Philly’s Perfect Pitcher

Just before the clock struck 12 …

What? Another officiating debacle? Washington did quite enough to lose to the Giants 24-17 at FedEx Field, and probably would have lost without striped impediments; their receiving corps ought to be nicknamed The Bad Hands People. But referee Jeff Triplette’s crew had far too big a role in the final Washington drive of the game, and far too big an influence on the outcome. In brief, here’s what happened last night in the final two minutes:

In the first play after the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter, on 2nd-and-5 from his own 41, Robert Griffin III hit Pierre Garçon for a gain close to the first down. The head linesman, Phil McKinnely, motioned for the chains to be moved forward for a first down, and the chain gang rushed up and changed the down marker from “2″ to “1.” First down. Except Washington was in the hurry-up offense, and the ref, Triplette, standing behind the offense, held up three fingers. Third down.

On the sideline, coach Mike Shanahan said he asked an official for a measurement, and the official responded, “You don’t have to. It’s a first down.” And so the playcall went in for a 1st-and-10 play, a deep ball down the seam for tight end Fred Davis. The ball should have been caught by Davis, but it was jarred loose by Giants safety Antrel Rolle.

Fourth down, signaled Triplette. Shanahan seemed apoplectic on the sidelines. The side judge was telling him first down on the previous play; the head linesman had already signaled first down and moved the chains up … and now Triplette was insisting it was fourth down. Washington had no timeouts left. Griffin, now on fourth down, threw to Garçon for six yards and a first down—and safety Will Hill stripped Garçon of the ball. Giants ball. Game over. Had Garçon not coughed it up, Washington would have had a first down at the Giants’ 49 with the clock running and about 1:19 to play. So this didn’t cost Washington the game, per se. But it was a massive failure of the crew.

After the game, in a pool report with a local writer, Triplette said he felt it would have been “an unfair advantage” to Washington to stop the clock and get the down situation straight with his crew and the chain gang.

My biggest question: In the final two minutes of either half, instant replay can buzz down to correct or adjudicate a spotting of the ball. Why not do so in these types of cases, especially when there’s obvious chaos on the field? As for Triplette’s saying stopping the clock would have created an unfair advantage for Washington: Does that mean an officiating crew never can call for a measurement when the offensive team is out of timeouts? It’s a spurious contention by Triplette; yes, it would have advantaged Washington to stop the clock. But two officials on the crew think it’s a first down, and one has motioned the chain crew up the field. Getting order restored and giving clarity to chaos is far more important than the 40 or so seconds the game would been paused to get the situation right. By the crew’s failure to clarify what was going on, Washington’s play-calling was bastardized by the obvious impression that it was a different down than what it was.

As former NFL official Jim Daopoulos told me this morning: “It’s a reviewable play, and at the very least it should have been reviewed. But Jeff has the power to stop the clock there. What problem would it have been to stop the clock? What was going on on the field was an error that had to be corrected. I don’t understand it.”

That makes a nation of us.

* * *

Another effort at diversity.

The NFL was chagrined last January when 14 consecutive coach and general manager vacancies were filled by white men. So this fall a committee of eight former coaches and GMs was formed by the league to address the issue with league executives Robert Gulliver and Troy Vincent. As I reported on NBC last night, the committee finalized its plan to address minority hiring last week by compiling a double-digit list of candidates for head coaches and general managers, going beyond the usual suspects. In essence, the league will provide the kind of service teams have been buying through headhunting firms: If an owner calls wanting to know whom the top offensive prospects are, the league will have a list of prospects to discuss with them, and will make available the men they’d want to discuss the openings with anyway—such as former coach Tony Dungy or former GM Bill Polian, two of the eight committee members, or any of those who have been in the hiring chair before on the committee.

“The focus is not just the hot name,” said Robert Gulliver, the NFL’s executive vice president for human resources. “It’s identifying the new talent too. New names will emerge.”

The coaching list, for instance, will contain the top names—Stanford coach David Shaw, former Bears coach Lovie Smith [both African-American] and former Bucs and Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who is white. But Jon’s not the only Gruden on the list. Brother Jay is on it; he’s the Cincinnati offensive coordinator who has shepherded Andy Dalton through two straight playoff seasons and is on the way to a third. And minority coaches Mel Tucker (Chicago defensive coordinator] and Eric Studesville (Denver running backs coach), both of whom have been interim head coaches, got high marks from the committee too.

