Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The One Where I Vow to Not Watch Another NFL Game

First things first. I'm not even going to talk about the play. You all know what happened. So, I said some things after last nights game. They involved profanity. A lot of it. I said I was done with the NFL. People thought I was joking or that I would "come to my senses" and be watching come Sunday. Well, I won't be. The NFL has showed that it doesn't care and so I'm showing that I don't care either.

I had issues sleeping, still angry over the whole thing. When I woke up this morning I still had a headache, but I had calmed down a bit. I realized that nothing would change last night but the NFL would at least apologize (ala the GB/Minny game a few years back) and it's a lot easier to handle mistakes when an honest apology is given. I also assumed that this would bring us closer to getting the real refs back.

I figured I could handle just watching GB games and boycotting the rest until the refs were back and football was football.

Instead we got the following statement:

In Monday's game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Seattle faced a 4th-and-10 from the Green Bay 24 with eight seconds remaining in the game.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass into the end zone. Several players, including Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, jumped into the air in an attempt to catch the ball.

While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay.

When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown.

Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable. That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone.

Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood. The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.

The result of the game is final.
This insults me. Nowhere do I see a "Sorry fans, we screwed the pooch on that one" all I see is "We don't care, people will still pay to see games and buy jerseys and eventually forget this one!" This lack of integrity is appalling to me. It just shows that the NFL is all about the bottom line, they are no longer concerned with the quality of their product or the safety of the players of the game. Will that change when the real refs come back? No it won't They'll still fine players for short socks or red undershirts when the team color is white all while not holding themselves accountable. Until the NFL can show me that they care about the product and the people more than the bottom line, I'm done.

It will be weird having my Sundays free. I already have some ideas on how to spend them though. I'm taking applications for a nice Premier League team to root on. I have a beautiful guitar my aunt left me several years ago (RIP Aunt Sally) that I promised myself I would learn to play. I also have two kids that don't get enough of their father's time thanks to his obsession with a certain oblong piece of pigskin.

In closing, I just wanted to say thank you to the Packers and their fans for a lot of great years. I hope you guys still make the playoffs. I hope you win it all. I hope that when the NFL changes its attitude and I come back to the sport that you'll have me back as a fan.


Ken Leibee

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Training Camp is Here! Did the Defense Come to Play?

It's finally here! Training camp has started and with it come changes on defense. Charles Woodson has been playing safety in the base defense in camp. I would have thought this was just a gimmick but he's also attending the safety position meetings. Now he's still playing the slot in the nickel and dime, so he'll still be playing CB most of the time. I love this change to the base defense though as it allows the team to keep Woodson roving the defense and also get a more athletic corner on the field in the base defense.

The big question though is who is that corner? Sam Shields seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. He had tackling issues all last year and it seems to have carried over into camp. Jarrett Bush started camp with the ones at CB opposite Tramon Williams. I'm suppressing a shudder. Bush has always been a great special teams player. It's where he earns his money and it's why I think he's an important part of the team. But he's struggled with his back to the ball on defense for a long time. He has improved over time, just not to the level that I'd like to see in a starting corner.

The Packers have spent 2 higher round picks on the position over the past two years, drafting Davon House in the 4th round last year and Casey Hayward in the 2nd this year. House is a very talented but raw corner. Hayward didn't put up the speed or explosion combine numbers of a pure athlete, but according to reports (thank you MJS) he's been the best CB in camp so far. A high school QB in Georgia, Hayward seems to be picking up the playbook quickly and many of the WRs are commenting about how instinctual he is at reading routes.

I don't think it's possible for the defense to regress this year. I've heard a lot of good things about a number of the other rookies in camp. Nick Perry making plays already from his OLB position rushing the passer. I also love hearing that he cut weight to be more explosive in coverage. Jerel Worthy seems to be doing well so far too, showing some fire on the D Line.

Can you believe it? We're less than 2 weeks away from exhibition football!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Look for the Packers to be Active in Trade Talks Today

Well, Round 1 of the NFL Draft is over and I could not be happier. I think Nick Perry is a perfect fit at OLB opposite Clay Matthews. I never thought he would last to the Packers at 28. When he was there at 20, I started begging aloud for the Packers to move up to get him. I'm not as worried about the weight as it seems others are. I expect Perry to rush pretty much every down with Matthews being more versatile and playing in coverage from time to time.

On to Day Two and rounds 2 and 3. The Packers still have 11 picks to make. Four of those are frozen in place (Compensatory picks cannot be traded) two each in the 4th and 7th rounds. That leaves seven picks that Ted Thompson can use to move around and grab players they have targeted. The main reason I expect to see the Packers move up in rounds to grab the players they think fill the holes that remain is that there aren't really 11 holes left to fill. I think it would be silly to draft 12 guys this year knowing that 3 or 4 or 5 probably won't make the team.

