre Dame, spent eight years playing in the NFL and has for the last decade and a half been a highly paid commentator about sports, mostly pro football.
Daisy flips a coin. She's as close to second place -- a tie between former NFL quarterback Jaworski, the best analyst on TV, and King, lead football writer for Sports Illustrated -- as she is to last.
Which is occupied by her brother, Buster, 4, and ESPN's Eric Allen. Allen played football at Arizona State and spent 14 years in the NFL, where he made the Pro Bowl six times. He has been a football analyst at ESPN for five years. Buster just sort of randomly picks a winner, usually but not always the home team. He also takes all six-point favorites.
If he went with a straight method of taking favorites and home teams, by the way, he'd be 84-60 at this point. That would be the same record as that of Charles Robinson, expert football analyst for Yahoo Sports.
The point here, obviously, is that experts waste way too much time actually paying attention to football games. They should spend more time doing things like drawing pictures of pizza.
This column's What the Heck losing streak came to an end Sunday when the St. Louis Rams beat the New Orleans Saints, the first of nine WTH Picks to win a game all year. You won't hear from me that the 1-8 record of my What the Heck Picks means that if I didn't pick a team I thought would lose each week, I'd have seven more correct picks. That would give me 94, which would put me in first place.
|1.||Mark Schlereth, ESPN||93-51||.646|
|2.||Ron Jaworski, ESPN||92-43||.681|
|3.||Peter King, Sports Illustrated||92-52||.639|
|4.||Michael Silver, Yahoo||91-53||.632|
|5.||Cris Carter, Yahoo||90-54||.625|
|5.||Merril Hoge, ESPN||90-54||.625||5.||Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News||90-54||.625|
|8.||Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today||89-55||.618|
|10.||Jarrett Bell, USA Today||88-56||.611|
|11.||King Kaufman, Salon||87-57||.604|
|11.||Chris Mortensen, ESPN||87-57||.604|
|11.||Sean Salisbury, ESPN||87-57||.604|
|15.||Daisy, Coin Flip Monthly||85-59||.590|
|15.||Larry Weisman, USA Today||85-59||.590|
|17.||Charles Robinson, Yahoo||84-60||.583|
|18.||Mike Golic, ESPN||81-62||.566|
|19.||Adriana Sage, EroticModelPicks||81-63||.563|
|20.||Eric Allen, ESPN||78-66||.542|
|20.||Buster, Boy Prognosticator||78-66||.542|
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Feinstein in WashPost: BCS is teh suck! [PERMALINK]
A Mr. John Feinstein would like you to know that the BCS is a lousy way to decide the champion of college football, and also that college football is a bastion of hypocrisy. He wrote about it for the Washington Post.
"They hide behind the notion that they are educators rather than glorified fundraisers and snake-oil salesmen," Feinstein writes of the university presidents in the BCS conferences, "and laughingly claim their system exists to help the 'student-athlete.' They sell their souls to television and to corporate America and then climb onto their pedestals to talk about the purity of college athletics."
And get this: Feinstein thinks the way to decide the championship is on the field, in a 12-team tournament.
Keep an eye on this Feinstein kid. He's got some interesting ideas.
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