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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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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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