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NFL insider notes: A series of obviously bad calls can force changes, the MVP race comes down to the wire, more from week 15

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Over the past few years, NFL owners and the league office itself have shown very little interest in having a judge from heaven or allowing coaches to challenge or review even more plays.

As of last week, the average playing time for the 2022 season was 3 hours and 2 minutes. It’s been a tidy period that the league is quite proud of, and further reviews would disrupt that kind of progress.

Bad calls are coming. Missed calls are coming. Human error is part of this game we love.

But resist as best he can, the NFL may have to give in to further scrutiny or a challenge system if these errors persist in huge standalone games where the whole country is watching.

Officials missed obvious defensive pass interference in Sunday night’s Giants-Commanders game. Curtis-Samuel. This was preceded by a An extremely controversial illegal formation penalty on Terry McLaurin when he appeared to communicate with the official before the game.

The league made referee John Hussey available for a pool reporter after the game, but Hussey was unable to speak for the other official.

In the Patriots-Raiders game earlier today, a video review of Keelan Cole’s the late-game touchdown catch allowed the infield call to hold even though Cole’s foot appeared to land out of bounds. Walt Anderson, SVP of NFL Arbitration, told a pool reporter there that it was “not plain and obvious” that Cole’s foot was on white.

Those major calls came the day after a tough game for the officiating team in Saturday’s Colts-Vikings game. And it came a week after a rude call on Sunday Night Football between the Chargers and dolphins which NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent openly disagreed with.

Vincent said last week during owners’ meetings that there would be a “healthy discussion” this spring with the competition committee about the potential opening of games that can be reviewed, whether in the form of a challenge or of a judge of heaven.

“When you replay you can find a fault. That’s one thing I’ve learned is you can find a fault,” Vincent said last week. “A flag from New York or from the so-called judge of heaven. I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the game. The game should be called to the field. It’s played to the field. Replay is there to Witness the obvious and the obvious I think the pursuit of perfection is a dangerous place for the National Football League and for officiating.

Indeed, there are obvious issues with making too many games reviewable, or where those reviews take place, or simply taking a game played at breakneck speed and slowing it down frame by frame.

Draft calls are down significantly from last year, but bad calls stand out. The league won’t return to review defensive pass interference, but gosh, officials seemed to have it wrong on Sunday night.

I can’t say that I have many solutions right now. But I am convinced that if these calls persist in brand matches, change will be forced.

Campbell and Taylor prove patience with coaches can be a virtue

Dan Campbell and Zac Taylor are shining examples of why sometimes it pays to be a little more patient — or a little less impatient — in the NFL.

In the week following the presentation of the league to the owners about how much money they burn to fire coaches, Campbell and Taylor once again showed that trust in the process has its benefits.

Campbell started his 3-13-1 tenure in 2021 in an obvious rebuilding season for the NFL the Lions. That record fell to 4-19-1 this season, however, when the Lions started 1-6 and fired a position coach and traded a tight end.

Taylor admitted he was in a privileged position. He started 6-25-1 in his first two seasons at Cincinnati and entered the 2021 season as much in the hot seat as any other coach in the league. He even admitted after the playoff win over the Raiders that “if I was coaching in another football organization, I probably wouldn’t be here right now in third year.”

Taylor of course got the bengals to superbowl last year and could do it again this season. Campbell has his Lions at 7-7 with a realistic chance of making the playoffs in the final three games of the season.

Breaking the Wild End Game Tape in Patriots-Raiders

Despite returning 48 lateral yards for the game-winning touchdown, the Raiders edged out the rusher chandler jones covered the second-shortest distance of any Raiders player on this game, according to Next Gen Stats.

When I broke down the most dizzying end strip in recent NFL regular season history, I found that Jones had gone a total distance of just 71.1 yards on the winning play. Sole defensive tackle Bilal Nichols covered less ground, a measly 64.74 yards on the play.

How it happened ? Lined up as right defensive end, Jones lined up against left tackle Trent Brown. As McJones given to Rammondre Stevenson, Jones broke off his pursuit. Then, as Stevenson cut inside, Jones unsuccessfully attempted the tackle that would have ended regulation.

Guard Michael Onwenu came in to finish off Jones as Stevenson rushed down the field. But Onwenu would make the crucial mistake of not staying on top of Jones for the duration of the game. He allowed Jones to rise like so many little characters allowed Michael Myers to do in the Halloween series.

As Jacob Meyer met the side back to standing Mac Jones at the 42-yard line, Chandler Jones was over 8 yards from the quarterback. But Meyers tried to lead Mac Jones to the pitch. the patriots QB hit a top speed of 8.78 MPH to try and get to the pitch, but soft-handed Chandler Jones got there first.

Unfortunately, since it wasn’t legally a pass, NextGen Stats doesn’t have the distance the ball traveled in the air. Fortunately, I studied geometry in high school and have access to the NFL rulebook that explains the exact dimensions of the football field.

By estimating where Jakobi Meyers was on the field at the time of the sideline and where Chandler Jones was at the time of the “fumble recovery”, I can conclude that the ball traveled at least 23.9 meters in the air. This estimate does not take into account the distance added from the arc of the ball because, as I said, I only took high school geometry.

It was unofficially the farthest fullback in Week 15.

Closest MVP race in recent memory

The changes to the NFL MVP vote couldn’t have come at a better time. We football viewers are treated to a great display from deserving quarterbacks, and the best prize on the field is truly up for grabs.

Right now there is a clear top 3 among Patrick Mahomes, Jalen hurts and Joe Terrier. In the 15 weeks of the season, I could hear an argument for one of the three. If it continues like this for the last three games of the year, it will prove exactly why we needed a ranking vote.

We first told you about the changes coming in septemberand the Associated Press announced them last month. Fifty voters will rank their top five picks with points awarded based on order.

The MVP race is as close as I can remember at this point. We hope that we will continue to have great football and that the new system will include everything.

Road crews get roadkill again

Unless things turn around in the final weeks of the season, the NFL is heading back to a season where road teams are dominated.

So far this season, road teams are 99-122-2. That’s a .448 winning percentage, and it’s on track to be the lowest in four years.

Since 2019, away teams have been winning over home teams. In 2019, road teams won 48.2% of the time. In the aberrant season 2020 (with few or no fans in the stadiums), road teams won 50.2% of matches. It was the first time in NFL history that road teams won more than home teams. And last year, road teams won 48.3% of matches.

Like most standalone stats, I’m not sure exactly what that means. But it is remarkable.

Rooney Rule adjustment not renewed

A quick update on the Rooney Rule as the hiring cycle kicks in its engines.

You may remember last year the NFL changed the Rooney Rule to allow teams that had fired their head coach the opportunity to interview a non-head coach from another team during the final two weeks of the season. Essentially, it was an opportunity to get a head start on things.

Well, that rule is no more. I confirmed with the league office that this was a one year trial which was not renewed by the team owners.

No team was able to take advantage of it last year. the jaguars tried to interview cowboys Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn late in the season, but he declined. Thus, teams like the Panthers and Foals won’t have that opportunity this year.

I don’t think one way or the other about this part of the rule. What has always struck me as curious is the exclusion of CEO candidates from this policy. No offense to league staff, but they’re usually a little less busy in the last two weeks of the regular season than the in-demand coaches who are likely on a playoff team.

I think you would have seen teams benefit more from the trial if it had been extended to the general manager ranks, either instead of or in addition to the coaching ranks.

The rest of the rules around the Rooney Rule still apply, for what it’s worth. Teams must interview at least two external minority candidates for head coach or general manager positions.

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