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News » Sundays of our Lives: Week 15

Sundays of our Lives: Week 15

Sundays of our Lives: Week 15
Will no industry emerge unscathed from this recession?

The announcement that the NFL would be cutting 150 jobs made it clear that no business -- no matter how well run -- is impervious to this economic downturn.

With that in mind, here are some cost-cutting suggestions for the league, its teams and NFL-related employers. These are the budget-conscious Sundays of Our Lives.

Official Standards

NFL Week 15

Week 15 action

    Bears 27, Saints 24 -- Recap | Box
    Bucs-Falcons -- Preview | Notes
    Redskins-Bengals -- Preview | Notes
    Titans-Texans -- Preview | Notes
    Lions-Colts -- Preview | Notes
    Packers-Jaguars -- Preview | Notes
    Chargers-Chiefs -- Preview | Notes
    49ers-Dolphins -- Preview | Notes
    Bills-Jets -- Preview | Notes
    Seahawks-Rams -- Preview | Notes
    Vikings-Cardinals -- Preview | Notes
    Steelers-Ravens -- Preview | Notes
    Broncos-Panthers -- Preview | Notes
    Patriots-Raiders -- Preview | Notes
    Giants-Cowboys -- Preview | Notes
    Browns-Eagles -- Preview | Notes


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  • Online OT: Complete NFL coverage


  • Week 14's best shots
  • Schein: MVP candidates

From now on if an official's call costs a team the game he should not be receiving his paycheck.

Ed Hochuli's blown call in Week 2 seemed to set the tone for the Chargers' accursed season. But at least they've won five games. Field judge Mike Weir's bogus pass interference call cost the Lions their Week 6 game against the Vikings and those poor schlubs are going to go 0-16.

Swinging the outcome from one team to the other is pretty much the opposite of doing your job as an official and merits being docked a game check. A carpenter shouldn't expect to be paid for his impressive finish work if he burns down the house on his last day on the job.

Pay to Play

From now until the economy brightens, NFL players should only be paid when they try. Sure, that would mean some empty stockings for the children of Jacksonville Jaguars, but when the old man hasn't broken a sweat in a month, well, the sins of the father are visited upon the young. Rarely do you get a public pronouncement that a team has quit, but that is essentially what Fred Taylor provided last month and he was right on the money. The Jags have lost four straight by an average of 13.5 points a game.

Mercy Rule

Why pay your employees for a whole day's work when the outcome is decided in the first quarter? Take the Thanksgiving Day Massacre as an example. The game was over in three possessions.

By the time the Titans had built a 35-3 second-quarter lead the crowd was filing out of Ford Field, wishing they were in a tryptophan coma (like the Lions appeared to be).

This would also save coaches like Jeff Fisher from the awkward choice of which is running it up more, going for it on fourth down or kicking field goals? Fisher opted for the FGs, sending Rod Bironas out to kick four second-half field goals in the 47-10 rout.

Speaking of kickers ...

52-man Roster

I don't know exactly which jobs they're cutting at NFL headquarters, but they can't be any more unnecessary than kickers.

Kickers have performed themselves into obsolescence. Nobody misses any more. Chip shots, bombs, tweeners. Everybody has a reliable kicker. Even the Lions (whose Jason Hanson is 7-for-7 beyond 50 and 13-for-13 beyond 40) have an excellent kicker.

Mike Vanderjagt holds the NFL record for career accuracy at 86.47 percent. This season 17 kickers are knocking 'em through at a higher percentage. The league-wide percentage is 83.7. Artis Gilmore holds the NBA record with a 59.9 career field goal percentage. What's happening with kickers this season is the equivalent of the entire NBA shooting 57 percent.

On 50-yard-plus field goal attempts, they are making 66 percent. C'mon.

By eliminating the increasingly ho-hum field goal attempt, teams will be forced to go for it more often on fourth down. This cost-cutting job elimination will save money and lead to a more exciting product.

Belt-tightening at Cowboys Stadium

The plan at $1 billion-plus Dallas Cowboys Stadium is to install 60-foot plasma screens along the facing that separates the seating levels. That's foot. 60-foot screens. In an acknowledgement of tough times, Jerry Jones could scale back to 53-foot screens. Sure, fans might not be able to make out exactly what T.O. is screaming at wide receivers coach Ray Sherman, but we all have to make sacrifices.

Sideline Reporters

Nothing against the awesome folks who do this job, but if we're talking trimming fat, well, Tony Siragusa is a good place to start.

We know it's cold. It's Lambeau.

Once revenues bounce back, the networks can easily reinstate these inane, make-work jobs.

Redskins Go Without a Head Coach

The honeymoon is clearly over for Jim Zorn. So when Daniel Snyder adds Zorn's pelt to his wall, he should cut costs by going without a head coach for a season.

Many of us have wondered what exactly it is a head coach does and this would be a great opportunity to find out if his absence matters. The offensive coordinator calls the plays, the defensive coordinator calls the blitzes, the special teams coach yells. For those few responsibilities that are purely the province of the head coach -- replay challenges and fourth-down decisions -- Snyder could get a knowledgeable fan to volunteer and come out ahead on both scores.

Don't Waste Big Money on a Rookie RB

The first four running backs taken in the 2008 draft -- Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones and Rashard Mendenhall -- have combined for 1,428 rushing yards.

Chris Johnson (24th overall), Matt Forte (44th) and Steve Slaton (89th) have all gone over 1,000 yards and combined for 3,199 yards.

McFadden signed a six-year, $60M deal with $26M guaranteed. Kevin Smith, drafted by the Lions with the first pick of the third round and signed to a three-year, $1.79M deal, is one of five rookie running backs that have outgained McFadden. A sixth, Tim Hightower (5th round), has scored 10 touchdowns.

And while McFadden and Jones have showed flashes of brilliance worthy of first-rounders, their fellow Razorback (and former blocker) Peyton Hillis (7th round) was a much better bargain, averaging five yards a carry and scoring five touchdowns for the Broncos before getting hurt.


Every spring as the English Premier League soccer season is winding down, there are two races being followed feverishly: the battle for the top spot and the mad scramble to stay out of the bottom three.

The teams with the three worst records in the league are essentially sent down to the minors, replaced by the three best teams in the highest minor league. The fight for 17th place -- teams 18, 19 and 20 get relegated -- is sometimes followed more closely than the race for the crown.

You want to create some excitement (and paying customers) for the Bengals (1-11-1), Rams (2-11), Seahawks (2-11) and Chiefs (2-11) remaining three games, just have two of them joining the Lions in the Arena League next year.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 12, 2008

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