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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Underdog leader board tightens up for finale

The New York Football Giants have dethroned the defending champion Green Bay Packers, despite the best efforts of the officiating crew. This creates an unprecedented logjam at the top of our charity underdog prediction game, with just one week to go. There'll be only two games to pick from next week (both on Sunday, first game at noon), which turns our season-long contest into a real chess game.

Here are our standings going into the last week. If neither of the 'dogs wins next week, these will be our final standings, but if one or both 'dogs win, there could still be a lot of movement. Remember, the top five finishers claim prizes for their favorite charities:

Pete Rozelle 49
John Ch. 48
Michael K. 48
Usual Kevin 47.5
PDXileinOmaha 46
AKevin 45.5
Carol 45.5
Paul 42
Gordon 41.5
Larry Legend 41.5
Drewbob 38
Broadway Joe 37
john dull 35
Grizfan 34.5
Weavmo 33.5
Bob 33
mna 32.5
Annie 32
jmh 32
Ricardo 28.5
John Cr. 26.5
genop 26
Tommy W. 26
genop's gal 25.5
Bayou Baby 24.5
Rudie 24.5
Biggest Cubs Loser 23
NoPoGuy 22.5
Eric W. 22
Gary 21.5
Bad Brad 15
Money Maker 9
umpire 9

Comments (13)

Way to go G-Men!!! 8 points for the pool and gives my 49 'ers Home Field Advantage!!! What a great turn of events...

I think the refs who looked at that obvious fumble by Jennings and then gave the ball back to the Packers early in the game, should be investigated. That was too blatant, and it was lucky it didn't impact who won.

Are the playoofs officiated differently than the regular season? I notice hardly any pass interference or offensive holding penalties lately.


From Wikipedia: "Bill Leavy (pronounced LEE-vee) is an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) since 1995 and is a retired San Jose, California Police Officer and Firefighter, serving for 27 years."

I think that will be Bill Leavy's last gaffe, and last post-season assignment in the NFL (Seattle fans will remember him from Super Bowl XL) --

In the first quarter of today’s NFC divisional playoff game in Green Bay, Packers receiver Greg Jennings caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers and appeared to fumble just before he was tackled. Initially, the officials ruled it a fumble that the Giants recovered. And then after a brief discussion, the officials changed their minds and ruled that Jennings was down by contact.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin challenged, and it looked like he would win: The replay showed the ball starting to come out before Jennings was down. Stunningly, referee Bill Leavy reviewed the play and announced that it would stand as called. He did not explain why.

Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira said on the FOX broadcast that he couldn’t figure out why Leavy didn’t award the ball to the Giants.

“If I was under the hood I would have reversed this to a fumble with a clear recovery to the Giants and given the ball to the Giants,” Pereira said.

The ruling was extremely costly for the Giants, as the Packers would go on to score a touchdown on the possession that was extended by the bad call.

From (emphasis added).

A foreboding forecast:

Giants hope tomorrow doesn’t become flag day
Last Updated: 6:37 AM, January 15, 2012
Posted: 2:12 AM, January 14, 2012

The NFL’s assignment of referee Bill Leavy and his officiating crew to tomorrow’s Giants-Packers NFC Divisional playoff game could be troubling for Big Blue, as Leavy and his friends have a tendency to throw an abundance of penalty flags.


The Giants’ plan to be ultra-aggressive might be ill-fated after drawing veteran official Bill Leavy to referee the game. Leavy is in his 17th year in stripes and his 11th as a referee, but his crew has been known to be trigger-happy with penalties.

Earlier this season, Leavy’s crew called 20 penalties (19 accepted) in a game between the Lions and Raiders at Oakland. When the Cowboys faced the Giants last year in Jason Garrett’s first game as interim head coach Leavy’s crew called 13 penalties that were accepted, including eight against the Giants for 129 yards. Leavy’s crew also came under criticism for a series of questionable calls in the 2006 Super Bowl between the Steelers and Seahawks. The crew has not called a game featuring the Giants or Packers this year, but officiated the Jets’ divisional playoff win at New England last year.

