Wednesday Morning QB (Week 1)

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Some familiar faces returned this past week as the first week of the NFL season kicked off with teams and players returning to football. There was one noticeable group that would not be returning to the field though as the NFL referees were nowhere to be seen. There were a number of people in referee uniforms but the usual faces in the stripes were not that. That is because the NFL referees were locked out for the first week of the new NFL season. Over the summer it was the battle that raged on in the background of the NFL. With the concussion issue and the battle between the New Orleans Saints and Roger Goodell taking the focus a labour battle dispute was building. It was mentioned sure but the true level of this dispute between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association never really hit home until a week before the season started. At that point the NFL had announced that they would move on with replacement referees from the low college and high school ranks, the NCAA referees refused to fill in as an act of solidarity, for at least week 1 if not longer. The labour dispute centered around most of the usual issues between employers and employees. The referees wanted an increase in play claiming that the time it takes to prepare for the games is not proportionate to the amount they get paid. The NFL wanted to keep the pay the same while also changing the pension plan to a defined contribution from a 401K. All summer both sides argued about the details with neither side budging as the season approached. So the NFL moved on without the usual referees and without the NCAA Division-I referees leading to a number of amateur refs for the foreseeable future. This was a major concern for fans and for the NFLPA who were worried about the safety of their players. With amateur referees in placed many players believed that calls would be missed causing health risks. The first major test was on Thursday in the opening game as a rookie crew was on one of the biggest stages of the season. The first game was a good start for the referees as there were only two missed calls that could have been missed by any group of referees. The next test was on Sunday when a number of crews would all have their shot at refereeing in the NFL for the first time. Overall the first week was relatively uneventful. There were some mistakes like an extra timeout in the Seattle and Arizona game that ended up being a non factor or the number of flags for both teams in the San Francisco and Green Bay game. Ultimately though the referees passed their first major test of the year and have made their first impact on the ongoing labour dispute. With no major issues in the first week the labour dispute became weighted towards the NFL as the replacement refs are doing a good job. With the replacement refs doing well the NFLRA do not have as much pull on their side with the NFL in no need of the old referees. Of course it is only one week as there will likely be more problems and depending on how game changing they are the labour dispute will lean to one side or the other. It will be a constant story throughout the year as the NFL referees will likely be back at some point but the big question will be whether they are back with the labour deal they want or the deal that the NFL wants. It will be a matter of time before they are back and a lot has to do with how well the replacements do but with a 5-week plan for replacement referees it could be later rather than sooner especially if the replacement refs get better with more experience.

 

Four Quarters
(Four Quick Thoughts on Week 1)

 

Rookies Fairly Impressive
For the first time in NFL history there were 5 rookie QBs starting in week 1 and for the most part they did well with many throwing for over 300 yards and highlighted by Robert Griffin’s great performance against the new Orleans Saints

 

Jets Playing Possum?
The Jets scored one TD in the entire preseason but broke out for 6 touchdowns in week 1 leading some to believe that the Jets may have been holding back in the preseason and not showing their hand which would be unbelievable if it wasn’t the Jets

 

San Francisco’s Year?
In one of the premier games of the weekend the San Francisco 49ers took on the Green Bay Packers with the Niners coming out on top and looking to be the most well-rounded team in the NFL providing a lot of talk after one week

 

Peyton is Back
There were a lot of questions around Peyton Manning this season like if he would return to his old self in Denver and he proved that he would managing the his new team like he had spent his entire career there

 

NFL Players of the Week

 

National Football Conference:

Offensive POW:
Robert Griffin III, QB (Washington Redskins)
19/26
320 yds
2 TD
0 INT

 

Defensive POW:
Ronde Barber, DB (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) 
5 tkl
1.0 sck
1 INT
0FF

 

Special Teams POW:
Blair Walsh, K (Minnesota Vikings)
4/4 FG
55 lng
2/2 XP
14 pts

 

American Football Conference

Offensive POW:
Joe Flacco, QB (Baltimore Ravens)
21/29
299 yds
2 TD
0 INT

 

Defensive POW:
Tracy Porter, DB (Denver Broncos)
8 tkls
0 sck
1 INT (TD)
0 FF

 

Special Teams POW:
Jeremy Kerley, PR (New York Jets)
1 ret
68 yds
1 TD

 

NFL Standings

 

American Football Conference
AFC East:
1. New York Jets (1.00)
2. New England Patriots (1.00)
3. Buffalo Bills (.000)
4. Miami Dolphins (.000)
AFC North:
1. Baltimore Ravens (1.00)
2. Cincinnati Bengals (.000)
3. Cleveland Browns (.000)
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (.000)
AFC South:
1. Houston Texans (1.00)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (.000)
3. Indianapolis Colts (.000)
4. Tennessee Titans (.000)
AFC West:
1. Denver Broncos (1.00)
2. San Diego Chargers (1.00)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (.000)
4. Oakland Raiders (.000)

 

National Football Conference:
NFC East:
1. Dallas Cowboys (1.00)
2. Washington Redskins (1.00)
3. Philadelphia Eagles (1.00)
4. New York Giants (.000)
NFC North:
1. Detroit Lions (1.00)
2. Chicago Bears (1.00)
3. Minnesota Vikings (1.00)
4. Green Bay Packers (.000)
NFC South:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1.00)
2. Atlanta Falcons (1.00)
3. Carolina Panthers (.000)
4. New Orleans Saints (.000)
NFC West:
1. Arizona Cardinals (1.00)
2. San Francisco 49ers (1.00)
3. Seattle Seahawks (.000)
4. St. Louis Rams (.000)

 

Key Scores:
Dallas Cowboys 24 – 17 New York Giants
– In the opening game of the regular season the defending champions took on their division rivals in the Cowboys and when the game finished the Cowboys were on top with an offence that looked better than ever

 

Washington Redskins 40 – 32 New Orleans Saints
– This was supposed to be the game that the Saints proved that nothing could hold them down but instead it was the breakout for Robert Griffin III who showed that he is the rookie to watch this year leading the Redskins to the win

 

San Francisco 49ers 30 – 22 Green Bay Packers
– The Packers and niners came into week 1 as two of the best teams in the NFL and the Niners proved that they were better as they shut down the usually potent Packer offence while showing that their offence is better in 2012

 

Denver Broncos 31 – 19 Pittsburgh Steelers
– In Peyton Manning’s first game back from a neck injury that kept him out of the NFL in 2011 and his first game in a new city he proved that he is still one of the best leading the Broncos past the great defence of the Steelers

 

Next Week:
Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers (September 13th; 8:20 pm EDT)
– The oldest rivalry in the NFL gets underway again to kickoff Thursday Night Football as the Packers are looking to recover from a less than stellar performance in week 1 while the Bears are looking to prove that they are the new team to beat in the NFC North

 

Washington Redskins vs. St. Louis Rams (September 16th; 4:05 pm EDT)
– Robert Griffin takes his show to St. Louis where he looks to continue to be the best rookie in the NFL against a team that may struggle to stop him despite their close finish in week 1 that showed they are a better team

 

Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers (September 16th; 8:30 pm EDT)
– Last year these two met up in what can be known as Handshake gate but this year both teams are just looking to move away from that and pick up their second win on the season in what could be the best matchup of the week

 

Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons (September 17th; 8:30 pm EDT)
– Peyton Manning takes his arm and his new team to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to take on the explosive offence of Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons as Manning looks to show once again that he is back and better than ever on Monday Night

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