RUSH: Yesterday on this program I mentioned that something curious had happened in the NFL Monday night game against the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. The original report was it looks like, now, may be a very clever, quasi-practical joke played out by the Tennessee coach, Jeff Fisher. Apparently — apparently — ESPN, according to the Fisher said (paraphrased exchange), ‘You know, ESPN’s got a couple of timeouts they haven’t used, and a couple commercials. You need to call a couple timeouts here in the last two minutes so that ESPN can get its commercials in.’ This is what Fisher said at the post-game press conference because he was asked, ‘Why were you still running plays out there?’ Fisher said, ‘I wanted to take a knee but Jack used his time-outs,’ the coach Jacksonville Jaguars, Jack Del Rio.
‘Jack used his timeouts. So I wanted to take a knee, I wanted the game to end, but he’s going to take timeouts, okay. I’ll run plays. I’ll get the ball to Chris Johnson. I’ll run up some yards.’ So they said, ‘Wait a minute. You mean ESPN went to both you coaches and asked you to call timeouts in the last two minutes when you otherwise wouldn’t have just so they’d get commercials?’ And Fisher said, ‘Weeeeell, no, it wasn’t exactly that way.’ The next day, Fisher explained it. ‘At the two-minute warning in every game in the fourth quarter, there are conversations that go by. There’s conversations that take place at the two-minute warning before the first half. But there’s conversations that take place, and it’s the official’s responsibility to give the head coach a status of commercials and TV timeouts,’ so that the coach will know how many TV timeouts there are remaining because calling his own timeouts in the last two minutes to try to eke out a victory, sometimes, are crucial.
Then Fisher said, ‘Yesterday,’ meaning Monday night, ‘I was told that they were two short.’ ESPN was two TV timeouts short. ‘And they looked at me and smiled, and I said, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you.” The game official ‘Mike Carey came across and said, ‘Here’s the deal. We’re two [spot breaks] short.’ And I said, ‘Mike, I can’t help you. I’m trying to get a first down and I’m gonna kneel on it” and I’m gonna run the clock out. So apparently Carey then went over to Del Rio and said (paraphrased), ‘Jack, we’re a couple short here,’ and apparently Del Rio said, ‘Okay,’ and called a couple timeouts to help the League, to help ESPN. And Fisher said, ‘Okay, fine. If he’s gonna call timeouts… Jack used his timeouts. So I’ll run Chris Johnson, I’ll try to get some more…’ Well, he didn’t say this, folks, but there’s fantasy football in this, too. I guarantee you, there’s fantasy football considerations in here, getting the running back some yards.
Nobody’s gonna ever admit this; don’t ever quote me on it. I’m just telling you: Fantasy football is in this mix as much as it is ESPN getting their full commercial breaks. [ProFootballTalk.com] ‘After the game, Fisher seemed to be in on a private joke when he talked about the timeouts.’ At ProFootballTalk, the website, they write: ‘We suspect Fisher may have been having a wee bit of fun at Del Rio’s expense. We’ve heard from folks who think the Titans were rubbing it in by re-inserting Johnson into the game, but Fisher insists he just wanted the game to end,’ and Del Rio didn’t let the game end ’cause he called the timeouts and so since the opposing coach called the timeouts, I assume, Fisher said, ‘I’m going to go ahead and try to score then.’ I mean., it was a blowout. It was 28 or 33 to 3. The Jaguars had no prayer here. This is crucial.
There’s no reason to call timeouts. Unless… There’s another possibility. They were using a brand-new, second string quarterback, Trent Edwards, who they recently got from the Buffalo ‘Bulls,’ and give him some reps. Call timeout, get your new quarterback some reps in the system, let him call some plays. It coulda been to work here, too, but most coaches are not gonna risk injury. The game’s over, 33-3 in the last two minutes. There’s nothing that can happen here. The only thing go wrong is something bad. You don’t want an injury at the end of this, but the League comes to you, the ref comes to you, ‘Hey, we’re a couple timeouts short.’ Del Rio says, ‘Okay,’ after Fisher said, ‘Screw you, I’m taking the knee.’ Well, he didn’t say ‘screw you.’ I don’t want misquote him. He said, ‘Sorry, Mike, I can’t help you. I’m gonna get a first down and take a knee,’ meaning run the clock out. Del Rio (laughing) says, ‘Okay, you need a couple of timeouts, I’ll call ’em,’ which allowed Fisher to put his running back back in the game and rack up some more yards.
Here’s Fisher: ‘Jack used his timeouts. Whether Jack used his timeouts because the official said we’re two commercials short, or he used them to stop the clock to get his quarterback (Trent Edwards) some reps remains to be seen,’ Fisher said. ‘My feeling is I had no issue with him using the timeouts. I completely understand. You’ve got a backup quarterback in that’s been there for what, two weeks, and he wants to get him some reps. So I completely understand it, even though the game was out of reach.’ So (paraphrased): ‘If Jack used his timeouts, fine. I’m totally innocent here.’ ‘Why are you running up the score? Why are you putting Chris Johnson back in?’ ‘Well, I was trying to run the game clock out but the other guy called the timeouts. ‘So the original story was ESPN asserting control over the game, which isn’t supposed to happen. Even though they’re the big rights holder, even though they pay a billion dollars a year they are not supposed to get in the way of the integrity of the game.
