Whether or not Whistlegate is going to pick up steam around the NFL remains to be seen. The Titans accused the Saints of cheating by blowing a whistle on the sidelines, and a producer from “Titans All Access” claims to have the audio. As we told you earlier, Sean Payton has his sarcastic theories on what may have happened. Being able to hear a whistle on an audio track wouldn’t exactly pinpoint who was blowing it, but it will be interesting to see what the NFL makes of the situation — if anything. This morning, Del joined the Denny Schaffer Show on 99.5 WRNO in New Orleans to discuss it. Here’s LBS on the air during the first 8 minutes of the fourth hour:
Sean Payton knew he wouldn’t get through his Monday press conference without having to answer questions about the alleged whistle-blowing activity that took place during the Saints win over the Titans. That’s why he decided to come prepared. Payton came up with three theories as to what may have happened that resulted in the whistle sound on Sunday, and he offered them up as soon as a reporter asked. Here is a video of his explanation that the Times-Picayune shared with us:
We commend Payton for having a sense of humor about the whole thing, but the explanation could open his team up for more criticism. His theory about a high school game going on next door would seem to imply that he heard the whistle. His joke about Whistle Monster is hilarious, but why didn’t Payton deny the allegation? Chances are, he just wanted to let the public know how ridiculous he thinks the claims are. That being said, it would have been very easy for him to say that he would never allow something like that to happen on his sideline and has no knowledge of anyone using a whistle. We would still be surprised if Whistlegate doesn’t blow over in a jiffy.
If everything the Titans are saying about their 22-17 loss to the Saints is true, New Orleans was not exactly playing nicely. Earlier, we told you how receiver Nate Washington accused Roman Harper of being a dirty player for grabbing him by the facemask and then doing this. The second accusation is a bit more severe; Tennessee is saying a whistle was being blown from the New Orleans bench area late in the game.
Offensive lineman Jake Scott claims Dean McCondichie, the producer of the team’s television show “Titans All Access,” has evidence that it was indeed happening while the Titans were on offense.
“Dean’s got it on tape,” Scott said according to ESPN.com. “Somebody was blowing a whistle on the sideline. There is audio of it, so we’ll let it go from there. The second to last drive I think.”
“During the game we heard this whistle blowing, but they weren’t stopping the game, they just kept playing,” McCondichie explained. “They were loud enough for me to hear it on the microphone on (offensive lineman Michael Roos). They were all trying to figure out why play continued. I asked them if they knew where it came from and they said the New Orleans bench. Nobody saw it, but it was pretty loud and it was definitely a whistle.”
McCondichie said the whistle was definitely loud enough for several Titans players to hear it. The team is looking into the matter, and obviously the Saints would be facing huge penalties if the league were to determine that something like that was going on. For what it’s worth, Sean Payton and Bill Belichick are close friends.
Mental lapses and typing errors can happen in the television world. We aren’t the only ones who screw up writing something from time to time, and we’re well aware of that. That being said, there are mistakes that are harmless and then there are those that can do serious damage. For a split second on Sunday, St. Louis Rams fans in the Nashville area may have thought they were witnessing a miracle. Had some sort of divine intervention relieved them of the sufferings of having one of the worst teams in football and given them Drew Brees and the Saints? Check out this picture that Darren Rovell shared with us:
For those of you who still don’t understand what’s going on here, the Saints are not from St. Louis. They’re from Louisiana where the fans are some of the best in the country and don’t need a video to teach them how to cheer. Sorry, St. Louis. Sam Bradford is still potentially a massive bust and your team is still 2-10. Not only that, but there is actually a good team in your division now. Simply put, 2011 has not been a good year.
Randy Moss decided to retire from the NFL after not receiving an offer of interest during the offseason. We said there was no way he was retiring, particularly because it wasn’t on his terms. A recent report said Moss would want to return to the Patriots. On Saturday, WWL-TV in New Orleans reported that Moss was at the team’s facility.
Pro Football Talk called the report “erroneous,” saying that if Moss visited the facility he did so without the team contacting agent Joel Segal. Jason La Canfora of NFL Network added that “there is nothing cooking” between the two sides.
Regardless of whether or not Moss was at the Saints’ facility, it’s pretty obvious that Randy wants to play this year. The Patriots don’t seem to be interested in him, but with Marques Colston out four weeks with a broken collarbone, and Lance Moore day-to-day with a groin injury, it makes sense for the Saints to consider all options. I don’t view Moss as a Pro Bowl receiver anymore, but he still is a good deep threat. It probably would be a good idea for New Orleans to at least work him out.
The earth must be off its axis or something. I assume those of you who have been keeping track of the Sunday early games are as dumbfounded as I am. As we already told you when we posted our NFL picks here at LBS, there’s just no easy way to pick against the spread so far this year. Come to think of it, picking straight up is no picnic at the moment either.
If you took the Browns +13 against the Saints and the Bills +13 against the Ravens, good for you. At the half of both games it looks like you made better picks than I did. But if you try to tell me you expected New Orleans to be trailing Cleveland, 20-3, at the half and Baltimore to be behind Buffalo, 24-20 — both at home — then I know you’re just lying through your teeth.
Yet somehow that’s what’s going on at the moment. I just spoke to a wise 89-year-old football expert (who I refer to as my grandfather during the work week), and even he said he can’t remember a year where there was less of a clear-cut favorite in both the AFC and NFC. Yes, he’s still all there. Who are the powerhouses? Who are the Super Bowl favorites? Right now the answer to those questions looks like a simple “nobody.” If these games continue the way they’re going, wish us luck putting together the power rankings on Tuesday.
Even though we’re still more than three months from the kickoff of the upcoming NFL season, it’s never too early to start talking trash. The Saints and Vikings will open the season on Sept. 9th in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game and are already trading barbs. Why is that the case? Because Mr. I won’t retire til I’m 60 years old, Brett Favre, has decided to get the ankle surgery that doctors told him he would need if he wanted to play football again. Apparently the Saints plan to take full advantage of Favre’s repaired ankle — Saints safetey Darren Sharper said that “X marks the spot” in terms of the QB’s ankle. Ouch. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
Sharper’s comments angered Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and that led to him firing back to Sharper in these comments to the media on Thursday:
“Sharper had surgery, too. And it was the knee.” So if ‘X’ marks the spot on Brett, I wonder what would mark the spot on Sharper? I know which one it is. I know exactly which one it is.”