Today is a day where people dress like zombies, animals, princesses, or whatever the latest celebrity joke is. Some people decorate their house with spider webs, carve pumkins, and set out a bowl of candy. And some people believe in supersititions… like not walking in front of a black cat. In the sports world, athletes may not do something special, specifically for today, but they definitely have their own superstitions. Check out our list of sports superstitions – you just may be surprised.
Last week in sports was definitely one for the ages. With nearly 100 years of combined records being broken, Miguel Cabrera and Drew Brees replaced some legendary names in the record books. Cabrera became the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown. In Major League Baseball the Triple Crown refers to when a player leads either league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs (runs batted in). In 143 years of MLB play this feat has only been accomplished 17 times. Before Cabrera the last person to win the Triple Crown was Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Not only did Miguel Cabrera win the Triple Crown but he is leading his team through the MLB Playoffs as they are battling the Oakland Athletics in the American League Divisional Series. Though there is no video to show how Miguel Cabrera’s bat has been the most powerful in all the MLB he most certainly will share the TicketCity Play of the Week pedestal with Drew Brees.
In 1942, Green Bay Packers quarterback Cecil Isbell established a record of 23 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. 18 years later, when the Colts called Baltimore home, one of the most legendary QBs to play the game doubled this record and threw for a TD in 47 consecutive games. His name was Johnny Unitas. After Unitas set this astonishing record it remained in the books for decades going unchallenged for 52 years. Players like Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Tom Brady all danced around the record only to fall short by ten or more games. On October 18, 2009 New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees would begin his shot at breaking this streak.
Drew Brees began his football career as a Westlake Chaparral in Austin, Texas. From Austin the 6-foot 200-pound quarterback went on to make a name for himself as the starting quarterback for the Purdue Boilermakers. In the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft the San Diego Chargers took Drew Brees as the 32nd pick. Though his size was always questioned in the NFL, Brees came to be one of the great quarterbacks of the league. It was not until 2005 when the Chargers signed their current franchise QB Phillip Rivers that Brees found himself without a team. Sean Peyton and the New Orleans Saints saw more than just the shortest quarterback in the NFL — they saw an amazing leader and football player. In the same year Brees began his consecutive game touchdown passing record he also led the Saints to a victory in Super Bowl XLIV where he was named MVP.
Last night’s stage was set perfectly for Brees as he took the field for pregame warmups. Not only was his head coach Sean Peyton allowed to attend the game but he would be going up against Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers. With three minutes left in the first quarter Brees drops back on third down and finds Henderson wide open down the sideline for a touchdown to surpass Unitas in one of the most untouched records in NFL history. Brees capped the night off with three more touchdowns and 370 passing yards to bring the Saints out of their winless start and leave the new record for consecutive games with a passing touchdown at 48.
Not to keep throwing rocks at a broken window, but it sure was nice seeing some actual NFL refs this weekend. At first I thought it was in every spectator and critic’s head, the whole ref thing. The psychologist in me would like to believe that when you tell an audience what to see there is a good chance they will see it. So as the opening weeks of the NFL began to play out along with lots of chatter about how bad the replacement refs were doing, I laughed and moved on. Then I started hearing how some of the refs had only coached high school and junior college games before getting thrown into the fastest version of football in the world and to my surprise the calls were getting worse each week. Still, not wanting to succumb to what I truly believed to be a psychological endeavor, I looked on to the next week of football. Then the Seattle – Green Bay game came to an end.
Watching the game as just a football fan and having no allegiance to either team I have a truly unbiased opinion and it was clearly an interception. I felt like I was dreaming because there is no way a ref standing 10 feet away sees this play and thinks yep that’s a touchdown. Low and behold there was a way. The blown call was bad, but what’s even worse is that the two refs run up to the dog pile, acknowledge each other with a slight head nod and then display completely opposite calls of one another. Then they proceed to review the play and still go with the call on the field of a touchdown. This was the worst call I have ever seen in a football game and was enough to get me on the bandwagon against these replacement refs. After the game some sports analyst came on with Steve Young and the post-game show cast and described what was going on perfectly, “It’s like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.” I couldn’t agree more.
But now that the real refs are back all is good and we can get back to talking top plays and performances. This week Baylor made its way to West Virginia for the first time for a game with a score that looked to be from a basketball game. Early this season in week one or two, I dubbed an Ohio State catch as the catch of the year, well JD Woods did not agree and decided to give Devin Smith a run for his money. I am really stuck in a cross roads with this one because the Ohio State catch was for a touchdown and he had to stay in bounds, but JD Woods catch is just as amazing. It is definitely the TicketCity Play of the Week; I will leave the catch of the year decision in your hands. JD Woods or Devin Smith?
Just what effect did the replacement refs have on the 2012 football season?
That’s a lot of money being laid out for one game which is in the hands of inexperienced officials. The total amount potentially affected by the replacement refs (48 games) is absolutely staggering. The call that went against the Packers was the icing on the cake, but there were some glaringly bad calls in the games leading up to it such as:
-The 49ers basically got 5 timeouts in one half when they were allowed two challenges with no timeouts left.
-Seattle was the benificiary of TWO terrible bits of officiating, the less famous one being they were awarded a 4th timeout in their week 1 game against the Cardinals.
-The Ravens were robbed of an interception after a phantom illegal contact call. Really, it just didn’t happen.
-An official threw his hat to signify Cowboys WR Kevin Ogletree went out of bounds (he did not). He threw it directly in the path of Ogletree’s route and while making a cut inside he stepped on it and slipped. Pass was thrown to him and was incomplete.
There’s no doubt this saga left a big mark on the NFL season. If Green Bay finishes a game out of the playoffs, that will be the first thing pointed to. New England fans feel the same way about their game with Baltimore. The NFL as a whole started to believe there was a real safety issue after some one the most vicious hits of the season went un-penalized. The money and stakes were just too high to let it continue.
The big winners here look to be the NFL Referees Association, as there’s no better leverage in negotiations then the fact that no one else can do your job competently. The bad call against Green Bay had Ed Hochuli throwing in jumping jacks and cartwheels to his 1,000 push up-a-day regiment and the fans seem to be just as excited. Now let’s all get back to saying how horrible these veteran refs are when calls go against our teams.
If you’d like to welcome back the professionals in person, be sure to check out all our pro games.