Tag Archives: NFL

Duck & Cover: Oregon Coach Made Like a Chip and Dipped

 Duck & Cover is a sports column covering news and opinion on local and national sports with an emphasis on the University of Oregon.

-Eleni Pappelis

Oregon has lost its great football coach Chip Kelly. The Philadelphia Eagles have cleverly persuaded Coach Kelly to leave the University of Oregon Ducks even after deciding to stay in the NCAAF another year. Coach Kelly was 46-7 during his four years at Oregon; this includes leading the Ducks to three PAC-12 championships and four Bowl Championship Series games, most recently a victory in the Fiesta Bowl.

Being only the 6th active coach to go directly from college football to the NFL, Coach Kelly has the full support of the Ducks. In interviews, he has stated how he is confident that they will find a coach that will continue to lead them to great success.

I look forward to watching how the new NFL coach does next season. It will be interesting to see how he flies as an Eagle. As for the Ducks next season, I have the highest expectations for them to pull it together to make their former coach proud.

Good luck to you, Coach. As birds of a feather, we will always flock together.

A Ballad of Thanks to Coach Chip Kelly

A ballad is a narrative poem written in short, simple stanzas often sung as a melodic song.

Head Coach Chip Kelly,
With your visor on
And your play books ready.

We are so sad you have chosen to go.
So we thank you for all the success you have brought the Ducks,
And at least you are not going to Buffalo.

You have brought this school such spirit,
We’ll make sure to Yell-O loud enough
so you can still hear it.

With Black Mamba and Mariota’s skill,
Next year we’ll win the Natty
Because with the help you’ve already given us, I know we will.

Image from the Associated Press.

New NFL Rule Proves More Problematic Than Helpful

-Aubrey Wieber

Anyone who loosely follows sports probably heard about the now infamous Thanksgiving day play where Houston Texans running back Justin Forsett scored an 81-yard touchdown even though both his elbow and knee touched the turf seven yards past the line of scrimmage.

The seven refs on the field apparently didn’t see his knee touch the ground and never whistled the play dead, so Forsett jumped up and kept going while the Detroit Lions defense stood around assuming the play had ended.

This shouldn’t be an issue because in the off-season the NFL changed instant replay rules so that every scoring play and turnover would be automatically reviewed by the officials before play is resumed.

However, Lions coach Jim Schwartz got caught up in emotion and did what would have been the right thing to do last season and threw his challenge flag.

Another new rule this year is that if a coach tries to challenge a play that is already going to be reviewed, they lose the privilege of having it reviewed and are penalized 15 yards. This led to the touchdown being given to Forsett, which ended up being the longest rushing play in Texans franchise history.

Afterward, Schwartz and the officiating crew caught blame from fans, writers, and analysts. After all, Forsett was tackled and the play was over. The Texans got seven points that they didn’t earn, and the Lions lost 34-31 in overtime. Without that touchdown, the Lions would have won in regulation and the win would have been their first on Thanksgiving since 2003.

Schwartz got caught up in the moment and made a bad decision, but he, like everyone else watching the play, did not know the rule.

At least one out of the seven officials watching the play should have seen either the knee or elbow of Forsett down.

But the real blame is on the NFL. I understand the 15 yard penalty handed out when a coach undermines the replay rule already in place, but giving out an unearned and game-changing 81-yard touchdown is the most egregious call I have seen this year, including the Fail Mary, when a Seattle receiver got away with a pass interference penalty and was awarded a touchdown for a ball that Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings had caught. The call was so awful that it ended the lockout between the NFL and the officials.

What this all boils down to is the NFL placing more emphasis on their own pride than the integrity of the game. They knew that the play shouldn’t result in a touchdown, but they gave it out anyway.

At what point does logic take over? Who is happy with this result? Texan fans? Maybe, but it’s hard to be excited about a record-breaking run that shouldn’t have counted in the first place. The fact is the NFL handled this wrong. And it’s not the first time that the Lions have been on the wrong side of a controversial call. In that call, it was again the letter of the law that was followed while reviewing the play instead of logic.

Examples of this behavior expand beyond single plays. The league has said for years that they are changing the game so that it will be safer yet they insist on making teams play on three to four days rest in Thursday night games aired on the NFL Network rather than the six to seven days rest they would have when playing in a traditionally scheduled Sunday or Monday night game. The only reason the NFL insists on these games is to give relevance to their own network. Generally the match ups are poor and the players are visibly tired. They also, amid all of the injuries inflicted annually, continue to push for an 18-game season.

In September, ex-NFL great Steve Young took a shot at the league during an interview with usatoday.com’s Simon Samano.

“[…] Everything about the NFL now is inelastic for demand. There’s nothing (the league) can do to hurt the demand for the game. So, the bottom line is they don’t care.”

The league has been pissing down the fans’ backs and telling them it’s raining for far too long. The worst part about it is that they can. The NFL is wildly popular and no matter what they do, including locking out the players and then the officials in back-to-back years, ratings will be through the roof.

Follow Aubrey on Twitter!

Image from http://thesportsquotient.com

Junior Seau’s Death Forces Us to Look in the Mirror

-Erik Gundersen

No matter what time of the year in the sports world, it is evident in our country NFL football is king. Although exciting playoffs in both the NHL and NBA are underway, any football news takes precedent. A bombshell hit early Wednesday morning with the suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012-2013 season.

Then, breaking news came from Oceanside, California: Junior Seau, one of the greatest defensive players to ever play football, died at the age of 43 in a suspected suicide.

Allegedly, for the second time in a little more than 14 months, an NFL player has taken his own life. Dave Duerson, who had a 10-year NFL career, took his own life last year. He shot himself in the chest after sending a text message to his family saying that he wanted his brain to be studied at the Boston University of School of Medicine. Seau, a far more recognizable figure for our generation, took his life in the same fashion: a gun shot to the chest.

This brought myself and others to start talking about these problems, mainly on Twitter. When will this, and other cases of players suffering long-term damage finally weigh on the conscious of the American people? Is the enjoyment many of us feel on Sunday’s in the fall really worth all of this?

Myles Brown of SLAM Magazine (@mdotbrown) had these remarks: “Lie to yourself, not me. Depression and suicide have been linked to several players with a history of concussions, including NCAA players,” Brown continued, “if you need to deny that to enjoy your Sundays, go for it. But I bet you’ll think twice about putting your kids in harm’s way.”

I doubt football’s popularity will decline, but there has to be a point where viewers start thinking about the players on the field as people.

Last year, former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who has suffered memory loss long after his playing days, along with six other former players filed a lawsuit against the NFL last August for “negligence and intentional misconduct in its response to the headaches, dizziness and dementia that former players have reported.”  The cases have been piling up, and although NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell has unleashed his recent crusade on the New Orleans Saints, the problem is still not solved.

I love football and as a student these last four years, it has given me some of my lasting college memories. The NFL is the most competitive league in professional sports, but now I find myself reevaluating my love for it.

At what point do we reevaluate the fact that our favorite sport is one that leaves so many that play it, as shells of their former selves?

The feel good story of the day was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signing paralyzed player Eric LeGrand. Bucs coach Greg Schiano was LeGrand’s coach at Rutgers. I saw many of my Facebook friends repost the articles about the signing and comment about how great of a gesture it was.

It was truly a heartwarming gesture on the part of the organization, but I’m sure if you’d ask LeGrand, he’d give it all up just to walk again and live a normal life.

Maybe he will be able to walk again. But would you take a full athletic scholarship and a great public gesture in exchange for the certainty you’d walk again?

But that discussion has its place outside these six hundred or so words.