The Bills are Awesome, but Goodell?….Not so much
It’s the first week of training camp and we already have a clear picture of who’s who in the AFC East. So here you have the complete breakdown of the only team in the division that bears watching on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.
Hope, optimism, dreams…That’s what you’ll smell if take a drive through the cornfields of Western New York these days (well unless you get too close to the lake…). The Buffalo Bills have opened camp and it’s clear that they are the class of the NFL. I mean, judging by what we saw on Monday afternoon, they’re the only team in the league to even show up. Early reports are that Sammy Watkins caught the first four passes thrown his way by E.J. “I wrote the” Manuel. This no doubt solidifies him as the best WR in the NFL and is a great predictor of things to come in Orchard Park. The defense has taken a couple of hits, what with Kiko’s injury and Dareus’ love of snacks, drugs and the gas pedal, but fear not; the Bills defense is now under the direction of the all-powerful Dark Helmet, so there is no reason to believe that they will not lead the league in a few statistical categories (personal fouls chief among them).
There you have it; hope abounds, so let’s all get on the bandwagon while there’s still a few good seats left!
Now, in lieu of overreacting to the other three teams sitting on their couches and playing with their children one last time before camp opens for the rest of the division, I have a very important piece of NFL rules information that should piss all of you off nicely. The NFL officials were informed this week that they are to put extra emphasis on the defensive holding penalty. There is no other way to say it…this sucks. You thought that there were a lot of stupid penalties called over the last few years on passing plays? Well, strap yourself in; I bet you that number doubles. The last time NFL officials put extra emphasis on this rule was in 2004; many say this was in direct response to Peyton Manning getting embarrassed in the AFC Championship game by Ty Law, Rodney Harrison and the rest of the NE Patriots. Kind of funny that it happens again directly following Peyton Manning getting embarrassed by the Seahawks’ defense in the Super Bowl…just so you know what you’re in for, former NFL Director of Officiating Mike Pereira offered up this little nugget- in 2003, there were 79 “illegal contact” penalties called on defenses. In 2004, after the “emphasis”, there were 191. So if you want to watch a game where the defense is allowed to play, I’d look to your local high school.
There are really only two reasons that the NFL would make this decision. 1.) They are trying to increase scoring, thus making all of the crappy QBs currently in the league look good. This would help them build their case that the talent level in the league is not watered down and can support expansion teams in London and Los Angeles. Or 2.) They are doing their best to create a league where Peyton Manning can’t pee his pants in the big game, allowing him to win one more Super Bowl before he retires.
Either situation sucks. Defense is awesome and as much as I hate Pete Carroll and Richard Sherman, I love watching the Seahawks’ defense play. It used to be that “defense wins championships”, now defense just doesn’t lose championships and that blows, if I wanted to see scores of 75-100 I’d watch the Arena Football League. One team that should be pumped about this emphasis though should be the Ravens; now Joe Flacco’s “close your eyes and chuck it” offense is going to be that much more effective now that every incomplete pass is sure to have a flag attached to it.