Granted it was only one voice but I found the comments of current Pittsburgh Steeler Will Allen to be quite interesting yet not surprising. Allen was a member of the Dallas Cowboys this season for just four games but when he was asked about his time there, he didn’t shy away.
“It was a very micro-managed atmosphere,” Allen told Sirius XM NFL Radio. “Everything was heightened. Everything was very tight. I didn’t feel the relationship and the bonding between players and coaches. Maybe just the players. Or maybe just a few coaches and a few players.”
In fairness, Allen really only has the Pittsburgh Steelers to compare the Cowboys to but for him at least, the environments couldn’t be any different.
Allen went on to discuss that many times in Dallas veterans were just handed jobs whereas in Pittsburgh, the expectation is that you earn your playing time regardless of who you were. Even if veterans played poorly they were allowed to keep jobs simply because of “who they were.”
I mentioned in the opening that Allen’s comments weren’t surprising and they aren’t. We’ve heard of issues like this coming out of Dallas for some time now. In my opinion it begins and ends with Jerry Jones, the long-time owner of the team.
Jones serves as the team’s general manager which means he has tremendous input and influence on who the team selects not only the NFL Draft but also in free agency. The majority of NFL owners leave most of that type of decision-making to the individuals they’ve hired to make such decisions.
Jones has taken a lot of heat for how involved he is in the team and for making his presence felt too often on the sidelines. I can’t say Jones doesn’t have a right to do as he pleases because it his team after all but sometimes there is such as a thing as being ‘too involved’ and most would agree Jones is.
Ironically this week, Jones admitted that he listens to lots of sports talk radio. I give him credit because a lot of it isn’t very pleasant about him or his team. If a veteran like Will Allen could see these issues in just four weeks then surely others do as well.
Monday night in Charlotte, the Carolina Panthers earned their biggest win in years when they knocked off the New England Patriots 24-20. The bigger story however was the call and then ‘non-call’ in the end zone on the final play of the game.
There are two things I took away from this situation; first is that referee Clete Blakeman erred horrendously when he did not explain their decision. That was a chicken-shit move in my opinion and needs to be reprimanded for it.
Secondly, there cannot be a ‘picking up of the flag’ in that instance. One of two things needed to have been called there. It’s either defensive holding or its defensive pass interference. Both would have been called on the Panthers’ Luke Kuechly.
There is no way that any official could have determined whether the ball was catchable or not simply because the Pats’ Rob Gronkowski was not given the opportunity to make an effort at the pass. No argument from me that the pass was short, but no one can say that Gronk wouldn’t have had a chance.
The fact that the head of officials supported the call is worth noting but not a big deal. It wasn’t so egregious that he needed to embarrass them because he was going to support them either way. Still, it was poor officiating on a couple of levels and it needs to be addressed.