Thursday, January 19, 2006

Between a Rock and a Glass Place

How'd you like to be NFL referee Pete Morelli about now?

Not only does he get shit on for all his bad calls -- most recently for the botched Indy/Pitt non-interception interception debacle -- but I'm sure he also takes a ton of flak for his decisions as a high school principal. Can't win with the American sporting public, can't win with unruly and often ignorant teenagers.

But no matter how upsetting his decisions in either capacity may be, how fucking sorry must your own life be that you'd go this far in seeking revenge against a total stranger that did nothing to directly harm you: "A vandal hurled a grapefruit-sized boulder through a plate-glass window" in Morelli's California home.

Relatedly, I find it utterly hilarious that the NFL and the mainstream sports media even thought about a suspension for Pittsburgh's Joey Porter, who ranted openly in the heat of the post-game moment about the refs' and the league's desire to see Indianapolis advance to the championship game. His own long-jawed, Sgt. Slaughter-esque coach even went so far as to blast his comments.

But guess what? Everyone and their slutty mother knows Porter was absolutely correct, and the league even backed his comments by declaring the reversed call incorrect. Is this just part of the ever-present "think it but don't say it" corollary? I don't know anyone who disagrees with Porter's remarks -- maybe it was a bit conspiracy theory, but it couldn't have been more accurate -- and yet he still risked being fined or suspended.

Just like free market economics, there has to be a free market for ideas, both inside sports and outside. Terrell Owens spoke his mind, and he paid for it dearly. Porter must be allowed to advance whatever theory he believes, and if he's shunned by teammates or coaches, so be it. But no league official in their right mind should be allowed to discipline him for saying what millions of Americans outside Indiana were thinking and e-mailing to their friends.

I realize I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but I just can't get over the fact that Porter almost landed himself in hot water for expressing a widely held opinion that was 99.44 percent true. There's no way the refs conspired to get on their knees and blow the game, but to say that ruling had nothing to do with the desire to see the Colts advance is incredibly naive.

Come to think of it, maybe Porter catapulted that enormous rock through Morelli's plate-glass window. Shit, I've said too much.

Update: This guy has a much funnier take on the Morelli vandalism.


At 2:56 PM, Blogger offpeak34 said...

i'm in a class right now that the topic of conversation is the "free market of ideas" based on holmes' dissent in Abrams v. fitting that i'm reading about the topic on my favorite blog while learning to be a lawyer.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger ethan said...

america needs to make up its mind when it comes to interviews with athletes. you (not you ace, the generic you) can't complain about boring cliche-ridden interviews while simultaneously punishing candid ones. i'm actually surprised that no one made a stink about tiki saying the g-men were outcoached against carolina.

as to porter, did you hear him last week complain that indy "tries to trick you" and "doesn't play real football"? don't get me wrong, i like porter in the same way i like ray lewis, but those were some dumb comments.

At 3:26 PM, Blogger MDS said...

Ethan, where have you been that you don't think anyone made a stink about what Tiki said?

Also, let's acknowledge that it's entirely possible that some kid was taking revenge for getting sent to detention. This isn't necessarily a deranged Steelers fan.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

"Also, let's acknowledge that it's entirely possible that some kid was taking revenge for getting sent to detention."

I thought I did acknowledge that fact up top...maybe I didn't do a great job of it, but I mentioned the principal thing and even said "in either capactiy" to make sure I straddled the fence. Maybe I'm just terrible at this blogging thing.

Ethan, I'm totally with you on that double standard...everyone hates the cliched talk, but then they can't stand the guys who are "keepin it real" like Murray in Clueless. 'Cuz I'm keepin it real. I'm all for the Porter-talk, I can't stand the "Take it one game at a time" shit.

But, yeah, the Tiki thing was a pretty big deal...not sure where you went on that one.

And, hey, thanks for the compliment, Elliot. We aim to please, even our law school folk.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger MDS said...

Ace, you most definitely aren't terrible at blogging. You're one of the best in the business. But you wrote that the person who did it was "a total stranger" and that Morelli "did nothing to directly harm" the person who threw the rock. I was just pointing out that we don't know either of those things to be true.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Double true. Slack LaLane apologizes for any inconvenience.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger ethan said...

woman you can't drive for shit!

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next yer gonna tell me that the ref told the Bus to drop the ball on the 1 yard line...right. Gimme a break, why would a Steeler fan do that to the guys house? STEELERS WON!!! Refs always blow calls, but why are people making a big deal of this when it ulitmately did not decide the game?

