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The catch that wasn't, index cards and a mess in Miami

Jesse James of the Steelers did not "survive the ground." Larrybrownsports.com

The say you’re never too old to learn something new. This week has been an education to say the least.

Surviving the ground

Once again the New England Patriots are in the middle of a firestorm. Why do these things keep happening to them by the way? 

Anyway.. .the Steelers appeared to take the lead in the closing moments of their battle for the right to host the AFC Championship Game next month. But tight end Jesse James could not maintain control of the football after reaching for the goal line. 

Look.. it’s a poop rule. The actual term used by the NFL was that James completed the catch but by not surviving the ground, the catch and more importantly the touchdown did not count. There is so much gray here. It seems no one can with certainty tell what is a catch and what is not a catch. That’s a problem. The rule doesn’t apply to a player running the ball.. only to a player making a reception. Why? And no. the league isn’t playing favorites or trying to create ‘buzz.” It’s straight up incompetence. It makes the league seem like they’re literally making stuff up as they go along. 

Speaking of making stuff up as they go along..

Index card first down

Yes, that was referee Gene Steratore using an index card to measure a first down during the Raiders/Cowboys game. For real for real. 

The ball was so close to the marker that Steratore used the index card to measure if there was any space between the two. No space to slide the card=first down. Really? Really? 

Steratore later said that the index card really wasn’t really used to make the call. He made the first pronouncement “visually.” Then why the index card? And did you check the smirk on Steratore’s face? 

Alberto Riveron, the head of officiating for the NFLsaid it was cool to use the index card.. but to never do that crap again! ( paraphrasing of course).

Once again, here is the league looking like a bunch of amateurs making it up as they go along. Paging Roger Goodell.. this might be something you should be taking a close look at my man. 

Because, Miami

On the same night Lane KIffin’s Florida Atlantic University rolled up 50 points on Akron in their Boca Raton Bowl win.. the hapless Miami Marlins were having a “Town Hall” for season ticket holders. 

That thing was beyond surreal.  

Super fan and long time season ticket holder, Laurence Leavy -- a.k.a. Marlins Man -- asked The Big Fish -- a.k.a. Derek Jeter -- “do you know who I am?” Classic. 

And away we go!

Fans yelled. Fans cried. Literally cried. One fan said he emailed Jeter his concerns and never heard back. Jeter smoothly fired back “ you don’t have my email address.” 

I’ll give Jeter credit for actually showing up to this thing and pretending to care. The fish stink in Miami and Jeter is the guy walking behind the elephant during the parade.

And think about this: What kind of world are we living in where Lane Kiffin is the cool, hip guy now and Derek Jeter is the bumbling PR mess? Shoot, next thing you’ll tell me is that Alex Rodriguez is a smooth playa.. um.. what?

Ah Miami, still a sunny place for shady people..  

You can hear my show, The Sports Bosses, weekdays at 10am ET on SB Nation Radio. Follow me on Twitter @mediarodriguez

 

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Many of the games have been hard to watch. Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

They say that breaking up is hard to do, then comes the rebuilding, and that's where the real pain happens. Last week, the 4-9 Rockets lost a tough game, 103-91, to the very average San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center. That night, Ben McLemore scored 21 points, while P.J. Tucker contributed four points.

Every other point for the Rockets was scored by a player who wasn't on the team last year. That's no way to build a fan base of young people, or older people, or anybody. Because of COVID restrictions, the Rockets can sell only 3,000 tickets to games, and they're still having to offer special deals like four tickets and four drinks (soda, water, wine or beer) for $79.

The night the Rockets fell to the Spurs, DeMarcus Cousins was out with an ankle injury (surprise), John Wall was out with a sore knee (shock), and Eric Gordon sat with a lower leg injury (stunning). They were not sidelined by COVID protocol, it was age creakiness. All three are on the other side of 30. All have a history of missing games because of injuries. Danuel House also missed the game because of a bad back and COVID protocol.

The Rockets took to the floor with able-bodied Mason Jones, David Nwaba, Rodions Kurucs, Kenyon Martin Jr., Jae'Sean Tate and Christian Wood. They're nice players, for sure, they're on an NBA roster. But the NBA is a megastar-driven operation. How many of them would you recognize if they were standing behind you at Costco? The way the Rockets sign, trade and cut players, many or most of the current roster won't be around next year. Becoming a fan of a current Rocket is like falling in love with the Rug Doctor you rented for the weekend at a supermarket. It's going back Monday.

Last year, the head coach was Mike D'Antoni, the general manager was Daryl Morey. Both are established and respected figures in the league. Would you recognize the Rockets new coach Stephen Silas? Can you even name the Rockets new general manager?

And that's how you sink to 14th place in the Western Conference standings, inevitably a lottery team, the end to the Rockets' eight-year run of making the playoffs … the longest current streak in the NBA. The 2021 Rockets aren't just a lousy product, it's worse, they're a boring team. Gordon and Tucker, maybe the two most popular Rockets veterans, are rumored to be traded soon. Fans will have abandonment issues.

Maybe the Rockets should offer something stiffer than beer on "Guys Night Out" next Thursday when the Portland Trail Blazers visit Toyota Center. Good seats available.

That's not what you want to see

Did you see where the New York Mets fired their general manager Jared Porter because he sent explicit, uninvited, unanswered text messages to a female reporter?. Porter absolutely deserved to lose his job. What he did was awful and cruel. More than just losing his job, he should be committed to a home for the terminally stupid. Who does something that moronic? So unconscionable and abusive, on top of being job-killing.

But not all junk shots are meant to be hurtful – here's one that's actually funny, and totally inadvertent and innocent. Several years ago, a local sportscaster not only took a photo of his naked, anatomically correct body, he posted it on Facebook for all of his friends, indeed the world, to see. I won't name the local sportscaster because he was the victim of his own innocent lack of focus. It could have happened to anybody. Not me, thankfully, but anybody else.

Here's how it happened. The sportscaster was taking a shower, and when he emerged, he noticed his kitten curled up in the bathroom sink. Aw, isn't that cute? The sportscaster grabbed his phone and took a photo.

And posted it on Facebook. He didn't notice that, in the background of the photo, in the mirror, was his naked body. You can't say he was butt naked because it was full frontal nudity. You can't say it was a wardrobe malfunction because there was no wardrobe involved. Fortunately his wife noticed the mishap and told the sportscaster to delete the photo.

Here's the real problem, and his solid alibi. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put huge, wide mirrors in the bathroom, especially opposite the bath tub? There's a good look, you're naked, dripping wet, with patches of soap you missed rinsing off. This should be a fleeting disturbing image, not one to be preserved on film or online. Solution: don't bring your phone, or any photographic equipment, into the bathroom. We've all taken accidental photos. Nobody needs to see a photo of your disgusting body. You are not Michelangelo's statue of David. I don't let my dog watch me take a shower or any other business conducted in the bathroom. There is a reason that bathroom doors have locks. Use them.

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