Tampering, Disrespect, & the Wk 2 Hangover

Look out now -- the San Francisco 49ers have officially accused the New York Jets of tampering with their (unbelievably, as-yet-unsigned) first-round draft pick, Michael Crabtree.  Back in May, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports called tampering "the NFL's dirty little secret," and warned that without harsher penalties, it'll only get worse.  Well, the 49ers are saying that the Jets called up Crabtree and promised to sweeten the deal left on the table in San Francisco, if only Crabtree re-enters the 2010 draft.  Rex Ryan, in true "no duh" fashion, has called the whole accusation "ridiculous."  Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum isn't talking, but either everyone's after the Jets, or there's something fishy going on.  Crabtree's the third receiver rumored to have been contacted illegally by the Jets, though neither the Denver Broncos (for Brandon Marshall) nor the Minnesota Vikings (for Percy Harvin) filed any formal charges.

Look out now -- the San Francisco 49ers have officially accused the New York Jets of tampering with their (unbelievably, as-yet-unsigned) first-round draft pick, Michael Crabtree.  Back in May, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports called tampering "the NFL's dirty little secret," and warned that without harsher penalties, it'll only get worse.  Well, the 49ers are saying that the Jets called up Crabtree and promised to sweeten the deal left on the table in San Francisco, if only Crabtree re-enters the 2010 draft.  Rex Ryan, in true "no duh" fashion, has called the whole accusation "ridiculous."  Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum isn't talking, but either everyone's after the Jets, or there's something fishy going on.  Crabtree's the third receiver rumored to have been contacted illegally by the Jets, though neither the Denver Broncos (for Brandon Marshall) nor the Minnesota Vikings (for Percy Harvin) filed any formal charges.

Speaking of the New York Jets, they knocked off the New England Patriots yesterday, and Mike Silver is pinning the victory (at least partly) on the fact that Rex Ryan gave Bill Belichick no respect. Yes, it seems that Ryan's shooting his mouth off before taking on the Patriots was a smart move, since it not only bothered Tom Brady enough to respond, but it also took the heat off of rookie QB Mark Sanchez and Co.  Hey, if all it takes to beat New England is to say that Belichick's ringed hands will go unkissed, bring on the Patriots!

The Packers weren’t the only team left wondering what happened when the game clock ran out on Sunday.  Going into Week 2, here were the top 10 teams in the league (according to people who put stock in such things):

# ESPN Fox Sports NFL Experts SI’s Don Banks
1 Steelers Steelers Steelers Patriots
2 Patriots Patriots Patriots Steelers
3 Giants Giants Eagles Packers
4 Eagles Eagles Giants Ravens
5 Colts Vikings Chargers Saints
6 Chargers Titans Ravens Giants
7 Falcons Packers Packers Eagles
8 Vikings Falcons Colts Titans
9 Titans Colts Vikings Chargers
10 Ravens Cardinals Titans Falcons
11 Packers

After last night, here's a kick to the gut of anyone who's had the postseason locked up since the first week of preseason.  Of the teams listed above (and yes, I know the Colts haven't played yet), only 4 teams have 2-0 records (Giants, Falcons, Vikings, and Ravens).  Of the teams that never expected to sit at 1-1 (or, if you're the Titans, 0-2 after losing to Houston), the Steelers (3), Titans (3), Chargers (5), Patriots (7), and Packers (7), each could have won or at least extended the game with a TD.  (Yeah, the Eagles got blown out by 26 points, but the guys that beat them are sitting at #5 in SI's list, while their starting QB was sitting on the bench.)

Some fans have reacted to this Week 2 wake-up call with "oh, we never wanted to win 16 anyway," "yes we lost, but isn't Chris Johnson amazing?", and "no, really, this loss was a good thing."  No matter how fans react to these losses, the teams at the top will see themselves swinging lower in next week's rankings and have to climb their way back up.  It's true the season's far from over, and "there's a lot of football left to be played," but for a handful of teams, the Week 2 Hangover is a doozy.

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Comments (2)

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Ruppert's picture

September 22, 2009 at 03:44 pm

Nice post, Holly. Your note about the 2-0 teams got me to thinking. A quick perusal of the standings today tells me that there are nine teams at 2-0, 14 teams at 1-1, and the remaining nine are winless. That's pretty much a perfectly normal distribution, statistically.

So that's it...I'm blaming MATH for the Packers' performance on Sunday! The strange forces of the universe that make pi = 3.14 dictated that the Packers must fall into a specific part of the distribution. We were doomed before the kickoff. Blast!

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holly's picture

September 24, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Foolproof analysis, Ruppert. You have to admit, though, the odds of those particular 9 teams being 2-0 would have been fairly long.

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