At 4:52 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Oh come on.

The answer is that it COULD have cost the Steelers the game at the time that it happened.

Moreover, it wasn't a fast-action spontaneous mistake. Those are excusable.

Nope, this guy had an NFL mandated 1 minute, 30 seconds to review a play in super slow-mo from multiple angles. He then had several minutes, during his walk back to the field and his coference with other officials, to discuss rules and what he thought of it.

And after all of that pomp and circumstance, he came up with a completely asinine ruling that everyone in the world knew was an asinine ruling.

The refs had nothing to do with the Bettis fumble. They are separate issues.

It probably wasn't rigged, but there was obviously pressure to move the Colts along, little doggy, and it sure as hell LOOKED rigged.

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The answer is that it COULD have cost the Steelers the game at the time that it happened."

BUT IT DIDN'T!!! If it did, then I would be right there with you. To me, this is a non issue. A ref and a replay official made a bad call, it happens EVERY WEEK in NFL.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger MDS said...

Noonan is absolutely right that what's troubling about this call is that it happened despite the ref having plenty of time to review and think about it. I'm surprised more people aren't talking about the missed false start on Alan Faneca, though. If the officials had called that one correctly, the Colts would have gotten the ball back about five minutes sooner than they actually did, which means the offense could have been more cautious, and Manning might not have made the risky throw that Polamalu intercepted. I think the team that deserved to win won, but I'm annoyed by how many Steelers fans are complaining when their team was also the beneficiary of a very important and very bad call.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

That missed false start was terrible as well. While I'm on th subject, Triplette missed an obvious false start on a Jason Elam field goal last weekend too.

I think that refs get false starts and delay of game penalties correct almost 100% of the time, but this past weekend there were at least 2 missed false start penalties, a missed delay of game call (on the play where Grossman threw his interception), plus the Polomalu call and the 3 second delay Samuel PI call.

And you ask why people are talking conspiracy?

Anonymous, the result is not that important. You have to examine the decision based on information available at the time.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger ethan said...

"A ref and a replay official made a bad call, it happens EVERY WEEK in NFL."

and somehow this makes it okay?

whatever logic you're using to think that the missed calls don't matter because the steelers won anyway is flawed. it seems like you're under the impression that since reffing mistakes happen all the time, we should ignore them. that's like a coach telling his team "hey you guys dropped 40 passes and we gave up 2000 penalty yards, but who cares? we won!"

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm surprised more people aren't talking about the missed false start on Alan Faneca"

Which is it, fixed in the Colts favor, or in the Steelers favor? I hate it when sports talk, or SportsCenter talk about shit that does not make any difference. I use the example of the NBA dresscode. Who gives a fuck what the players wear to and from the arena? Most people only care about what happens on the floor. Am I wrong?

At 5:15 PM, Blogger ethan said...

you can't honestly be lumping the nba dress code and horendous officiating in a playoff game in the same category. seriously.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not lumping them together, I'm just saying when sports reporters get the public talking about un-important things, like a blown call that does not have an effect on the outcome of the game, or what a bunch of NBA stars wear to the game. Shit like that. I'm as big of a conspiricy theorist as the rest of you, but IF there was a fix for the Colts, the way you guys are making it seem, it sure didn't end up that way.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger MDS said...

Uh, anonymous, is everything OK? Are you having problems at home or something? Why are you getting so upset here? Tens of millions of people watch NFL playoff games, and it's reasonable that when something goes awry, we'll talk about it. If you like sports, it makes for good conversation. No one's forcing you to participate if you don't want to.

At 6:16 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Politics, religion, sports and the ranking of Arrested Development on the list of all-time greatest sitcoms -- four things that will always generate a heated debate.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Don Fiedler said...

The burning of natural gas or oil to generate warmth may also turn a cold debate into a heated one.

Anonymous: "I fired a gun at a guy on the street but I missed, so who cares? It had no effect on his life. So why are people talking about it?"

At 9:45 AM, Blogger offpeak34 said...

"that's like a coach telling his team "hey you guys dropped 40 passes and we gave up 2000 penalty yards, but who cares? we won!""

that's herman edwards' coaching philosophy in a nutshell. that's part of what was so damn frustrating about the guy. "you play to win the game."

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Donnie Feedbags, always the voice of reason. Good pernt.


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