Of course, owners don’t have to use the committee’s recommendation. Who knows if any will? Owners will do what owners want to do. The system works when owners and hirers go into the process with a truly open mind. In 2007, Pittsburgh’s Dan Rooney had a blank slate entering the process, and he ended up hiring a coach he’d never met before, Mike Tomlin. In Chicago last winter, GM Phil Emery went into his search wide open, interviewed 13 candidates and hired Marc Trestman from the CFL—a man on no one’s radar entering the process. That’s the key: not determining in October or November that there’s one man you have to have and focusing all your energy on him.

* * *

The ($2-Million) Invisible Man

Here’s what Josh Freeman has done in his eight games as a Viking:

Week 6 Carolina, inactive
Week 7 at Giants, 20 of 53, no TDs, one interception in loss to previously 0-6 Giants
Week 8 Green Bay, inactive
Week 9 at Dallas, inactive
Week 10 Washington, active. Did not play.
Week 11 at Seattle, inactive
Week 12 at Green Bay, inactive
Week 13 Chicago, inactive

Just wondering what happens when owner Zygi Wilf and GM Rick Spielman, who went out on a limb to spend $2 million to bring Freeman in, have an encounter. Does Wilf say, “Why exactly am I paying $2 million to someone who’s a healthy scratch every week?”

* * *

* * *

I love this from Chip Kelly.

This has nothing to do with his game Sunday, but I read it from Kelly’s Thanksgiving Day meeting with reporters in Philadelphia and wanted to pass it along. The vast majority of quotes distributed by teams are space-fillers, but on Thursday, Kelly was asked about hiring Bill Davis as defensive coordinator despite a stint as coordinator in Arizona where “his numbers weren’t great.”

Said Kelly: “I think people get so caught up in statistics that sometimes it’s baffling to me. You may look at a guy and say, ‘Well, they were in the bottom of the league defensively.’ Well, they had 13 starters out. They should be at the bottom of the league defensively. Is that Billy’s fault? I don’t know what it was, but I don’t look at it that way. I hired [former Oregon offensive coordinator and current Oregon head coach] Mark Helfrich as our offensive coordinator when I was at the University of Oregon. Their numbers were not great at Colorado. But you sit down and talk football with Helf for about 10 minutes. He’s a pretty sharp guy and really brought a lot to the table, and he’s done an outstanding job. He’s now the head coach at Oregon. Whoever coached Adrian Peterson, is that the best running back coach in the country? I don’t know. I’ve got to meet him. He could actually be. But let’s find out what he teaches. Some of it, you’re teaching to what you have available to you and sometimes that’s something that I consider. So I don’t look at the statistics part of it and say, ‘Hey, we need to get that coach.’ Sometimes, honestly, if you look at statistics, you need to get that player.”

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345 comments
DrewS
DrewS

From Philly and love Nick Foles. Everybody is looking for the next great QB in the draft. You can end up with Peyton Manning or you can end up with Ryan Leaf. That wasted number one pick can set your team back 3-4 years. It's not the big rookie contract which is a thing of the past but the time you waste trying to determine if the QB is the real deal. Can the Eagles win a Super Bowl with Foles, who knows. Is Flacco in Baltimore that great. How much better is Flacco over Foles. Certainly the skills sets of Wilson, Kapernick, Breeze, Luck exceed those of Nick Foles. I really don't know if a slow footed QB with a good but not great arm can win it all. It would seem the time for game manager QB's to win a Super Bowl has come and gone. I'm willing to give up the next three seasons to find out if Foles is the one.

capsize284
capsize284

Miami was right to go for it on 4th down.  Every team in the league should go for it in that situation.

mg87
mg87

Regarding heartbreaking, last-second sporting decision:

Last year in Soccer in England a pretty similar thing happened during the play-offs for promotion to the Premier League. Leicester won the first game 2:1 and was awarded a penalty in the 94th minute in the second game (score was 2:1 Watford at that point).

Take a look what happened then: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_655WeSlBhM

BillRobinson
BillRobinson

I can't believe I actually took the time to read all 329 (to this point in time) comments to Peter's article above.

john174
john174

Hey PK, anyone who talks as much about drinking beer as you do really has no business making judgements about people who smoke pot. just how many people have died from a THC overdose anyway? And now,  how many every month die due to alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, etc? just saying you might want to rethink your attitude

raput76
raput76

who cares is the coach is European-American or black? I am so sick of the new racism....give it a rest, King

TomGrant
TomGrant

I can't wait to read more fascinating revelations about the referees.  I'm mean, Get Back Coach--who knew?  Actually, everyone except Peter King, apparently.  I just don't see how someone who makes their living watching football could not know about that.  Sort of makes you wonder what else he's missing.

berdosux
berdosux

Ok I know this is being picky, but I hate it when you do your "non-football" thoughts of the week, and then all it is is FOOTBALL talk.  Maybe put non pro football talk? 

