I just had to touch on a few NFL stories for week 11, with the Monday night game between Cleveland and Buffalo still yet to be played.
First of all, with each successive week, I become more and more convinced that the New York Football Giants are going to repeat this year. Their running game seems virtually unstoppable at this point, and the fact that they are not relying too heavily on one back is extremely important. Since they are spreading the rushing load around, the odds of their running backs being fresh and healthy for a presumed late trip into the playoffs seem high at this point. It is a bit worrisome that top running back Brandon Jacobs did come down with a bit of an injury in yesterday's game versus the Ravens, but since he insists that he could have come back to play if absolutely necessary, I'm going to cross my fingers and judge it as being of little concern.
The Giants running attack was dominating yesterday, totalling 207 yards rushing, and in so doing, becoming the first team to break 100 yards against Baltimore's previously top rated run defense this year. The Giants run offense is doing the important job of limiting the need for the Eli Manning to beat teams passing. The Giants defense is also doing its part, ranking number two overall in the league in total defense, and in the top ten in both rush and pass defense. Being able to control the ball with a solid running game on offense and being able to prevent your opponent from doing so on defense are certainly ingredients for success in the NFL.
Okay, now that I'm done fawning over the Giants, I'll move to a few other things. First of all (or second of all), I'll discuss the Chargers-Steelers game. By now you may know that the Steelers defeated the Chargers 11-10, this game being the first time in 12,000 plus NFL games (or something like that) in history that the final score was 11-10. When I first heard this stat, my initial response was who gives a damn? Do people really have this little to do that they sit around and wait for professional football final scores to see if they have ever been achieved in the history of the game? And then I remembered that the answer to this last question is yes, and that the people who do have such little to do are at the Elias Sports Bureau. But then I later learned that the officials had improperly taken away a touchdown at the end of the game that would have given the Steelers a 17-10 or 18-10 win and I realized that there were other people who would actually give a damn. Those would be fantasy football players and gamblers. I certainly am glad that my fantasy football team wasn't affected by this error, and it is times like this that I am overjoyed that I never got into gambling.
And I guess I should say at least something about the Denver Broncos so that James doesn't whine that I dedicated an entire post to football and didn't discuss the Broncos. The Broncos are in first place, leading an otherwise absolutely crummy division. Good show! Keep up the good work!
And finally, I get to the reason that I really wanted to write this particular post. I'm going to discuss the Philadelphia-Cincinnati 13-13 tie that took place on Sunday. And to be more precise, I'm going to discuss Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb's apparent lack of understanding that ties were possible in the NFL. I find this utterly ridiculous that a starting quarterback on an NFL team did not know that a tie was possible. Now sure, ties don't occur that frequently in the league, the last one having occurred six years ago, but McNabb was in the league six years ago. One would think that even if he didn't know ties were possible when he entered the league that just perusing the scores of games that particular week would have caused him to say, wow a tie - I didn't know that was possible! That's crazy!
But even if that tie had not occurred in 2002, this still seems utterly absurd. Maybe the Philadelphia Eagles just haven't played that many games that have gone to overtime since McNabb has been in the league, but one would think that if they have played any other overtime games, since he is the starting quarterback he would be out there for the coin toss for overtime and he would at least listen to all of the rules that the referee gives. I'm not 100% certain, but I think that the referee does tell the players gathered for the second coin toss that if no team scores after fifteen minutes of overtime the game ends in a tie. I mean, did the guy not watch any pro football while he was in college? Admittedly, I'm a bit of stats junkie and I love ties in the NFL because I think it is funny how they screw up playoff races, but off the top of my head, I was able to remember that there were two ties in the 1997 NFL season, and three of those teams with ties were in the same division. And that division with three teams, and one of those teams, are the division and team on which McNabb has always played for in the NFL. I guess McNabb must have known what record his team had the year before joining the team, but he didn't think to look at their record just one more year back? Unbelievable...