That said, I also think the holes that remain are glaring holes and it's important they get filled by players that can have an impact this season. Nick Perry is a great start to help the D but they still need to fill the holes at end and safety. I don't think fans will be happy if the team goes into the season with Charlie Peprah starting in the defensive backfield. Center is another key position that I think the Packers need to address this season.

My guess is the Packers end up making a total of 8 picks in this draft. That means either they use the extras to move up or they end up trading them for picks next year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

That's right folks, it's draft time! This really is like Christmas for me. I can't wait to see what holes get filled in the draft and I get excited to learn about all the new Packers. And it's especially fun when I know how many needs the team has this year. With it being official now that Nick Collins won't be in the defensive backfield any more I count 5 major needs for the Packers.

The most glaring need I see is at OLB. Clay Matthews has had zero help pressuring the QB since Cullen Jenkins left. Pass rush can help the defense on so many levels that I see it as the primary need even with the losses of Scott Wells, Chad Clifton and Collins. My close personal friend Matt Miller of Bleacher Report fame says the Packers will try to address this in the first round with Boise St OLB Shea McClellin. I think this would be a great fit. He's not a name that's been heard a lot but many think he's one of the top few edge rushers in the draft.

Defensive End is a position that saw a huge drop off last year with the loss of Cullen Jenkins. Mike Neal was hurt again and has not lived up to the hype. Now he'll miss the first 4 games of the season and it means the line needs even more help. BJ Raji and Ryan Pickett can't do it all themselves. I think DE needs to be addressed within the first 3 rounds of the draft.

The Packers signed Jeff Saturday to replace Scott Wells at center this season. I think it was a great signing but Saturday is 36 (and will be 37 before the season starts) so I think he's at best a 2 year solution. I'd love a guy like Peter Konz but there's no way he's around when the Packers pick in the 2nd round. Ben Jones from Georgia is a possibility in round 2. It could also be a position that the team tries to fill later with someone they think might develop well.

Safety is another position that I think the Packers have an obvious need at. Morgan Burnett showed signed of being a solid safety in the NFL. He played well last season despite having to wear a club for several games. But he can't do it alone and Charlie Peprah isn't any help.  If Mark Barron somehow manages to fall to 28 I think he has to be the pick in the first round. Beyond Barron I don't know of a difference maker at the position so I don't see it being an early pick.

The last real need I see for the Packers is QB. Yeah, I said it. I know Aaron Rodgers it the QB of now and the future but losing Matt Flynn will hurt more than people realize. Having a quality back up is very important in the NFL (see the Colts last year). I'm not sold on Graham Harrell. Maybe it's my fear of Texas Tech QBs but I just cannot get comfortable with the idea with Harrell being the guy to take over if Rodgers gets hurt. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have always been fond of drafting QBs late and developing them. I'm sure this will continue.

Of course with 12 picks in the draft this year we'll see a number of picks other places. And I just can't wait.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ted, Just Say No to Tebow.

When the news came out that Peyton Manning had signed with the Broncos a new question started getting asked. Where will Tim Tebow end up? At first everyone thought it would be one of the Florida teams, since he's from there and with both Miami and Jacksonville struggling to sell out at times, it makes sense (my guess in Miami because Ireland and Ross keep striking out and they need to do something in the offseason). Tebow brings a huge fan base. Tebow would put butts in the seats. So I assume he'll go to one of those two teams and head to sleep.

I woke up this morning and didn't think anything of it. Got in the car and turned the radio on to find that Skip Bayless was on Mike and Mike. Ugh. Couldn't listen so I changed the channel. I guess it should have been an omen. Then I get to work and see that Green Bay is being discussed as a landing spot for Tebow. I laughed it up. But then fan bloggers that I like and agree with most of the time started talking about how they could see Tebow in Green and Gold. I've had enough

There are three reasons why I don't want Tebow in a Packers uniform. First, he's not accurate passing the ball and that is essential to the Packers offense. He's had several years to work on his accuracy and throwing motion. If it's not fixed by now, it won't be getting better.

Second, I don't think you should have a back up QB who can't run your offense and I can't see Tebow running an offense anything like what the Packers run. Sure, Packers fans have been spoiled in this regard over the past several seasons. We've had Matt Hasselback, Mark Brunell, Aaron Brooks, Aaron Rodgers and most recently Matt Flynn backing up our starting QBs. That's quite a haul and I know better than to expect the next backup QB to be as good as any of those guys. But he has got to at least be able to run the base offense. The Broncos had to vastly simplify their offense last year when Tebow became the starter. While it worked, I don't see it working if Aaron Rodgers misses a quarter due to injury or even a game or two during a season.