And from (Published: Aug. 6, 2010 at 11:05 p.m. Updated: Sept. 13, 2011 at 04:55 p.m -- Comments: 1,920):

Saying "I'll go to my grave" with regret, NFL referee Bill Leavy reopened a Seattle Seahawks wound that won't heal by acknowledging he made mistakes in the team's disputed Super Bowl XL loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers four years ago.

The veteran official began an annual training-camp rules interpretation session with the Seattle media after practice Friday by bringing up the sore subject without being asked.

"It was a tough thing for me," said Leavy, a veteran of 15 NFL seasons and two Super Bowls. "I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game, and as an official, you never want to do that.

"It left me with a lot of sleepless nights, and I think about it constantly," Leavy said of the February 2006 game. "I'll go to my grave wishing that I'd been better."

The "blow to the head" was also total crap. The NFL is fixed, but the fix doesn't always work, apparently.

I didn't appreciate the officiating expert trying to sell it as one person making a judgment call. At least he admitted the call should have been reversed, but that was not a judgment call. It couldn't have been. What happened during the play was obvious. It was the exact reason instant replay was put in place. Instead, the on-the-field correct call was overturned, and then the instant replay system was used to make it official.

This isn't going to go away either. Fans will always point to this play as proof that the NFL is fixed. The only question is whether the ref was expressing his own feelings about who should win, or whether he was following orders from above. That's why there should be an investigation.

Jeez, guys, it's just a game. It's not who wins that matters, it's how you play the game.

It's a multi-billion dollar industry, and when you include the gambling -- er, oh yeah, the "gaming" industries ("legal" & "illegal" gambling, and their related industries) -- it's in the trillions, and it's definitely not a game.

That said, there's entertainment for all without the weird intentional twists like those in the contest in Green Bay today.

I'm a Seahawks fan from the day the franchise was born way back in the Zorn-Largent days and all that. Caught the game on by getting up on the roof and pointing the directional antenna to the Channel 13 tower on Green Mtn. out of Bremerton. never saw a game live because it was too much money for a family of 10 supported by a dad making $12 an hour pulling graveyard at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The Seahawks' one and only trip to the Super Bowl made me want to vomit. The call today was far worse and WAY more obvious than the Super Bowl XL scam.

The guy responsible for that call at Lambeau today might be on the take or under the influence of sleazy pics in the hands of some shady operators in Vegas or wherever. It has happened in the NBA and there is no reason it can't happen in the NFL.

There is a chance that the ref was motivated to help the Pack because of what happened with their offensive coach, who lost his 21-year-old son in a drowning on Monday, had the funeral Friday, and then tried to coach a big game today.
How could it not affect the team's preparation and performance? They certainly didn't appear to be mentally ready.

Aaron Rodgers said something quite revealing: " "I don't know the right words to say to him to try to comfort him. I have zero experience. I have never dealt with anything like this before."

A Packers fan told me it was the first funeral Rodgers has ever attended in his young life, and he certainly wasn't sharp today. How could you get away from it with the grieving father up in the coach's box? Heart wrenching.

Maybe it was the 2-week layoff but I believe they were having trouble focusing in the presence of unspeakable sadness. The Green Bay head coach called it a punch to the heart, and that could explain the shaky play from the Packers today.

Yes, Bill. Thank you. No doubt that tragic death had a supernaturally weighty effect on the Packers' team. Also calls to mind that great game Favre had a few days after his dad passed on.

I remember John Madden saying that the key to preparing for a big game is to have no surprises - nothing out of the ordinary in the routine. Obviously, this week life and death got in the way of that in Green Bay.

I hate to say it, but no harm no foul. The Giants outplayed the Pack and they won.

It would've been interesting to see the Pack vs Saints and Giants vs 49ers. The Saints and Pack would've been a huge shoot-out since it looks like both teams need to rework their defenses.


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