I pride myself on having a keen eye when it comes to watching professional football. I don’t necessarily like to pat myself on the back, but that’s only because my elbow and shoulder agility aren’t what they used to be. Doggone it; if I was one of those little circus dudes who could contort his body … yeah, I’d be scratching my own back daily. Hourly. I’m a sucker for a soft fingernail scratch across my middle back and …
Wait. I digress …
When analysis of a running back’s burst through the hole is necessary, my sixth sense kicks in. Yes, I visualized the roadrunner speed at which CJwhattheK bolted through those double-wide sized running lanes. That one year.
When you need someone to scrutinize a wide receiver’s ability to catch a pass at the height of his catch radius, I’m your man. It seems one Jon Gruden concurs with my insight, that this Calvin Johnson fella sure seems to snatch a lot of passes at just below military low-fly zone.
When you’re in doubt as to the mood of a certain New York Giants quarterback, never fear. I can read the angst on the young rapper’s face, whether it’s due to his most recent interception thrown or thanks to Pey-Pey’s most recent commercial endorsement income being slapped in his face at the family reunion.
Needless to say, my football acumen ranks up there. So you’ve come to the right place for top-shelf expertise on this 2014 NFL preseason. Here’s all you need to glean from this pre-season’s money-maker scrimmage activities the NFL proudly pronounces as competitive games.
Wait for it … Wait for it.
Players are apparently breaking the rules. And getting caught. At an alarming rate.
It seems penalty flags are the new stars of the league. In fact, yellow may have already overtaken pink as the official NFL color this year. For those that don’t follow this, I’m referencing the gracious move the NFL has embraced the past couple of years to support Breast Cancer Awareness by encouraging every player, referee, popcorn bucket, wristband, cleat string and jock strap to include the color pink. [All kidding aside … a solid move, NFL.]
Those pesky penalty flags NFL officials use to signal infractions and other frowned-upon on-field activities—such as allowing a jersey to be untucked or not properly notifying Mr. Referee that one of your husky-boy lineman may have the opportunity to catch a pass down near the goal-line or having too many guys lean in to listen to the quarterback talk about after-game meal plans during a huddle—are a-flyin! Have you seen the number of penalties called during games?
The August 14 Jaguars and Bears game provided fans with a combined 21 penalties for 206 yards worth of penalties. The following night, the Titans and Saints stooped to an even more startling line of 32 flags, totaling nearly 300 yards of infractions. And, friends, these are just the accepted penalties. I watched a bit of both games, and believe me, there were another handful of unaccepted calls made in each. To put this in perspective a bit, the average 2013 NFL game had just under 13 penalties called per game.
For the sake of the fans—not to mention program directors at the television networks covering the games, fearing the necessity to scramble their after-game programming—let’s hope the NFL and players come to a quick and resolute understanding of some of this new rules enforcement. Otherwise, an NFL game may threaten the stronghold golf has on nap-worthy televised sporting events.
But hey. Maybe it’s all part of the master plan to garner a huge partnership with a new sponsor. That’s right. Should the little yellow flag barrage of 2014 persist, fans will ALL need some 5-Hour Energy.
Cue Roger Goodell’s Dr. Evil laugh.
Jay Marks is the Sports Lead for Fantasy Football at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.