There are television timeouts and the coaches know when those timeouts are going to happen and, if you’ve studied the game, you know when they’re going to happen. But if they’re a couple short because the way the game’s worked out sometimes the League at the two-minute warning says, ‘Hey, we’re a couple short.’ Sometimes the coach says, ‘I can’t help you;’ sometimes, I guess, the coach says, ‘I will.’ But the original story was that here’s ESPN — big, bad ESPN — a couple commercial breaks short trying to control the game to get their money back. When that hit, you know, ESPN kinda blew their gasket and said, ‘Most times you’d be right, but in this case you’re wrong.’ So Fisher had to moderate the story a little bit. That’s why people are thinking that Fisher might have been playing a little practical joke on Jack Del Rio. We’ll never really know, but it’s still fascinating stuff. And here is Fisher. This is — ba-da ba-da ba-da da-da-da-da — postgame press conference and a reporter said, ‘The decision not to take a knee after the two-minute mark in the fourth quarter. What’s that all about, Coach?’
FISHER: Jack used his timeouts. My understanding is that we needed some network timeouts. So I think that’s why Jack used his timeouts, and so we — ’cause he came over and asked me to do it and I said, ‘Well, I was hoping to get a first down and kneel on it.’
RUSH: So they asked me to take some timeouts and I said no. I wanted a first down and take a knee. They went to Del Rio and he said okay. In the meantime, Chris Johnson in fantasy football land got some more yards and made some more money for owners that have him, and ESPN got their spots. Therefore what? I just find it fascinating, but I promised yesterday I was gonna talk about it so I figured I better talk about it to fulfill the promise. ‘Jack used his timeouts. Whether Jack used his timeouts because the official said we’re two commercials short, or he used them to stop the clock to get his quarterback (Trent Edwards) some reps remains to be seen,’ Fisher said. ‘My feeling is I had no issue with him using the timeouts. I completely understand. You’ve got a backup quarterback in that’s been there for what, two weeks, and he wants to get him some reps. So I completely understand it, even though the game was out of reach.’ (interruption)
Yes? The official program observer has a question. What? (interruption) No, I don’t think the NFL commissioner would be… (interruption) I don’t think this is gonna approach the commissioner level. No, the broadcast division would deal with this. The commissioner, what they’re focusing now is all these head shots. Folks, I know I don’t care about this, but I do. There is a huge overreaction going on now. This is so, so predictable. You have an anomaly. On one Sunday you had some incredibly vicious, mostly legal (according to the rules) head shots. One of them, maybe two — one certainly questionable, the second one possibly questionable, most of them legal. They were good, tough. But the day before a Rutgers player was paralyzed from the neck down on the same field that the big hit took place on Sunday in the Giants-Lions game, and the media, being who they are, got all holier-than-thou on this.
So the League gets involved in there, says, ‘Okay, we’re going to start enforcing the law of suspensions. We have a rule here suspends people on head-to-head shots in certain circumstances.’ So, predictably, they’ve had an overreaction and people say, ‘Well, it’s better to overreact in this case than underreact.’ The guy that got fined the most, James Harrison of the Steelers (laughing), number 92, had a meeting with Mike Tomlin today, and said, ‘I’m not coming into practice. Hell, I’m thinking of quitting. If they’re going to legislate the way I play the game out of the game, I’m thinking of quitting.’ His agent is saying, ‘He’s serious. He’s serious about retiring.’ Everybody says, ‘Come on, agent! He’s not going to retire. He’d have to give back $6 million of his $10 million prorated bonus. He’s not going to retire. This is all a marketing ploy. It’s all PR-buzz and so forth.’
But Harrison met with the coach, Mike Tomlin, and is not at practice today and it’s not know whether he’ll be there tomorrow. He got fined 75 grand. He had two hits, one on Joshua Cribbs and one on Mohamed Massaquoi for the Cleveland Browns. I forget the last name. They were both head shots. One of them was legal, one of them questionable. Harrison thought they were both legal. He said (paraphrased), ‘That’s the way I’ve been taught to play the game. If I can’t play the game this way, pfft! I’m going home.’ Now, James Harrison also, he’s a character. When the Steelers won the Super Bowl, at one point he refused to go to the White House to meet Obama on the theory: They wouldn’t have invited us if we hadn’t won the Super Bowl, so they really don’t mean it. But he ended up going. But he said (paraphrased), ‘I don’t believe. They don’t care about us. They don’t really mean it. We’re only being invited because we won.’ Anyway, that’s the latest NFL news: James Harrison is said to be a repeat offender and all this. (interruption) I don’t know, Snerdley! I don’t know how these guys vote. I don’t know that they do vote. Doesn’t matter.
RUSH: Look, if the NFL is serious about this helmet-to-helmet stuff, the one thing that can be safely said, these players launching themselves as missiles into other players is not really taught. That’s just instinct, it’s just developed. If they really want to get serious, just teach tackling, you gotta arm tackle somebody, no more hits, no more blowing somebody up. You gotta tackle ’em. You gotta tackle ’em between the numbers and the waist or above the knees, whatever, really tackle them, or Ditka says, get rid of the face mask. There’s a bunch of things you could do here. But the dirty little secret is — I know I overuse that — the League doesn’t want to… I’ll stop there.