Hangover: Football is a game of inches

Football is a game of inches.

If you doubt that fact, you must have missed the end of Sunday’s Giants-Cowboys game. Dez Bryant caught a game-winning touchdown from Tony Romo to cap an amazing Cowboys comeback. But the replay showed Bryant’s hand was out of the back of the end zone by an inch and Dallas lost. One inch. One inch gave the Giants a huge 2.5-game lead in the NFC East. One inch prevented a change in Bryant’s image as being a mistake-prone receiver who isn’t reliable. One inch further cemented the perception of Romo as a loser who will never be “elite” like Eli Manning.

Football is a game of inches. Hundreds of game stories about Giants-Cowboys alone prove it.

In fact, football is THE game of inches -- save for maybe a few exceptions.

You could possibly call baseball a game of inches. Miss the strike zone by an inch or hit a line drive down the line that is foul by an inch, and the game changes. If Marco Scutaro hits under the pitch he hit to win the World Series by an inch, it’s a harmless pop fly.

So maybe baseball is a game of inches, too.

Oh! And basketball. Change the direction of a shot by an inch, miss a blocked shot or a steal attempt by an inch and you get a very different outcome.

Hockey, when it exists, is also a game of inches. How many shots hit a post or crossbar? How many goalies make a save or miss the puck by an inch? How many times is a team offside by just that little bit?

Golf! Golf is a game of inches. A putt that takes a different line by an inch won’t find the cup. A swing that misses by an inch might result in a ground ball or a whiff.

Track and field is a game of inches. The difference of an inch in a race can be the difference between going home with or without a medal.

Bowling is a game of inches. Hit the pins in a slightly different way and your strike becomes a 7-10 split.

Archery is a game of inches. A bull's-eye means you’re awesome. Move that shot an inch and you are significantly less awesome.

Professional wrestling is a game of inches. Change a kick by an inch and you risk actually hitting your opponent.

Filing is a game of inches. File that paper an inch away from where you were supposed to? That can take you from the J's all the way to the Z's, or beyond. Good luck finding the Jones case file now, dummy.

Dating is a game of inches. Put your hand on your date’s lower back? Fine. Move that an inch lower? This first date is over, pervert!

Making salsa is a game of inches. Chop, chop, chop those tomatoes. Whoops. You missed by an inch. Now you’re making extra-chunky fingertip salsa with a dash of excruciating pain.

Writing is a game of inches. 1vhuhg6 hd 1 62b5 8b hvg7f3. There’s “writing is a game of inches” typed by missing every key by an inch.

Huh. It seems like everything is a game of inches. In fact, maybe football is LEAST a game of inches. Plenty of things happen on the field that wouldn't impact the game in any way if things changed by an inch or two.

But it’s impossible to write anything even remotely sensible if you miss the keys by an inch. It’s even harder to write if you’re typing with finger nubs that are the result of a disastrous salsa-making attempt.

Quote of the Week

"The little Nutcracker dude, guarding the house, the palace. I like how he just sits there and stays still. It's pretty cool.” – Rob Gronkowski, describing the inspiration for his first London touchdown dance.

Winning the Revolutionary War and the subsequent centuries of worldwide dominance were a pretty good indication that the United States had passed England on the world stage. But an NFL tight end, prone to shirtless-ness, going to London and calling a member of the Queen’s Guard -- one of the most honored positions in the British army –- a “little Nutcracker dude” is the clincher. The Gronk touchdown spike of superiority, if you will. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Stat of the Week


Eli Manning is now 4-0 all-time at Cowboys Stadium. Maybe he can buy the naming rights to Jerry Jones’ shrine to mediocrity. ELITE Stadium has a nice ring to it, and it definitely evokes success more than the word “Cowboys” does.

Misleading Stat of the Week


Zero. That’s how many plays the Chiefs have run this year with a lead. But that stat is a little misleading because it makes you think the Chiefs have never had a lead or won a game. They did win in Week 2 on a field goal in overtime to beat the Saints. That stat is also misleading because it gives you the impression that the Chiefs are running plays. I watch a lot of football and I don’t see them running anything resembling plays.

This Week’s Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Team

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks: 25-for-35, 236 yards, 2 TD, INT

Vick Ballard, RB, Colts: 71 total yards, TD

Dexter McCluster, RB, Chiefs: 69 total yards, TD

Titus Young, WR, Lions: 9 catches, 100 yards, 2 TD

Chris Givens, WR, Rams: 3 catches, 63 yards, TD

Zach Miller, TE, Seahawks: 2 catches, 22 yards, TD

Photos of the Week

“I’d like to see him develop more of a mid-range game.”

“So that’s what true incompetence looks like.”

“Browns-Chargers. Yeah, I’ll put a bag over my head.”

“I’d feel like we were too early if there was anything else to do in town.”

“So many hands touching me. I like where this is going.”

“Great neckbeard angle.”

“So they were like: ‘We call it football here,’ and I was like ‘Whaaaa?’”

“I just want you to know that there’s always a job for you at Home Depot. There would be a time clock, though.”

“Who are you? Can I fire you?”

“Hurt? No, I feel fine. I just didn’t want to dress like that.”

“Wha? Are they seriously wearing those?”

“Get away! You’ll probably like the outcome better if I throw it.”

“I’d love it if Matt Barkley saved our school’s image, but it’s not looking good.”

“Excuse me. If I may, I’d like to throw this one to my own team.”

News Conference Questions Someone Should Have Asked

Andy Reid: “Since a hurricane is coming, do you think it would be smart to just pack up all of your things and leave for good now instead of waiting until the end of the season?”

Jeff Fisher: “Did your trip over here to play the Patriots remind you at all of the movie ‘Hostel’? In case you didn't see that movie, here’s the plot: a bunch of young Americans go overseas and get murdered.”

Mike Shanahan: “Your defense played like it was disoriented by Pittsburgh’s uniforms. Was that the case?”

Reader Twitter Question of the Week

It all depends on how you view America. If you’re an optimist, America’s Team should be the Giants, the reigning best football team in the world, or maybe the Steelers, who have the most Super Bowls all-time.

If you’re a cynic and a pessimist and believe America is controlled by rich, talentless do-nothings who are robbing the country of its potential, then the Cowboys remaining America’s Team works just fine.

ELITE Quarterback of the Week

Is Josh Freeman ELITE?

The evidence for him: Freeman has a nine touchdowns and just one interception in his last three game, he has a 93.3 quarterback rating and he is only 24. Also, you can’t spell FREEDOM without FREE.

The evidence against him: He’s 20-27 as a starter in his career, he completes less than 60 percent of his passes and, because he plays in Tampa, will have to win approximately 11 Super Bowls before anyone notices him. Also, you can’t spell FREELOADER without FREE.

Five Things We Think We Thought as Thinking Thinkers

1. There has always been one major problem with NFL teams wearing throwback uniforms, and the Steelers’ incarcerated bee outfits on Sunday were a reminder: Everyone on the team should have to dress in old-timey garb. Would you like to see Mike Tomlin coach a game and Troy Polamalu stand on the sideline looking like this? I would. And Dick LeBeau would, too. He probably still has clothes like that in his closet.

2. Patriots owner Robert Kraft says it’s time for London to have an NFL franchise. What he means, of course, is that it’s time for the NFL to make money off of an NFL franchise in London. The historical record of teams traveling multiple time zones is well-known. The London team would stink, no players would want to play for it and no owner who cares about winning would want to own it. However ... money!

3. Romeo Crennel after Kansas City’s Week 2 loss: “I thought that we would be better, and we're not. So we have to try and figure out what that is. From what I've seen, if we do what we're supposed to do, then we would be better."

Romeo Crennel after Kansas City’s Week 6 loss: “It was a team effort that screwed things up, and we've got to fix it as a team."

Romeo Crennel after Kansas City’s Week 8 loss: “Generally, umm, if the other team is able to score, you know, that puts you down.”

It’s amazing the Chiefs aren’t a better team, what with Crennel’s grasp of basic sports knowledge. He’s up on everything from the knowledge that teams who do good things do better to the fact that points help. If it doesn’t work out long-term for him in Kansas City, he has a definite future as a youth coach teaching the basic of football to 5-year-olds.

4. According to recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science -- a must-read for any football fan -- the performance of the local football team swings an election 1.5 percentage points. If the home team wins before an election, voters are more likely to stick with the incumbent. If the home team loses, there’s a “throw ALL the bums out” mentality.

Terrifying but true. Research shows voters really are that dictated by sports and emotion.

So no matter what your politics are, realize that the future of our country could come down to how the football teams in our battleground states play this weekend -- and our battleground states contain the Browns, Bengals, Dolphins, Buccaneers and Redskins.

The future of America is in Brandon Weeden’s hands.


It might be time to move to Canada.

5. Speaking of football influencing truly important things in life, those on the East Coast who will be impacted by Hurricane Sandy should remember one important storm preparedness tip: Set your Week 9 fantasy roster now. You could lose power for an extended amount of time and you don’t want to have your life ruined by having a bunch of guys on a bye in your starting lineup.

How They Spent Their Bye Week

Bills: Imparting a life lesson learned from America’s classiest man.

Ravens: Sharing hurricane facts.

Texans: Feeling terrible, just terrible for the Cowboys.

Bengals: Watching Cowboys-Giants or making salsa.