Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Did ESPN Ask Coaches to Call Time Outs for Cash?

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-Digger's Daily-

Question of the day... Did or didn't ESPN instruct Monday Night Football refs to encourage Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars head coaches to call time outs late in the game to secure additional advertising revenues?

You've got to be kidding? NFL Commissioners Office really needs to cut this practice off. Tennessee was leading 23-3 and attempting to run out the clock after the 2:00 warning. Supposedly, the refs first went to Titans coach Fisher asking him to call timeouts so the networks can go to commercial. Fisher rightfully refused. His team was up by 20 and looking to run out the clock. If the story is true, refs then approached Jags head coach Del Rio. Jags called timeouts, down by 20 with under 2:00 remaining. Titans proceeded to score the games final td on a Chris Johnson 35 yard run.

Quoting from the "TitanInsider", coach Fisher joked after the game....
"“Jack used his timeouts,” Fisher said. “My understanding is they needed network timeouts, and that's why Jack used his timeouts. They came over and asked me to do it, but I said, 'I was hoping to get a first down and kneel on it.'
“At the end of the game like that, you don't kick a long field goal, you don't, you hand it off.”
So, why are networks now allowed to interfere with game play? NFL protocol incorporates official time outs (commercial breaks). Allowing a network to dictate closing moments opens the potential for a can of worms in need of discussion.

First off, networks are not the NFL. Who sent word to refs asking them to approach NFL coaches? ESPN or NFL executive(s)? There's a big problem here if ESPN has the juice to contact refs directly during a game. Bigger problem presents itself when refs actually listen! If the word came from the league then how does the NFL justify arm twisting coaches to call time outs by way of referee messengers?

Second. NFL already has broadcasting policies. They need to move swiftly to negate this sort of activity. Obviously, revenues are very important. So, why not just add a 15 or 30 second spot to the 2:00 minute warning? At the end of a quarter? Halftime? After opening kickoff? Don't stall a game in closing moments.

Third. Allowing networks to influence games can open doors to further disturbances. Officiating could easily attract those looking to unjustly influence games for whatever reason. What would stop a powerful network from applying pressure on refs to throw a flag here or there so a team generating greater viewership won games? Perhaps reaching a bit far here? Perhaps not. We're living in challenging times. Individual households are spending more than ever for less and saving fewer and fewer dollars thanks to Washington bureaucrats. During challenging times some might take actions never thought of during good times. It's something to be considered and all appropriate precautions taken so this situation never comes to light.

Give the fans a break. Give the players their due. Show the game some respect. Do not cheapen professional football by letting television network time outs factor into how games are played in the closing minutes. It's a no brainer.


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