The third and biggest reason is I'm scared what would happen if Rodgers had a bad game or two. How many INTs before Tebow fans start clamoring for him to start? A 2 game losing streak? A 2 pick game? What would it take? We watched it play out on national TV last year. I think it would happen sooner than people think. Skip Bayless would be after McCarthy to put Tebow in after Rodgers 1st incompletion. Tebow would bring a huge contingent of fans that would expect Tebow to take over quickly as well. While I have faith that a large core of fans would stick by Rodgers, I'm scared that it would bring about a rift in the fan base and quickly as well.

So please Ted, just say no to Tebow.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Privacy, Integrity Still Have Meaning in Green Bay

I'd like to preface this by offering the Philbin family my sincerest condolences. I cannot imagine laying one of my children to rest and I hope they can find some peace in this time of loss. I hope Michael Philbin rests in peace.

As just about every Packer fan knows, Michael Philbin's funeral was yesterday. Joe Philbin had asked "for continued respect and privacy for our family as we deal with our loss." Well, it seems not everyone honored their request. I knew there had been a few cameras outside the church and I guess that's fine as people are interested in who attended. I'm ok with that as it doesn't really invade the family's privacy.

It appears the NY Daily News didn't think anything of the Philbin's request. They sent a writer to the service. But he did more than write about the comings and goings. No, he wrote an article about what was said and who said it. He wrote about who cried and when. He wrote about what should have been a private memorial. I'm offended that someone would think this is news. I'm not going to even say the name of the author because that would give him more credence than he deserves. This is something that paparazzi would do, it's not true journalism.

I would like to personally thank the Green Bay Media for honoring the Philbin's request for privacy. So thank you Jason Wilde and Rob Demovsky and Kareem Copeland and Ty Dunne and Tom Siverstein and Mike Vandermause and Bob McGinn and Chris Jenkins and Pete Dougherty for having the integrity to honor a man's request. Thank you to all the national media who chose to stay away to let a family mourn. It means a lot to see that personal requests like that still mean something to people, whether an event is newsworthy or not. That's what makes Green Bay different (and in my opinion better) from places like New York.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Memories of a Son's First game

Hunter and I with @ThadCollins. Great to see good friends!
Sorry for the time elasped between posts. Life has been busy over the holidays. Before I get into my thoughts on the playoff game, I'm going to talk a bit about taking my son Hunter to his first Packers game, the loss in Kansas City

Hunter and I had a great time visiting Kansas City. We stayed with a good friend of mine in KC and enjoyed everything right up until the game ended.   During the game Hunter had some good banter with the Chiefs fan about Kyle Orton and their team. A couple of the fans around us commented on how much he knew about the Packers and even the Chiefs. He was going on about their draft needs and how next year should be a good year because they get Jamaal Charles back. It was rewarding for me to listen to him be so knowledgeable about another team. I barely knew who the Packers starting QB was when I was 9 let alone who was on IR for the other team.

Tommy C and the tats  preparing for a kickoff return
As the game went on our concern grew. But the score stayed close and I just kept thinking that the offense would wake up. Then halftime came and I assumed Coach McCarthy would light a fire under everyone's rear ends and the 2nd half would be similar to the Falcons game. The Packers would take control and it would end up being the blowout we expected. Even at the end, as Rodgers ran for the last TD, we assumed the Packers were going to win. The D would get the ball back, march right down the field and score. But it never happened.

When it was over I looked over at Hunter. He had his cheesehead down over his eyes and I could tell some tears had been shed. We walked out of the stadium and walked the mile to get back to the car. We talked about how it made us both sad that the Packers wouldn't be able to have a perfect season this year. Hunter said he wasn't sad the Pack lost the game he went to. He was sad that they didn't have a shot at history anymore.

What flavor do you want? "Blue"
We talked for a while on the 8 hour drive home about how keeping the Lombardi trophy in Green Bay was more important than the perfect season and how it was better to lose now than in the playoffs. About how the game could be a wake up call for the defense (still waiting on that one).

A couple days after the game, I asked Hunter what he remembered about our trip because I was worried the loss would sour the memory of his first live game. So what did he remember? The taste of the cotton candy. Mason Crosby hitting a 60 yard field goal in warmups. How close Rodgers was when he scored that rushing touchdown ("We could see the look on his face daddy!").  He remembers my friend's dog Dexter's eyes having different colors and an inflatable mattress that was deflated by the time we woke up ("But it was still comfy next to you Dad"). Getting to stay up till 11 at night playing Madden ("Don't worry Dad, I won't tell mom"). Looking back, I think the loss lingered more for me than Hunter. I should have known better. As we walked into the house after the game Hunter said, "It's ok they lost this game Daddy, they can be perfect next year."