NFL14 Cherry Picks W11: Grounding Hail Mary

14 Nov

Flop Jack

NFL Week 10: 49ers 27, Saints 24 (OT).

“A (flop) by any other name (“offensive pass interference”) would smell as (bad).”

Before Simultaneous-gate paralyzed the NFL for a week in 2012 (GB v SEA), the half-ending Hail Mary was a thrilling, at times chaotic physical drama that, due to its nature, unofficially allowed for a looser application of the rules. Outcomes were unpredictable and lady luck presided. And no, she didn’t wear pink.

But most importantly, the Hail Mary pass was always a good time, for fans and players.

Rarely and only in the most egregious circumstance was a near-miraculous TD catch ever invalidated.

No one messed with Hail Mary pre-2012. She had her standards, took her job seriously, no question, but she was a free-spirit, unencumbered and usually left most fans with a smile on their face, even if completion (TD) was not achieved.

But now that the replay fanatics have gotten a-hold of the game, she’s gone corporate and you never saw such sad eyes.

Since the Great Whine-fest of 2012, NFL officials on the field and upstairs are held to a strict-scrutiny standard, where every grab & push (flops are inexplicably ignored) is eye-balled to extreme and chicanery (49ers Cox) can rule the day, ending the game on a thud.


It’s possible the governors of our beloved NFL game truly do mean well in choosing this fretful pathway of inconsistent, micro-management, but then they’re the same guys who sold players on glove-wear.

In closing seconds of last Sunday’s 49ers – Saints game, bomb-catching Jimmy Graham was ruled in replay to’ve “fouled” faux-defender Perrish Cox and his TD grab was tossed.

But seeing is believing.

Everything’s connected, especially in sport. As such, it’s impossible to separate Perry’s apparent flop from Jim’s arm extension which was made to appear greater only by the Niner’s melodramatic drop. Had Cox not gone down in some post-election politicking, any arm-body contact in review would’ve been deemed incidental to the nature of the play (standing scrum), a form that defines most every Hail Mary heave.

Where flagrant foulage is absent, referees serve best who ‘let the players play’ to decide the outcome in those final moments.

And maybe someday, someone with power, moxy, brains and a real love for football will restore our Hail Mary to her perfect (imperfect) state. Not bloody likely but I’ll keep hoping and remembering how it used to be.

Sharp Cheddar

The Green Bay juggernaut got back on track at Lambeau last Sunday, putting on quite the offensive display in trouncing intra-division and leather-helmet rival da’ Bears (55-14). When Aaron Rodgers clicks, only Peyton, Drew & Tom compare (18-27 / 315y /

Packers have been feasting on smaller game only to be roughed up in higher weight class (SEA, DET & NO), so they can’t be considered NFC topper just yet.

Sunday they face a new-look Eagles squad with much-maligned but rejuvenated Jets cast-off Mark Sanchez under center. Mark can’t shake his “fumble” tag that junior media petulantly persist in attaching, but if he keeps birds flyin’ onward & upward, and that’s a big but (no pun intended), the juvenile set will have to cast their dispersions elsewhere.


Besides a Philly team that‘s adjusted well to D-Jax’s departure, under-the-radar defending champs Seattle are gaining momentum, NFCN leading Detroit has a new discipline (Caldwell) and Arian’s neo-cardiac Cards are full of cackle, even w/Palmer out (ACL).

GB’s remaining slate is a curious one with most mettle match-ups at home facing the Eagles, Patriots, Falcons and Lions. The road-test looks reasonably navigable as most dreaded rival Minnesota are downright Bear-ish in 2014, Buffalo, with veteran Orton manning controls is just viable but Tampa’s Lovie Smith does know the Pack well.

The drubbing Green Bay gave Chicago was impressive enough.

Maybe more impressive and deserving of good karma down the road is Coach Mike McCarthy’s apparent refusal to run up scores when opponents appear out-classed.

At the rate they were going (28 2Q points), Pack probably could’ve scored 75 on the toothless Monsters of Midway who’ve hit the skids after a promising start to the season. Instead, the host team kept it respectable with one TD in each of the final two quarters.

That’s class, something too rarely seen on the college scene where piling it on for poll position is the norm.

A Matter of Choice

If you polled those women whose boyfriends, husbands or partners follow the NFL and asked them, which of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases they found most disturbing, I’d hazard a guess it’s the child abuse / discipline matter that has the Vikings former MVP indefinitely suspended by the NFL.

The NFLPA filed a non-injury grievance with the NFL on Monday asking that Adrian Peterson be removed the Commissioner’s Exempt list. The hearing on that request is to be held next Monday, as ESPN “reports (11-12).”

As shocking and inciting of outrage as are the Rice – Janay Palmer video releases, the victim apparently made a choice to forgive her assailant and afford him, her husband, and their marriage, a second chance. A brave person, and I wish the Rices both, as I do Adrian Peterson and his family members, all the best in their journeys.

Most women support choice.


NFL Cherry Picks Week 11

Bills (5-4) @ Miami (5-4): 11-13 NFLN 8:30: Dolphins win
Texans (4-5) @ Cleveland (6-3): 11-16 CBS 1:00: HOU wins
Bengals (5-3-1) @ New Orleans: CBS 1:00: Saints wins
Seahawks (6-3) @ Kansas City (6-3): 1:00 Fox: Chiefs win
49ers (5-4) @ New York (3-6): Fox 1:00: Giants win
Lions (7-2) @ Arizona (8-1): Fox 4:30 (GOTW): Cards win
Eagles (7-2) @ Green Bay (6-3): Fox 4:30: Packers win
Patriots (7-2) @ Indianapolis (6-3): NBC 8:35: Pats win

Record: 50 – 29 – 1

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credits: Blessed Virgin Mary, wc.cca, W.Moroder, Groden-Oritisei, Italy, 2008; P.Cox, 8.26.12, J.Beall, wc.cca; Packers print, wc.cca, 1959; ripe cherries, wc.cca, Chirak, 6.24.07
Posted: 11-13-14 @ 10:06pm EST


2 Responses to “NFL14 Cherry Picks W11: Grounding Hail Mary”

  1. Kaan Gencer November 14, 2014 at 4:45 am #

    I saw your blog and really enjoyed it. I have a unique sports website, that is dedicated to bringing citizen sports journalists to the forefront by highlighting great writers like yourself. You can create new content or re-post your blog content on and increase your blogs exposure while also getting more interaction from readers. Let me know if you are interested!

    • Steven Keys November 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Kaan. I’ll check the website. Frankly, with WordPress’ set-up permitting posts of every media outlet from Walla Walla to Timbuktu and only “press(es)” those that pay a fee, I feel like the pod Sigourney Weaver (and cat?) was in at end of “Alien” that drifted through the vast, endless reaches of space, only to be discovered by chance when a ship happened along. But it’s a pod, and I guess that’s something.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: