The nation is rejoicing the return of the regular officials after the NFL and the NFLRA came to agreement on a new labor deal last night. NFL fans no longer have to see the replacement officials on the field or their TV screen this week.
Thank goodness, the regular officials have returned. Now, NO team in the NFL will receive a terrible call, or a bad penalty, or an atrocious ball spot for the rest of the season.
No longer do NFL fans have to worry about the real refs saying the wrong number on a penalty or even wondering where a penalty took place on the field. There is no way that these officials, you know the ones, that players, coaches and fans have been clamoring for will not make perfect calls on each and every play and every game.
This week and for the next eight years, NFL teams don't have to worry about a terrible call stealing them of a victory at the end of a game. There is no way these referees, who have been built up to demigod status will make a bad call that greatly impacts a game or costs one team a victory.
And I know, I better not see one tweet this weekend or for the next eight years for that matter on how your team got a bad penalty, jobbed, screwed or had a game stolen. After everyone made sure to drink the national media and announcers Kool-Aid on the replacements, you finally are getting what you asked for and you need to be happy no matter what.
Coaches and players were applauded for their boorish behavior towards the replacements. I have never seen professionals act more unprofessional than I have the last three weeks of the NFL season.
There was no way the replacements stood a chance after being under the most intense magnifying glass ever. Each call was dissected, over-analyzed and unfairly scrutinized even when the call was right.
Even if the replacements got a call right, twitter world wouldn't acknowledged it and neither would the announcers or the media. There was no way the replacement refs could succeed with most of the country doing everything to possible to point out mistakes.
The media, announcers, and everyone else made sure the replacement refs would full-fill their prediction of Armageddon by nitpicking everything they did each week. No one points out each and every mistake the regular refs made each week but couldn't have the same respect for the replacements.
Never mind the fact that the regular refs have blown calls and given away wins for years, it was the replacement refs in the minds of nearly everyone what were destroying football. I am not buying how bad everyone thought the replacements were and I am not buying how great "you guys" think the regular refs are going to be.
But there is a new deal in place and everyone needs to learn to live with the calls you get each week and every week. I for one don't want to hear about any bad calls by the refs after the way everyone acted towards the replacements.
Now on to my quick thoughts about last weeks games and the season so far. Remember, Saints break down and pick will be coming before Sunday's game.
Cam Newton has not looked like the same player that won offensive rookie of the year last season. Newton still pouts on the sideline when things aren't going his way and he showed it again last week when the Carolina Panthers were being spanked by the New York Giants. I honestly question if Newton can be a leader on that team.
Speaking of the Giants, I don't think there is a better road team in the NFL. Just when you think the Giants are in trouble (coming off an emotional comeback win on a short week), they rise up and show why they are the defending Super Bowl champions.
Will the real Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys, please stand up. Three weeks into the season and I still don't know what I am going to get each week from the Buccaneers or the Cowboys. Both these teams change from game to game or worse yet they change from quarter to quarter.
Are the Houston Texans the best team in the AFC? It is too early to tell but the Texans are 3-0 to start a season for the first time in franchise history.
I have to wonder about Peyton Manning's arm strength after the last two weeks. Denver dumped Tim Tebow for Manning and was anointed Super Bowl contenders without even seeing Peyton in game action. Manning has not looked great early in two losses to the Falcons and the Texans. Broncos' fans better begin worry if Peyton doesn't faster this week.
The Bills are 2-1 after beating the Browns. Buffalo and Cleveland have improved each week. Too bad Cleveland doesn't have a win to show for their improvement yet. The Bills aren't a playoff team yet but they look much better the last two week than they did against the Jets to open the season.
I have to believe that Mark Sanchez is playing on borrowed time that got extended last week with a win over the Dolphins. Sanchez has not looked great and another loss could get people clamoring for that back up in New York green.
I need more time to see how he does but Miami might have finally found a quarterback who can replace Dan Marino in the hearts of Dolphins fans.
Before the 2011 NFL Draft, I said I believed the best quarterbacks would be Andy Dalton (proved me right last year & still doing it this year) and Christian Ponder who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings.
I knew that Ponder would struggle last season but he did show flashes of what he could be. Now Ponder has a healthy Adrian Peterson and he is making better decisions with the football.
The team Ponder beat last week was the San Francisco 49ers. How did Minnesota do beat the 49ers. They played tough, smash-mouth, and physical football. Most teams are not built that way in this pass happy NFL but the Vikings are one such team.
Sam Bradford has finally looked like the first overall pick he was taken at a couple of drafts ago. Bradford is healthy and playing very well for the St. Louis Rams. The Chicago Bears defeated the Rams last week but St. Louis is still learning to win and the Bears are the better team. By winning the Bears avoided answering questions about how crappy a teammate quarterback Jay Cutler has been.
The Jacksonville Jaguars still have to wonder if Blaine Gabbert is truly a franchise quarterback. But Gabbert did lead the Jaguars to their first win of the season against Indianapolis last week.
Colts fans don't have to worry about if Andrew Luck is a franchise quarterback because he has looked like one for the last two weeks. It is way to early to judge but Luck should be a starter in this league for a long time barring a serious injury.
Robert Griffin III has also looked the part of a franchise quarterback. Even though the Washington Redskins are 1-2, Griffin has been very good to open up the season.
Cincinnati continues to show they are not the same Bengals from year's past. Andy Dalton and AJ Green are turnaround the fortunes of Cincinnati.
Atlanta is the best team in the NFC. The Falcons went to San Diego and destroyed the Chargers. Even with the loss, the Chargers can show they are a different team with a win this week to start the season 3-1.
The Surprise of the week has to come from Oakland. The Raiders stunned the Steelers with a last second field goal. Pittsburgh is now 1-2 on the season and has the same record as Oakland.
Seattle and Arizona are helping to improve the image of the NFC West. The Seahawks and Cardinals might not get a ton of offense but they don't have to put up video game numbers on that side of the ball with the way they play defense.
Turnovers finally bit the Eagles on the butt as they fell on the road to the Cardinals. Michael Vick might not last the season as the Philadelphia starter. Winning cures everything but the more mistakes Vick makes the harder it makes keeping him as the starter.
Green Bay is playing better on defense from week one but their offense is stuck in neutral. The Packers receivers are not helping Aaron Rodgers when they try to catch the balland the running game is not getting used enough by the coaches.
The surprise of the season might be the New England Patriots with a 1-2 record. New England is getting better play from their defensive unit at times but not consistently. The Patriots offense is not finding the end zone like in year's past either. Still, I figure the Patriots will get it together and make the playoffs.
Joe Flacco still needs to prove he is a franchise quarterback. Flacco needs to play each week like the top tiered quarterback he believes he is for Baltimore. The Ravens defense might be on their final run to a Super Bowl and will need Flacco to lead them.
Now this week's picks (winners in bold)
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys