Monday, December 20, 2010


I don't want to take anything away from the Eagles' historic victory in New York yesterday, but I can't let Andy Reid, and the officials, off the hook completely.

Third-and-eleven in the first quarter, Manning throws to Hakeem Nicks, who uses the ground to help secure a catch. The replay from Fox showed it clearly wasn't a catch. Unbiased observer Peter King agreed. But no challenge from Andy Reid, and the drive ends with seven points for the Giants.

The DeSean Jackson 'fumble' at the end of the third quarter - replay again showed he was clearly touched down, and it should have been challenged and reversed. The red flag stayed in Reid's pocket, so instead of first down at midfield for the Eagles, the Giants get the ball and score. Another seven points flushed away by Big Red, and possibly could have been a 14-point swing if the Eagles finish the drive.

Those are on Reid, because he had the power to challenge and didn't...but it's the refs who are blowing the calls initially. And neither of those was worse than the Maclin 'fumble' at the end of the first half. It looked like a clear incompletion to me, especially if you're judging it by this standard. Fox brought in Mike Perreria, the former head of officials for the NFL - as qualified and unbiased an observer as you'll find - and he said the pass should be ruled incomplete. And yet, the referee emerged from the replay booth and said the call of catch/fumble was confirmed by the video. The Giants scored on the next play. Seven more points.

Did the Eagles defense do a good enough job? No, of course not. There's no excuse for letting Eli Manning light you up for 31 points, but 21 of those points were the direct result of bad calls - not the normal homer-whining bad calls that happen in every game, but nationally-recognized headscratchers, fourteen of which could have been rectified by Andy Reid's little red flag.

I couldn't be happier about the victory - I won't forget about that punt return, and singing the Eagles fight song with my kids afterward for decades - but we can't afford boneheaded decisions every week, especially in the playoffs. I don't even need to be on the sidelines - if Andy would have just conferenced me in for the game, the Giants would have scored 14 fewer points, because I was screaming for the challenge flag on those two plays (and only those two plays) well before the next play was run.


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