September 26, 2012

A Game of Refereemageddon Plinko



For the eighth consecutive season, the author is competing in the PushMaster Invitational Football Pool, the greatest gambling pool in the history of Sport. Every week players must make five picks against the point spread, college or pro, overs or unders.

Colorado pulled off an amazing victory on Saturday, proving me wrong once again. Since I’m roughly 66.7% used to being proven wrong this year, the cover wasn’t much of a surprise, but to pull out a straight up WIN? Good on the Buffs. They might still be one of the worst in Division 1-A, but damn if they aren’t also one of the cutest little teams in America. The rumor flying around the PushMaster Command Center is that Rick Moranis is being mentioned as the leading candidate to replace Jon Embry, if the season ends up coming to that.

Giving the Little Buffaloes nineteen points was the only pick I felt uneasy about going into the weekend. For the first time all season, I had some confidence in my picks instead of raging abhorrence, and still, it ended up a losing week.

It would be remarkably easy to blame Refpocalypse for the dismal state of PushMaster Pickery this year, so that’s what I’ll do. It’s a lot like blaming your 7-iron for a duck hook: It is always, always the equipment’s fault. In this case, we’re working with bunk officials. The whole situation has turned betting on the NFL from an elaborate sort of Baccarat into a three-hour-long drop of a Plinko chip — which, come to think of it, probably feature similar odds.

For myself, however, Refereemageddon is an ever-flowing fountain of a silky red wine with distinct notes of buffoonery. I welcome anything that highlights the league’s clown shoes, and this situation has done so with the subtlety of Sam Kinison.

I haven’t enjoyed Professional Football to this degree since Clinton’s first term, the days of compulsively hate-watching the Cowboys and whatever was left of the 49ers. The hate-watch factor this year is approaching Michael Jordan levels, and that’s with Peyton Manning sliding toward irrelevance and Tim Tebow mostly invisible.

When M.D. Jennings and Golden Tate were wrestling for the ball, in those few moments before the call was made (calls?), I was hoping, praying, that a touchdown signal was coming. I wanted it more than Ripper wants a night alone with Tom Cruise, with only a fireplace, a few bottles of wine, and a fresh pack of boxer-briefs to keep them company.

Then it happened, and the NFL was instantly exposed for what it really is: the producer of the most successful reality show in the history of Television. It hasn’t been about football for a long time. Steve Young is right when he says the league doesn’t care; the fact that we’ve made it this far is proof of that.

Unfortunately, since this one beautiful moment directly flipped the outcome of a nationally televised game on the final play — causing the Internet and every Las Vegas sportsbook to simultaneously explode — the league will probably cave to public pressure and come to some sort of deal.

But maybe not. Very few American institutions have the capacity to ignore public sentiment like the NFL, so until the ink is dry on a contract, there’s still hope.


Last Week: 2-3-0 | Season: 5-10-0, 33.3% | Lifetime: 327-308-20, 51.5%

STANFORD (-7) v. Washington
Stanford should win this game, and considering how physically dominant they looked against Southern Cal, I’ll lay the points against Washington — aka the poor man’s Southern Cal.

Oregon State v. ARIZONA (-3)
Hopefully, last week’s stomping by Oregon didn’t cause Rich Rodriguez to re-lose his marbles. When he’s coherent, his offense can get on a roll and everything is fine, but when he’s having one of his episodes, his teams display the slickness of dirt that’s been fucked by a hobo.

Seahawks v. RAMS (+3)
I’m a sucker for Jeff Fisher, so even though the Seahawks’ defense looked like the second coming of the Mongol Army against the Packers, I have to go with the Rams because, well, I dunno. I just dunno.

Dolphins v. CARDINALS (-6)
Okay fine, Cardinals, you win. Let’s make up with a big win against the Dolphins. I’m even willing to accept the end times a 4-0 Cardinals team will cause if it means I can pick up a game in the standings.

Panthers v. FALCONS (-7.5)
The Panthers look like a bad team, and the Falcons look like one of the best teams in the league. What am I missing? (A: Reversion to mediocrity.), 1:22 PM EDT, Tuesday

Robb Witmer Full would like to see the Super Bowl ruined by incompetent officiating, a remote possibility. Use Twitter to find out how that is going.