October Skies

Brian Cassella of the Chicago BearsThe calendar has turned to October and there is daily evidence that summer is over and football season is truly here. This is the time when all the early season jitters and anomolies disappear and the true cream begins to slowly rise to the top. Although we’re only a quarter of the way through the season, we can fairly predict that Houston and San Francisco should be major players in their respective conferences, while New Orleans and the New York Jets may be in some degree of trouble.

In the most recent years, with the advent of October comes the lame new trend of “pink” accesories on uniforms. This trend was once again launched last night during the game between Chicago and Dallas. I understand this has the noble intent to bring “awareness” to an important cause. But, as I mentioned in an article last year called The NFL’s Soft Pink Underbelly,

this (breast cancer awareness) is an important and noble cause…but this flamboyant display has, frankly run its course. I’m not in any way saying that the NFL should abandon this cause, I just think it is a bit over the top to splash it so prevalently onto the playing field…”

One thing that makes October this year different than past years is the ending of the replacement refs “debacle”, which miraculously ended a week ago after a terrible, game-deciding call on the Monday night Green Bay-Seattle game. Still, the honeymoon with the regular guys was short lived as there were some questionable calls this past weekend. When you look back through history, there have always been questionable calls (Franco Harris’s “Immaculate Reception” would have been overturned if there was instant replay in 1972) and that has just been part of the game. A good way to look at officiating in relation to NFL football is to compare them to nature. Usually they are not noticed at all, but once in a while there is an “act of God” which causes turbulance in the natural flow of things and is very unfortunate.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has accomplished an extraordinary feat by tying Johnny Unitas’s 50+ year record of throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games, a record he can break this week against his former team, the San Diego Chargers. Still, Brees doesn’t seem to get his full accolades. That is especially true this year, as he is surrounded by a terrible team which has started 0.4. In an article last year called Cool As the Brees I stated,

As one of the league’s most consistent quarterbacks over the past decade and a very recent Super Bowl MVP, it is fascinating that Brees never seems to be mentioned in the top tier of NFL quarterbacks…”

Brees broke the all-time single season passing record last year and remains a top level QB this year, despite all the turbulance surrounding his team.

This is not the case for all of the seven quarterbacks I looked at late last season when I declared 2011 as the year of the quarterback. In fact two of those quartebacks, T.J. Yates and Tim Tebow, are not even starting this year while another, Cam Newton, is ina bit of a sophomore slump. The other four – Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Eli Manning – are all once again having decent years but none of their teams have a winning record coming out of September. This past week’s showdown between Brees and Rodgers should have been one of the most anticipated showdowns of the year, but due to each teams early season struggles, it was billed as a struggle for survival by two desparate teams. My, how things have changed in just one season.

How will things look at the end of October, when more NFL weeks will be in the books? Check back for the Election Day morning edition of Tuesday Morning Tailback On November 6th, when I’ll give my official mid-season report.

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Tuesday Morning Tailback LogoTuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.