Any Given Sunday?
With the Chiefs poised to miss out on the play-offs this season (barring a miracle of monumental proportions) it's time to take stock.
Most people know that I am no real fan of soccer. Conversely, I'm a big NFL fan – mostly of the Chiefs, but I will religiously watch the play-offs no matter who's in and who's out.
My big gripe with soccer football is the basic unfairness of the game.
Good play often gets no reward and minor mistakes can be punished far more than is warranted. When it comes to officiating, things are even worse. One man, the referee, attempts to police a large field with 22 people trying to kick a ball (and sometimes each other). In some respects it is a minor miracle that the ref gets some things correct at all. Take Saturday's Derby v Norwich City game. I said at the time that the ref had a good game. Some of the decisions he made seemed wrong at first glance but, in replay he was absolutely correct. My only gripe was about the “non-decisions” - the ones where fouls that should have been given weren't – the free kicks wrongly awarded – that sort of stuff. So, when the game is so close and goals so ridiculously difficult to score every small error by the ref is multiplied and affects the game much more that it should. Soccer is just too haphazard for me. One team can clearly play better, create more scoring chances, defend well, run rings around the opposition and still lose because the ref makes a big mistake. Not good enough.
Wait a minute! Looking over the NFL results from last week, I was summarily hoisted on my own petard!
I always do the prediction game in the KC Star – for a bit of fun. Last week I thought I had a few bankers. Firstly I had the Eagles to beat the Redskins. Score: Eagles 24 – Redskins 27. I had the 49ers to whomp on the Chargers at home. Result: Chargers 38 – San Fran 35. Everyone had the Packers to slaughter the hapless Tampa Bay Bucks. Result: Pack 20 – Bucks 3 (GB should have won this easily whilst resting their starters). Lions 20 – Bears 14 – me and my gran should be able to beat the Bears. Detroit are supposed to be challenging for a Super Bowl berth. The NY Giants beat the St Louis Rams 37 – 27. The Panthers beat the Browns! And, on Monday night the Bungles beat the Broncos. Finally, the Raiders beat the Bills 26 – 24. (Even though the Old Enemy beat the Chiefs – which will probably cost the boys in red a play-off spot – they are without a doubt the worst team in the league!)
What's going on?
All my injunctions about “Any Given Sunday” seem to be happening at once. And it is just the very small things that are costing teams bit-time.
Take the Chiefs on Sunday. Some very tough calls by the officials (Charles fumble – a crazy spot short of the first down, an absolutely set-in-stone pass interference call in favour of Albert Wilson that the officials missed, missed and missed again, etc.) meant that the game was decided not by the players but by the officials.
Just what I gripe about regarding association football.
Maybe I need a rethink?