GregAtkin
GregAtkin

I love PK i like his style, his tone his insight. But he has to become more objective.he despises Dallas. He isn't looking forward to seeing aspecial on one of the all-time greatest defensive line-the Dallas '90 D-line. Why?  Cause they didn'thave a cute nickname OR because they destroyed his pet teams in the northeast.   PK ignored the Dall-Redskin game a few weeks ago to watch the Red Sox.

C'mon . ThisCowboy team is the greatest of all times having won all 9 games in their respective super bowl title  years by double digits. No team was even close.  They handled the mighty 49ers in 92 and never looked back. They annhilated HOFer qbs Young ,Farve, and Kelly.  No lastsecond FGs , no tuck rules. They just smashed people

PK despises them yet constantly chirps up Miami and those horrible jets who were in his "fine fifteen just a few weeks ago. 

PK needs more perspective.

woodpro34
woodpro34

Really admire your work Mr. King, but your comparison of Megatron to Rice is pretty much plagiarism of Bill Simmon's Grantland masterpiece of 2 weeks ago, whether you know it or not.

gary7
gary7

Now you know what the “get-back coach” is,   um hey genius everybody over the age 10 who has watch NFL films knows this, numerous videos of coaches yelling where is the get back coach (Sorry Sabols, he must never watched one) and the "I kept saying to myself, I didn’t know that. ....Finally after all these years you hit the nail with the hammer

BhagwanRajneesh
BhagwanRajneesh

“What’s left of what used to be Dennis Miller sucks.”

Jon8
Jon8

Tonight: Seattle 41, New Orleans 21.

If I were Shanahan, other than looking for a new job or checking my retirement portfolio, I would have thrown my red flag as far out onto that field as I could throw it! I would not have cared that I was out of timeouts! Triplette, who has always been one of the worst Ref's in the NFL, with several controversies on his record, could not have ignored the flag and that would have allowed me (Shanahan) to try and get the situation straightened out!

Diversity by any other name is still affirmative action!

Tom52
Tom52

good one mentioning Rhett ellison as a goat. However you missed Adrian Peterson on your offensive players of the week. he ran for 211 yards. I think that should qualify.

wholesaler1972
wholesaler1972

No mention of the record-breaking Josh Gordon? Glad to see you did a Brett Favre update, though.

SemperFiDTM
SemperFiDTM

Not A more thrilling finish than Auburn Alabama PK? I guess youre forgetting your beloved Patriots losing the Super Bowl (not to mention the only perfect season since the Fins) on a velcro top-of-the-helmet catch by David Tyree of the NY Giants. But nah, youre right...a college game sure beats that...{smirk} 

jhymas25
jhymas25

Bears fan here. I don't think they're making the playoffs, which is disappointing. But I find all the praises heaped on Josh McCown to be interesting; he is putting up fantastic stats to be sure, but the offense does not seem to be any better and may actually be worse. Just with the most basic measurement of ppg, Cutler holds a 27- 26 advantage. This counts the ravens game for Cutler and the Redskins game for McCown. If you throw out these two games Cutler holds a 29 - 23 advantage. As I said, pretty shallow analysis but something needs to be added to the conversation other than merely stats. All this talk of McCown being a better option at QB is just not passing the eye test to me. Very grateful for a competent backup after the last few years of horrid ones, but Cutler seems to make the offense as a whole better. Anybody know where stats to measure offensive efficiency adjusting for opponent can be seen for each week? (As far as I can tell, football outsiders only shows for the entire year)

Also to hear Mel Tucker as a head coaching candidate is kind of funny. He's running a defense that is currently ranked 17th on football outsiders (through week 12) after being 1st at the end of last year. Injuries are a part of that but the defense wasn't playing well early in the year either. 

Earl52
Earl52

Family time on thanksgiving? Not if you're an employee of the nfl with its 3 games which leads to players, coaches, stadium employees, extra policemen, etc all having to miss time away from their families, never mind the season ticket holders and fans who must choose between family and football. Kind of hypocritical to bash retail establishments for being open isn't it?

seamillguesthouse
seamillguesthouse

Again my Chargers are not worth mentioning.

