Insult to Injury

“Even a fool is wise after the event.”  – Homer, The Iliad

The Bears are in their bye week, and while a 3-5 start isn’t terrible, it’s certainly not as sexy as a 4-4 record going into the break.  Development of Mitch Trubisky is promising, even if expectations for his rookie year have been tempered from his 2-2 record thus far.

That said, if you ask anyone how the Bears and GM Ryan Pace look after the 49ers acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo for a 2nd rounder & the success of DeShaun Watson, it seems like an unwinnable narrative simply being floated to spite the Bears organization.



It’s equal parts typical and forgivable that fans let their passions guide them down the road of stupid/bad takes online; I myself have done this for many years, but when fans and pundits alike attempt to stoke the fires of Ryan Pace’s draft-day trade as controversial, it floods my bloodstream with angry bile.

For irrational, stupid fans and click-starved beat writers, the new hotness is getting all pissed off at Ryan Pace for not having the foresight to have taken Watson with the 3rd overall pick.  Alternatively you can pile on with the argument that of course Pace should have stood his ground at 3 and taken someone like Solomon Thomas, then waited until the Bears were 0-8 under Mike Glennon, THEN traded their 2018 second round pick to the Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo.

…or some other stupid brain sludge that is best limited to the wasteland that is social media.

The Bears 2017 draft class has been mostly good through 8 games, trending toward excellent.  Trubisky is only 23 and has a long way to go in his development, not to mention he’s throwing to the worst WR corps in the NFL by a wide, wide margin.  Take a chill pill and let things play out.

I get it – Watson’s looking like a veteran and Garoppolo was acquired for fair value, but immediate gratification is a loser’s game.  Breathe in some patience, and exhale the craving for outrage-driven stupidity out of your anus.

Former NFL official and current Senior Vice President of Officiating Alberto Riveron gave a breathtakingly thorough breakdown of why Zach Miller’s potential final NFL play was not, in fact, a touchdown.

Click here to watch this gentleman insult your intelligence for roughly 90 seconds.

Welcome back.  Now that you’re likely incensed and baffled, let me be the first to tell you that you are not alone.  Fans of both the Bears and Saints were confused about the ruling, but it doesn’t stop there.

Referee Carl Cheffers’ take was as vapid as it should be, considering the league itself has no idea how to define a catch any more.

“We ruled that he was going to the ground as part of the process of the catch, so when he goes to the ground, he has to survive the ground. He . . . temporarily lost control of the ball. The ball hit the ground, therefore it’s incomplete.”

Forbe’s Brian Mazique‘s take wraps it up pretty nicely:

What lesson is a player to learn from the ruling in the Bears-Saints contest? Even if they’re injured they are to hold on to the ball until an official walks over and takes it out of their hands? Perhaps simply holding it while watching for an official to signal touchdown as they writhe on the ground in pain is the advisable procedure.

In any, it’s ridiculous. On-field success in sports is supposed to be determined by the athletic skill and actions of players on the field. The competition between Miller and Saints safety Rafael Bush was decided.

Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had already put the pass in the perfect spot and Miller came down with the sweet one-handed grab. He rolled on his back with the ball, discovered he’d been hurt and then let the ball go. The play was over.

WGN’s Adam Hoge’s article on this is also well-worth a read.

WSCR had Mike Pereira on their station to help clarify the ruling.  Pereira, himself a former official and Senior Vice President of Officiating, did not side with his former fraternity.

“We look at this play — Dean Blandino, who was making these decisions last year, he’s now with us — he and I were breaking down the play yesterday in LA and we concluded that had they ruled that incomplete that we would’ve reversed that to a touchdown.  There’s where you’re looking at it and saying, ‘Whoa, where is this disconnect here?’ Zach’s going to the ground. We all get that. He doesn’t lose possession on the way to the ground. He hits the ground in obvious pain, rolls over on his back still with possession of the ball, then lets it go. Dean really invented this language last year when he said ‘you have to survive the ground when you hit the ground.’ Which means if you hit the ground, in that moment when your entire body hits the ground, if the ball comes loose, it’s an incomplete pass. But if you survive the ground — there has to be an end, and the end is determined by when you roll over — if the ball comes out after you roll over, it’s complete. The process is over. And for the life of us, we just can’t figure out how that play ruled on the field as a touchdown, what was so clear and so obvious to reverse that to an incomplete pass.”

In short, the call was made without sound reasoning, substance, or good judgment.  What a surprise.

I wish I could say that this will impact catch rulings in the future, but let’s be honest here – if the NFL hasn’t had enough evidence by late 2017 to justify that catches and overdone reviews are bad for the game, they’re simply uninterested or willfully ignorant to making any real effort to a broken system.

Enjoy your bye week, Bears fans.

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