Allow me to share a gripe I have with ESPN Page 2 writer Gregg Easterbrook, AKA Tuesday Morning Quarterback (TMQ), TMQ is a very bright man, often interjecting intellectual discussion into his football articles. It makes for interesting reading when you're on the old crapper, anyway.
TMQ likes to criticize teams for punting when they're in opponent's territory, and I tend to share his viewpoint in most cases. However, a common argument he uses for going for it over punting is "the average NFL play". In today's TMQ article
, he says:
"The average NFL offensive play gains about five yards. Yet game in, game out, coaches boom the punt away on short yardage, handing the most precious article in football -- possession of the ball -- to the other side."
On the surface, this argument certainly makes his case. But TMQ is using a statistic that hardly fits the situation. The average NFL play does indeed gain about five yards, but 4th and short is hardly an average NFL down. When teams choose to go for it on 4th and short, the defense plays a lot differently than they would on 2nd and 10. They pin their ears back and go for the kill! I would rather see TMQ find the NFL average on 4th and short and use that for his argument, but I bet the yardage is less than five yards. Maybe a lot less.
It's funny that I would find a gripe with TMQ this morning, because my gripe from last night's New Orleans/Atlanta game is a huge pet peeve of TMQ's as well. This is my MNG - Monday Night Gripe. It has to do with the use of the term "double reverse". Let's allow TMQ to explain:"Watching a highlight of receiver Marty Booker of Miami running against Tennessee, novice sportscaster Jerome Bettis exclaimed, "Reverse!" It was an end-around, not a reverse: Daunte Culpepper faked up the middle, then handed off to Booker coming around. The ball never changed direction. Announcers, here's the easy way to tell if it's a reverse: count handoffs. An end-around requires one handoff. A reverse requires two handoffs, one to make the ball go in Direction A, another to make it go in Direction B. The very rare double reverse requires three handoffs, so the ball ends up going back in Direction A."
Precisely! TMQ continues to talk about a reverse that went for a touchdown in last night's game, and yet the announcers kept referring to it as a double reverse. The only person in the booth that called it correctly was Joe Theismann (pronounced "thEEsmann
", you know). The other two doofuses kept calling double reverse.
To make matters worse, during SportsCenter after the game, they rejoined the MNF pre-game crew (Chris "You're With Me, Leather
" Berman, Steve Young, MICHAEL IRVIN, and Tom Jackson) to recap the game. Not one, not two, not three, but all four of these knowledgeable gentlemen referred to it as a double reverse! And keep in mind, 3 of these 4 guys played in the NFL!
Announcers are bad for the most part. Annoying as hell, really. The least they could do is call a play by its true name. Dontcha think?