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By Roland Williams, 11/14/2012,

In case you missed it…

This past week in the NFL, the Rams-49ers game finished with a score of 24-24, the first tie in the NFL in four years and only the fifth since 1990.

A tie.

After 75 minutes of playing arguably the most grueling and violent of all of professional sports, this NFL game failed to produce a winner of the contest.  The game resulted in a tie.

A stinking tie…

Since Sunday, complaints have come in from all corners of the NFL and beyond. Upset at the rule that allows a tie as a possible outcome.  Upset at the abundance of stupid mistakes made by both teams.

When a tie happens, there is always an extensive autopsy.  Folks from across sports investigate what could have been done to prevent this competitive catastrophe.  For example, in this game, there were plenty of mistakes:

  • Rams had an 80-yard pass on the first play of overtime (that would have given them an easy FG or a touchdown) negated by an illegal formation penalty.
  • 49ers star kicker David Akers missed a quite makeable 41-yard field goal.
  • Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein makes a game-winning field goal from 53 yards, but it was taken away because of an unnecessary delay-of-game call.  Of course, his next attempt from 58 yards went wide right.

And trust me, there were many more mistakes made during regulation of this game.

But in my opinion, there was actually one preventable mistake that happened BEFORE the game that was of great consequence.

It was when Jeff Fisher (St Louis Rams Head Coach) decided to make starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins and starting wide receiver Chris Givens inactive for the Rams’ game for a violation of “team rules”.  For those who don’t know this terminology, “inactive” means they are not allowed to play in the game.

But here’s the thing…

The buzz around St. Louis was that the “team rule” the guys violated was simply being late for a meeting.  Huh?  Come on coach.  If that’s the case, Big Ro has a problem with that.  And here’s why…

Both these guys are young players.  Two of your best on a young improving team. In their college football days, they lived in towns with no traffic. They now reside in St. Louis.  They probably did more shopping and sightseeing than they should of in San Francisco and got caught up in afternoon traffic.  An understandable offense.  Heck, it happened to me and Future Hall of Fame WR Torry Holt once in our early years.

Frankly, its not THAT big of a deal.

Yell at them. Give the guys a fine.  Make them run sprints when they get back to St. Louis.  Do something. But not playing them is like killing a mosquito with a sledgehammer.  A bit much.

Besides, from a NFL player’s perspective, being “inactive” is simply a day off work.  You still get a full paycheck.  You get to relax on the sidelines, not risk injury and have no pressure to perform.

Now think about this for a second…

If this was YOUR job, how much of a deterrent for would it be if your boss “punished” you with a paid vacations while making your fellow employees pick up the slack?

In this game, Jeff Fisher’s decision to make Jenkins and Givens inactive made it hard on the rest of the Rams.  Star WR Danny Amendola was finally active for St. Louis after missing the last three games with a right shoulder injury.  And now instead of having the luxury of easing his way back into the offense and playing in spots, he was forced to move into Givens’ starting spot and overextend.

On defense, Jenkins is a playmaking rookie who would have been valuable against the 49ers offense.  Instead?  Bradley Fletcher was forced to start in place of Jenkins, a rookie chosen with the 39th pick overall in the second round last spring.  And it showed.

Come on coach…

As a member of the St. Louis Rams Super Bowl team, maybe I am a bit more critical of this squad than others.  And in Jeff Fisher’s defense, I am SUPER glad he is at the helm.  Fisher’s calming demeanor and toughness is the perfect fit for this young team and has already put this team on track to be really competitive in the near future.

But this time, Fisher got it wrong.

Paid vacations don’t work on so many levels.  And this time, I believe it cost the Rams a victory and the NFL a competitive black eye.


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  1. Fisher has made glaring errors already with the Rams (settling for a field goal in the last few minutes of the Detroit game when clearly 3 pts would not be enough to seal the win). But still I agree with you… I’m glad to have him as our head coach. If Jenkins and Givens were late for practice it seems like Fish over reacted. Fisher is such a seasoned HC its hard to believe he would make that mistake. Maybe they did something else that pissed him off and he wanted to put a swift end to it.

    The whole tie thing was a stinkin shame, but I don’t think having either of those 2 guys active that day would have made a difference. Both teams did everything reasonable to win and couldn’t pull it off.

    Hey I love your take on it though. I hope Jenkins and Givens make a huge difference in the upcoming rematch. Finally, here was my original take on it.

  2. James says:

    I disagree with football being the most grueling/violent game in professional sports. Have you ever watched a rugby game? Friggin ridiculous guys dont get suspended for stepping on people, its part of the game. And they dont get commercial breaks its 80 mins of full on action unlike the nfl where theres probably maybe 20 mins of actual gameplay per game depending on how much the offenses run the ball.

  3. James says:

    Im not knocking football in anyway i love it. I just think when it comes to most violent/grueling rugby takes the cake no doubt.

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