1. There was one play in Monday's Eagles-Chiefs game that perfectly encapsulated everything that is wrong with (a) how NFL rules analysts are used on TV and (b) why the role of the rules analyst is completely useless.
Late in the second half, Patrick Mahomes threw a pass to Travis Kelce. The Eagles DB wrapped his arm around the tight end and yanked Kelce’s arm, preventing him from making the catch.
Was this an obvious pass interference on Travis Kelce? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/QIP4QulqRt— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 21, 2023
Joe Buck, calling the game on ESPN, immediately said, “No flag, incomplete,” in that tone that play-by-play folks use to indicate there should’ve been a flag.
Troy Aikman then tossed it to ESPN’s rules analyst, John Parry, who embarrassed himself by saying the following on national TV: “You know what, at this speed, they all look like pass interference. In real time, that official didn’t see the arm restriction, but based on the timing doesn’t make the call.”
Should this have been called pass interference after contact with Travis Kelce❔ pic.twitter.com/oByr9iXCCl— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 21, 2023
WHAT. THE. [WORD I CAN’T USE ON SI.COM]?
First, Parry tries to take the heat off the refs by saying all passes look like pass interference. Pathetic. Then he admits there was “arm restriction” yet defends the ref for not making the call by blaming timing. You cannot be serious.
But here’s why I say this perfectly encapsulates the problem with the rules analyst. There was absolutely no reason whatsoever for Aikman to bring in John Parry. If you have functioning eye sight, you saw that it was clearly pass interference and the ref missed the call. You cannot dispute that the DB pulled on Kelce’s left arm. Why do need a special rules analyst to confirm what we just saw? Nobody watching the game needed to hear from Parry there.
But since the networks insist upon overusing rules analysts, all Parry had to do there was come on and say, “Yeah, Troy, it was pass interference, but the ref just missed the call. Back to you and Joe.”
Instead, Parry tries to defend the official with some word salad while actually admitting there was pass interference, or as he called it, “arm restriction,” on the play.
This is what the rules analysts do. They come on, tell us how difficult things are for the refs and then defend the refs for making the wrong calls. CBS’s Gene Steratore did this two weeks ago when a clear lateral by Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett was called a forward pass.
Charles Davis doesn't have as spirited an argument with Gene Steratore that Cris Collinsowrth had with Terry McAulay, but the CBS analyst let the former head official that he disagrees, "vehemently."— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 12, 2023
Steratore really taking a stand here: "To me, it was just not enough to… pic.twitter.com/HjfadUy9Ga
I don’t know if the rules analysts exist because Roger Goodell wants them on TV to defend the officials. I don’t know if network executives actually think the rules analysts provide anything. I do think some networks have a rules analyst just because other networks do, and everyone on sports television just copies everyone.
But if the networks that air the NFL want to actually do a service for their viewers, they would put on a rules analyst only if there is confusion about a rule. But instead, the networks use the rules analyst to defend the refs at every term and tell viewers that they didn’t see what they just saw.
Someone make it stop.
2. A brand-new episode of SI Media With Jimmy Traina dropped this morning, and it features an interview with NFL VP of broadcast planning Mike North.
North explains how a game getting flexed happens, why the NFL would want to flex a game and what goes into flexing a game.
North also discusses whether he thinks any games will be flexed this season, what the league thinks of having three Patriots games left in prime time, how the Aaron Rodgers and Joe Burrow injuries have impacted the prime-time schedule, whether the league would ever consider scheduling only the first half of the season and then programming times and networks afterward during the second half.
North also reveals whether the NFL has ever considered removing the Lions from Thanksgiving, what the league is looking for from its first Black Friday game on Amazon Prime and why the league is happy to have Taylor Swift as a fan.
Following North, Sal Licata from WFAN Radio and SNY TV in New York joins me for our weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week we discuss Thanksgiving food, the Thanksgiving NFL games and much more
You can also watch SI Media With Jimmy Traina on YouTube.
3. If anyone thinks Tom Brady will hold back or be timid or boring when he becomes Fox’s lead NFL analyst next season, just watch this clip.
4. As a degenerate gambler, it warms my heart any time I see a professional athlete addressing the elephant in the room, so I loved this tweet Monday from Kevin Durant.
When I get ya paid, u don’t DM me and send a small percentage to my cashapp but when them parlays don’t hit, I’m every name in the book. Yall ain’t real— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) November 20, 2023
5. I have no doubt whatsoever that his intentions were good, but this was quite an analogy from Bill Walton during Monday’s Kansas-Chaminade game.
Bill Walton with the most insane call I’ve ever heard 💀 pic.twitter.com/09gZLC8YKU— CBB Content (@CBBcontent) November 21, 2023
6. Good stuff here from Pistons play-by-play guy George Blaha, who had harsh words for the officials after they tossed Denver’s Nikola Jokić on Monday night and deprived Pistons fans from seeing the superstar in action for the Nuggets’ only visit to Detroit.
Nikola Jokić was ejected from Monday night's game against the Pistons, and Detroit play-by-play man George Blaha had choice words for the officials after it.— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 21, 2023
"Let me tell you this, these fans did not come here to see Curtis Blair, Tre Maddox or Andy Nagy, whoever they are. pic.twitter.com/lD8t8GdXRb
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: The legendary David Letterman returned to the Late Show and the Ed Sullivan Theater on Monday for the first time since leaving, and it was great.