Jared Allen has taken the week off from getting embroiled in controversy – luckily, we have Adrian Peterson around to take up the slack. Yes, mild-mannered AD has managed to get himself all kerfuffled. It went down like this: Adrian, in a moment of apparent over-exuberance following his game-winning touchdown against the Packers, took his helmet off before reaching the bench area – a no-no under NFL rules. The officials, however, failed to flag Peterson for the illicit lid removal, a good break for the Vikings since, had a penalty been called, they would’ve been forced to kick off from 15 yards farther back with the Packers needing a field goal to win and having less than two minutes to get into range (and a time-out shortage thanks to Mike McCarthy‘s ill-advised challenge of the aforementioned AD touchdown). In other words, an unsportsmanlike penalty against Peterson there would’ve been really, really bad not to mention embarrassing.
Of course, as is the case with most controversies in the internet era, there might not have been any controversy at all had it not been for blogs and YouTube. Scant mention was made of AD’s unpunished infraction in the immediate wake of the victory, but as the week has worn on, more and more has been made of it, with PFT’s Mike Florio leading the charge as usual. Now there’s enough of a buzz for NFL officials to begin weighing in. Cue NFL VP of officiating Mike Pereira:
I can’t figure out why anything wasn’t done about [the helmet removal] but I will say this: It frustrates me that we didn’t do anything about that. You can’t take your helmet off either to argue a call or to celebrate. If you’re in a time out period or a measurement or a challenge there are times when you can take your helmet off on the field. Or when you’re nearing your team area when you approach the bench. But when you score like that, when you remove your helmet you should be flagged. Or when you take off your helmet to argue with the officials you should be flagged, too, and it frustrates me, quite frankly, that we didn’t do that.
Just what the NFL needed – another officiating gaffe. Those guys are having a worse year than the stock market. They can blame their good pals in the media for a lot of their pain, given that most of these controversies are driven by websites and ESPN who have an insatiable appetite for unpleasantness and are willing to drum it up out of thin air if necessary. And the NFL seems to be getting awfully defensive about it, the way they keep coming out making statements. The AD helmet thing was barely getting off the ground and already the VP of officiating was going on the radio to talk about it. Maybe the NFL should just schedule a regular press conference, say on Wednesday (that ought to be enough time for them to get their shiz straight), so they can get all their excuses, apologies and self-criticism out of the way at once. Give Mr. Florio a front-row seat so he can fire off questions like the grand football inquisitor he fancies himself to be.
And speaking of questions…I find it interesting that, despite the apparent severity of Adrian’s unpunished infraction and the implications it had, nobody asked Mike McCarthy about it in his press conference on Monday. The Wisconsin media apparently didn’t notice (perhaps they were too drunk). But I’m sure they’ll notice now – in fact, I bet the next few days will be nothing but one big angry We Got Screwed drum-beat, which is nothing new from Packer fans. Whatever. Dear Cheesebrains: If you want to win, then tackle the guy. If you want to get closer for your field goal try, then tell your coach to save his time outs to stop the clock and give you another play. Tell your Pro Bowl receiver to break a tackle. In fact, if you want to not have it come down to that in the first place, then tell your quarterback not to get smeared in the endzone. I’ve seen Aaron Rodgers enough now to know one thing: He is no Brett Favre. No way does Favre let Jared Allen take him down for a safety. No way does Favre stand there while Ben Leber knocks him into next week either. Pocket presence? Rodgers doesn’t even know what that is. He does know what a Mazda feels like after a meeting with a freight train.