This is the first time in my considerable number of years of watching football that I rooted for the Dallas Cowboys. Why? Because my beloved Giants are now back in a tie for first place with a wonderful 5-7 won/lost record. This record has resulted from them blowing game after game in which they had a double digit lead in the fourth quarter. The reasons for their repeated failures are many. To begin with, they have very little depth on the defensive side of the ball, so by the fourth quarter they are gassed and cannot put up any resistance against their opponent’s offensive drives. Secondly, they have virtually no running game, an essential element in running the clock down as the game progresses in the late stages of the fourth quarter. Lastly, they have suffered from some very questionable play calling on both sides of the ball.
After yesterday, people were hollering that Coughlin should have kicked a field goal to put the Giants up by thirteen, instead of going for the knockout punch. I disagree, deep down Coughlin knew his team could not hold down the Jets and he just figured if they could get up by seventeen the clock would end up winning the game for them. The problem lies with the play calling and execution that ensued, as it has all season long. Fourth and two, how about a draw play, a screen pass, an option pass, even a fake field goal with a toss into the end zone. The Giants have virtually no trick plays up their sleeve, nothing they can pull out of their hats when a big play is needed. Instead we watch Eli drop back, or should I say lumber back and get pressured into another bad pass. This is on Coughlin and McAdoo, the offensive coordinator. Then, as the offense fails again, we watch Spagnuolo’s defense not put up any resistance.
After watching the Giant game and then tonight’s Cowboy Redskin game, I realize the issues are endemic to the league in general. Bottom line, save for the Patriots, the Cardinals, the Bengals and the Panthers, all the teams in the NFL, including the vaunted Packers, are average at best. Meanwhile the Pats have lost two in a row, one to the lowly Eagles, I’m not a believer in Carson Palmer when the going gets tough, Dalton and Lewis, QB and coach, have a lot to prove and Cam still has to convince me he can get it done when the pressure really mounts.
What is really going on is that free agency has eliminated the existence of perennially strong teams. It’s all about the quarterbacks, an additional star offensive player or two, a dominant left tackle and a pass rusher. Name a great Patriot (all you fantasy football nerds excluded) besides Brady and Gronk, a player besides Carson or Fitzgerald on the Cards, an athlete on the Panthers besides Newton or Kuechly. Back in the day, TEAMS were great, offensive and defensive lines played together and developed chemistry over many years, linebackers and defensive backs knew exactly where their mates would be on any given play. Now half the players have no clue what’s going on, they are regularly out of position both on offense and defense, making the game in general virtually impossible to enjoy. All we do now is hope our favorite team makes it to the others team’s 35-40 yard line and watch the machines previously called placekickers bang out one fifty yard field goal after the next. Throw in an occasional bomb to Odell Beckham or Sammy Watkins or a slant to the Pats Amendola and that about sums up football these days.
Lastly, what are we going to do about the zebras, After your team scores on a great play, you don’t rejoice, instead you look to make sure that the refs are not gathering to make another game changing call. Let the players play, let a 5’9″ d-back use his hands to contain a 6’5″ Calvin Johnson, stop with this ridiculous five yard “illegal use of hands” rule, eliminate the “making a football move” rule which has robbed great players like Beckham and Bryant from game winning touchdowns. Bottom line, long time knowledgeable football fans are having a very hard time watching the diluted crap that passes for football today. I will watch my Giant’s remaining games but not with the enjoyment I used to experience. Unfortunately, I bet many of my fellow football fans feel the same way.