Bolts fans are now  looking forward to 2014 season.

ruggerrick9
ruggerrick9

If nine of your "non-football thoughts" are going to be about football, you should probably change the heading to "my non-NFL thoughts  of the week".  Not sayin', just sayin'.

stagger
stagger

"The Denver Post has hired a Marijuana Editor.

Ricardo Baca, a blunt-speaking man..."

Very punny Peter.

jeff_jo
jeff_jo

Auburn’s Jordan-Hare stadium is at 85.5W, 32.6N. Mizzou’s Memorial Stadium is at 92.3W, 38.9N. If you go north from Auburn to get to 38.9N, as Peter describes, you are 369 miles due east of Mizzou, not 445. That’s about a 21% error, Peter. But the result depends on which you do first: going south from Mizzou, you end up 399 miles due west of Auburn. That’s closer to your result, only a 12% error. :)

And in the NFL, however you do something similar with Cincinnati and Indianapolis, the likely winner of the AFC North lies 46 miles to the south of the likely winner of the AFC South.

ruggerrick9
ruggerrick9

I realize that Nick Foles does not run a 4.3 40 and doesn't have the fast twitch quickness of a young Mike Vick or RGIII or whomever.  But I think it's unfair to call him "unathletic".  He is certainly athletic enough to move the pocket, scramble away from pressure, and make occasionally runs when the defense gives it to him.  He ran 9 times for 47 yards last week, a 5.2 average, numbers Trent Richardson will kill for right now.  And how "unathletic" can a guy be who was offered basketball scholarships by Georgetown and the University of Texas?

andruid
andruid

I don't see why the end of the Auburn-Alabama game is such a big deal. As soon as I saw they were going for the field goal, I started shouting: "That's a big mistake. What about the runback?" Here are some examples of field goals returned for touchdowns [http://www.nfl.com/history/randf/records/indiv/misc]. Despite Nick Saban's claims to the contrary, not going for field goals like this is a well-known fact of football life. You didn't see Belichik make this kind of mistake.

UnishowponyWherebeef
UnishowponyWherebeef

I wonder if Peter King understands that NFL referees get paid six figure salaries.

So being impressed that they use expressions like UNR for unnecessary roughness is kind of goofy.

Over one hundred thousands dollars.

For being a referee.

They should be NFL encyclopedias. End of discussion.

JoseFigueroa
JoseFigueroa

Hey Peter,


Stop overreacting to the latest fad. I don't know how you have the Eagles 4 spots ahead of the Cowboys when they have the same record and Dallas beat the Eagles in Philly (held them to 3 points) and knocked the latest boy wonder out of the game. Plus the Cowboys are undefeated in the division. Be objective please.

woodson26
woodson26

@raput76 Yep....and why are players drafted, signed, traded, and cut from teams? because of performance, not the color of their skin...and that is how coaches should be judged

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@GregAtkin 

They beat teams with stright up execution.  No Trick plays, no uneven formations, teams across the field knew what they were gonna do and still couldn't stop it.

MatthewEugeneHaag
MatthewEugeneHaag

@GregAtkin First off its that everyone in the COUNTRY outside of the actual city of Dallas is tired of hearing about the Cowboys.  Second I would've watched the Red Sox win the world series rather than the HORRID game that would be Dallas vs Washington.  Look its the fact that in those days the Cowboys were a GREAT football team.  We all know that.  We get it.  What we get sick of is you all NEVER let ANYONE forget it.  That and every single freakin YEAR we have to hear how you would go to the Superbowl if Tony Romo wasn't your QB.  Tell you what I am a Vikings fan.....Trade you Christian Ponder for Tony Romo.  Now Romo is not your QB go to the SB with Ponder.  Dare you.  If you take that offer it will prove that while Romo is no Troy he may be better than many out there.  I hate Dallas.  I have reason.  I grew up in Houston so I hate Dallas.  From Minnesota so I hate Green Bay too.  In the end I hate Dallas more than Green Bay because of obnoxious can't face reality fans.  Personally I wanna see a doc on the 85 Bears D.  Or the old Steel Curtain with Jack Lambert.  

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

@woodpro34 : like there haven't been 1254 other writers who have thrown Rice's and Johnson's stats in their column in the last month for the same reason?

gary7
gary7

@woodpro34 he knows it, probably tells young woman at the coffee shop he is a GM 

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

@BhagwanRajneesh I thought Miller was GREAT on MNF but, i realize that i'm in the 5% or so of the football-watching world that could put together his metaphors and comments without google in front of me.  That said, he's a shill, sell-out, phony, waste of air time these days.  Very sad.

GregAtkin
GregAtkin

@BhagwanRajneesh No the NFL sucks. There's going to be a wikileak expose on fixed games soon. Horrible officiating. the cap has created a mish-mash of mediocrity.

gary7
gary7

@Jon8 so Fred"The Head" Davis would not have dropped the ball on a average hit and Garcon would not have the ball taken from him like a mugger taken a purse from a 90 year old woman , the REDSKINS and Scamahan have more excuses than Peter King when he plays coach/GM like who should be starting at QB (Matt Flynn for the Bills a few games back, when he was on the roster for a week) Maybe King can become the GM for the Skins just to show even Vinnie Cerrato know more than this guy

SemperFiDTM
SemperFiDTM

Full disclosure - Im the most miserable Jets fan you know, and would like to complain right now that you didnt dump on them enough this week. Yes, really. (God they SUCK!! SHOOT ME!!!!)

blynder
blynder

@seamillguesthouse 

I don't agree.  I think there is some worth in mentioning the Chargers - it's a different year for them.  They have some talent issues they need to address - particularly on defense.  They are still "in the hunt" for that final wild-card spot.  They have games against Denver and KC yet to come. They could be the 6th Wild Card (Yes, it is a long shot); but that would be something to see!  Especially for the AFC W, which was the "worst" division last year....

josef918
josef918

@jeff_jo Ah, but are we considering traveling along great circles only, for the shortest distance, or simply moving east-west along lines of latitude?  I don't think this will make up the difference but we must be sure.  These things matter!

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

@ruggerrick9 I'd be willing to sacrifice a chicken to Jobu if it would get TRich to explode for the rest of the year like people thought he would coming out of college.

JPM
JPM

@andruid You absolutely shouted no such thing.

Mike26
Mike26

@andruid Don't forget - he also went for the field goal with his PUNTER/long-range kicker, NOT his full-time kicker.

SkeeterSkier
SkeeterSkier

@JoseFigueroa I'm a Cowboy fan, and I really don't care where a writer "ranks" my team. If it were my column, I may have ranked the Eagles (the team I detest more than any team on the face of the planet) a few spots ahead as well.

The REALLY COOL thing about the NFL is that teams make it to the post-season based on records, not polls. You've got 4 more weeks to curl up in your Cowboy pajamas and root for them to win...just like I'll be doing.

I'll never understand the nitpicking that goes on about who's ranked where when it just-doesn't-matter. 

KelubTX
KelubTX

@JoseFigueroaI totally agree. Plus the entire Cowboys' post being about how unfair Thanksgiving is... Yet nothing about the Lions having the same advantage in their write-up. At least he mentioned that Tony Romo should maybe, possibly, potentially, be in the conversation for MVP - but only if Nick Foles is too.

I'm glad to see some light being shed on the officiating, but there's still too much reverence placed on the referees. The officiating has been TERRIBLE this year. Just TERRIBLE. Yet no one wants to talk about it unless egregious mistakes are made. When the small mistakes continue to be made without anyone pointing them out, the large mistakes will eventually be made. You can't criticize the officiating without someone saying you're being a sore loser or acting like it's a social taboo. I clearly see it in games I have 0 interest in the outcome of. It's not bias. It's just people being bad at their jobs and no one being willing to discuss why they've digressed and what needs to be done to improve it.

I've been reading Peter's MMQB articles for over 10 years, but something about this year has just been sub-par. Used to be I could expect more depth to his articles, but the past year or two it seems like he just regurgitates the same talking points that everyone else mindlessly uses.

daved1015
daved1015

@SemperFiDTM   Geno is named the starter again this week to boot . Rex is going down with the ship.    Geno can't hit the broad side of a barn right now if he was standing right on front of it 


duckfan59
duckfan59

@Mike26 @andruid Why would he? His regular kicker was 0-3 from shorter distances and had one blocked.
I just think he should have tried the Hail Mary and if it doesn't work you go to OT. (yeah, I know, there's still the chance of an interception returned for a TD but at least with your offense on the field you have some athletes out there to tackle someone, unlike the field goal unit which is just O linemen, the kicker and the holder.).
Think Saban wishes he coul;d go back in time and NOT have that 1 second put back on the clock?  That made it even more absurd. That play would not have happened but for the clock adjustment.

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