That’s Glen from Mad Men in the picture if you aren’t familiar. He’s the biggest mess on television, and in honor of him and in honor of this Sunday night game I am watching, I thought I’d countdown the five ugliest situations in the NFL. They could be units, teams in general, a specific position, really anything could qualify. These are the first few things that popped into my head, with an honorable mention given to Andy Reid’s clock management and replay challenging.
5. The Referees. There are any number of problems with the refs. The most recent issue isn’t even their fault, really. With the crackdown on helmet to helmet contact and things of that nature it has added another type of play where the referees walk around on eggshells. They err on the side of caution, they wait instead of react, and sometimes it feels like we are moving toward a league where every play will be reviewed after the fact. In my opinion officials don’t have to be perfect, but they must maintain the flow of the game and act confidently and decisively. That’s not happening in the NFL. I don’t know if too many plays are open to review or if too many are being missed on the field, but a lot of these NFL games are turning into Red Sox/Yankees marathons.
4. The Carolina QB situation. For my money the Panthers are the worst team in the NFL. Possibly even by a large margin (save Dallas). It starts with their quarterbacks. Ever since the day Jake Delhomme turned from improbable Super Bowl QB to interception machine they’ve been in trouble in Carolina. Somehow last off-season they settled on Matt Moore. Then they drafted Jimmy Clausen…and Tony Pike. You get the feeling that coach John Fox feels like a short-stacked poker player looking down at 2/7. Sunday was really the culmination of it all as all three quarterbacks hit the field for the Panthers. Moore started and was injured after 6 passes. Jimmy Clausen came in, and then he was finally yanked in the 4th quarter for Pike, because, why not? No veteran, no prospect, no hope in Carolina.
3. The NFC West. This is the worst division I’ve seen in any sport in a long time. First, I don’t want to completely disrespect the Rams. It’s not their fault. They were terrible, they look a lot better, but if the Rams are the best team in your division? That means you’ve got issues. The records in the division are a little deceiving, because the teams get to play each other, but a closer look and you see how ugly things are. Aside from St. Louis, the Seahawks are also tied for first at 4-4. They lost 41-7 at home on Sunday in a game the Giants started easing up on in the 2nd quarter. In fact, the Seahawks have a point differential of (-51) and yet are somehow .500. The entire division has a negative point differential. The most recent starting quarterbacks are Troy Smith, Derek Anderson, Charlie Whitehurst and Sam Bradford. The bad news is one of these teams is going to make the playoffs. The good news is, you’ll be able to bet against them.
2. The Vikings Coaching Situation. This gets odder with every bit of information that comes out of Minnesota. Brad Childress reminds me of George Costanza when he was trying to get fired from the Yankees. Childress has played every card imaginable. He traded for Randy Moss, and then weeks later he sent Moss to waivers. This was done without consulting the owner, who then apparently contemplated firing Childress and keeping Moss. Childress has also begun feuding with some players. He doesn’t appear to be on the same page as Brett Farve. There are reports that he and Percy Harvin had a confrontation that almost got physical this week during practice. Childress has backed himself into a corner and now he’s just firing off wild haymakers. The Vikings won Sunday, but I don’t think it helped Childress’ cause much. Bottom line, this team continues to waste Adrian Peterson.
1. The Cowboys. They’ve gone past a disappointment at this point. They are a complete disgrace. It got almost uncomfortable tonight listening to Chris Collinsworth shred the Cowboys after every play. He was shocked at every aspect of their game. Discipline, execution, desire, none of it was there for Dallas. It was so obvious that even Al Michaels jumped in. The Cowboys fell to 1-7, and I can’t remember a team missing their expectations by this much in the history of the NFL. There are so many things going wrong with Dallas that they could have occupied this entire top-five. The focus now is on Wade Phillips and it isn’t his coaching as much as it is obvious that the Cowboys have completely given up on this season. There’s no effort, the offense and defense is a comedy of errors, and at the end of Sunday’s game they didn’t even bother challenging a play, because…why bother? They are playing out the string, but there are eight games left. Poor Cowboys fans.