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Saturday 20th Jan 2018

If you are a Packers fan, life did not get any better than the final play of Thursday Night's game.

If you are a Lions fan, well, it doesn't get any worse.

If you are a football fan, you have an opinion about the last sequence of plays--and maybe others--which have you upset with officiating and match-ups and so on. At least that is what I get from the chunk of tweets I saw after the "Rodgers-Squared Magic Catch."

I understand. 

As a Raiders fan, I have endured the Immaculate Reception. As a Dodgers fan when I was young, I endured the team's 1962 meltdown against the Giants, and later, as an Athletics fan, I endured Kirk Gibson's homer.

Sports are funny things. So are rules, and to complicate matters, referees are human and cameras don't lie. Well, cameras don't lie for the most part.

To me, though, the reality is that the Lions were not victimized, nor were the Packers being rewarded by the league or any such nonsense. I don't think the facemask was a bad call, though I do think Rodgers-squared, as fantastic as it was, was largely tinged with luck.

The thing is, the Lions had numerous opportunities to put the Packers away, and they couldn't do it. This is nothing new. Aaron Rodgers is good at late game winning drives. 

However, the bottom line is that Jack Tatum's spike wasn't quite good enough, nor was Dennis Eckersley's slider, and on Monday, Devin Taylor's tackle wasn't quite perfect enough.

It all reminds me of Ron Washington's comment about Jeremy Giambi's lack of slide during Game 3 of the 2001 Divison Series: "You have to finish the fucking play," said Ron.

That is right. There is no room in competitive sports for sentimentality. If you want to win, you must step on the throat of all challengers until you have no more. Because, if allowed an extra pitch, or play, or shot, irrespective of the contest, that really gives just more chance for things to go wrong.

It is well known--well, I hope it is--that I am not a fan of instant replay. And, it is not that I don't want the refs to get the calls right, but as often as not, it is hard to definitively read the disposition of a play with instant replay. (Although to be fair, the slo-mo replay clearly showed Taylor's hands giving a tug to Rodgers' helmet.)

But, after the penalty, Green Bay still had to complete a 70-yard Hail Mary when everyone on the planet knew that play was coming. Despite that, the Pack pulled it off.

So, the bottom line on Thursday was that Detroit was neither cheated, nor robbed. Per Wash, the Lions didn't "finish the fucking play." 

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