Four key questions after the MNF “game” against the Dolphins

After the Saints’ (7-8) embarrassing and unwatchable 20-3 defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins (8-7) on Monday Night Football, I have some questions.  Let’s start with the obvious:

Why was this game played in the first place?

The Saints had 22 players and 4 assistant coaches on the COVID list.  That included, arguably, the most important players on the roster – QBs Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian, LBs Demario Davis and Kwon Alexander, safety Malcolm Jenkins, plus offensive linemen Ryan Ramczyk, Jordan Mills and Jerald Hawkins, and a litany of others.

In week 15, the NFL didn’t hesitate to move the Rams-Seahawks, Raiders-Browns and Eagles-WFT matchups when the Rams had 25 players on the COVID list, the Football Team had 23 players on the list and the Browns had 20.

So…what the fuck?

Why on Earth would the league force the Saints to play with a JV squad on a national showcase, no less?

The result was the least fun game of the year in the entire league.  Starting rookie 4th-string QB Ian Book behind 4th-string offensive tackles, the Saints mustered only 164 yards of offense and Book was sacked 8 times, the most on MNF since 2019.

Book was running for his life the entire game and it’s a miracle he didn’t get hurt.  As Sean Payton pointed out after the game, evaluating him with this tape is impossible.  Book, and Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to an extent, were put in real physical danger when forced to play behind OT’s signed off the street.

Everyone who wasted time and money watching and/or attending the game is owed an explanation as to why this game wasn’t postponed or cancelled outright.  It was a preseason game with postseason implications.

Which begs the question…

Why is the NFL only testing players once a week?

Weekly testing is the literal answer for why we ended up in this mess.  When you only test for COVID weekly, by the time any positive results are discovered, it’s likely too late to quarantine any close contacts and prevent an outbreak.  Patient zero has been infecting his teammates and coaches for days.

The NFL has been inexplicably resistant to the idea of daily testing, despite the fact they have more than enough money to facilitate it.  But there’s the rub – maybe they’re too cheap to do the right thing, even though daily testing would have almost certainly lessened the impact of recent outbreaks within team facilities.  The earlier you catch the positive tests, the earlier you can take preventative measures.

Roger Goodell and his decaying, mothball-smelling cronies in the league office were negligent in their decision to play the game, and they continue to be negligent in their lax testing policies.

At this point, we shouldn’t expect anything else from a league administration that, from the very tippy-top all the way down to the refs on the field, has no idea what the fuck they’re doing.

Speaking of…

Why was that completion to Smythe upheld?

It ended up not mattering much because the Dolphins would eventually miss a field goal on the drive, but Miami TE Durham Smythe (what a name!) caught a 13-yard pass near the end of the second half that looked like the ball hit the ground.

The play was reviewed and ultimately upheld despite the fact that the ball very clearly hit the Superdome turf.


Is that not the ground? Is the turf different than the ground? Is up down, and down up? Does this game mean anything to anyone anymore?

I don’t know what else to say about NFL officiating.  It’s beyond the pale.  It’s absurd.  NFL officials no longer live in the real world, but rather, a bizarro-fantasy land in which they must do the opposite of what reason suggests.    

How does Roger Goodell sleep at night?

I am so glad that this sham of a game was on national television.  I hope fans are disgusted and I hope the ratings tanked.  I hope this was the least-watched MNF game of the year.  I hope the Scott Van Pelt-hosted SportCenter had bad ratings (no offense to SVP…he’s great).  I hope concession sales plummeted at the Dome.

Sean Payton and his players will vomit out the usual sound bites about “no excuses in the face of adversity, blah blah blah.”  That’s a load of horseshit.

This game should not have been played, period. 

Ian Book was endangered and now both the NFC and AFC playoff pictures have been tainted by this farce.

It’s just the latest in a long line of atrocities committed by the league.  I’m not going to advocate bootlegging the Panthers game next week, as the Saints try to resurrect their postseason hopes.  But I’m also not going to tell you not to do it.

After all, the virus your computer might get is less dangerous than the one you could contract from watching the game in person or at a bar, or, apparently, setting foot in an NFL team facility.

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