Pete Carroll

This Weekend in NFL Stupid highlights the dumbest moments and decisions in football throughout the season. And in Week 15, we start with several plays that have been generated plenty of buzz over the last 36 hours.

The NFL’s two most ridiculous rules

Look, that catch by Jesse James was not a reception. The officials got it right. And that fumble by Derek Carr was rightly ruled a touchback. The rules were applied properly in both situations, but both served as reminders yet again that the rules aren’t fair.

Far too many touchdown catches that look like obvious touchdown catches are ruled incomplete, and fumbling into the end zone is far too punitive for the fumbling team when nobody recovered said fumble.

My money is on the NFL changing the latter rule in the very near future, since it has been a factor so many times this year and since it is so easy to fix. The offense should, of course, retain the ball if the fumble isn’t recovered, but they should be penalized 10 or 15 yards. That’s a happy medium, because it wouldn’t be right to let them keep it at the spot of the fumble, but it also isn’t right to take possession away from them.

The catch rule is trickier, but I think the key is the standard for completing a catch when going to the ground is simply too high. If the ball is fully possessed without any movement for a split-second by the receiver, it should be a catch. Anything beyond that is a fumble. That would increase offense, seem a lot more fair and make for some damn exciting plays when fumbles replace incomplete passes.

About that folded index card

Spotting the football is a comically inexact science. Thus, measuring a spot to the nearest millimeter with a folded piece of paper is problematic. A fine-tooth comb shouldn’t be used to double-check an estimate.

Just like Major League Baseball should no longer be relying on the deeply flawed human eye to determine balls and strikes, the NFL should no longer be relying on such an archaic system to spot the ball. We have lasers and microchips, guys!

And the play that followed the James non-catch in Pittsburgh

Ben Roethlisberger’s original plan was to spike the ball, but it was third down so that would have virtually guaranteed that the Steelers would have been forced to settle for overtime. Against a team like the Patriots, I can appreciate why the coaching staff decided to try to win the game right then and there by running one final pass to the end zone with about 10 seconds remaining.

The problem is that the offense wasn’t ready. The play call took them all by surprise, and Eli Rogers was the only player who ran a route. Dudes were just standing around.

Mike Tomlin should have had his players prepared to run a quick play if indeed the clock continued to run after the second-down play, which it did. But he didn’t and the result was a disastrous, game-clinching interception in the end zone.

What the hell was Pete Carroll thinking?

Your franchise quarterback, Russell Wilson, has been assaulted all season, sacked all afternoon. You’re trailing by 35 points with just five minutes remaining. Your opponent has sat all of its starters down. And for some crazy-ass reason, Wilson remains in the game.

How unbelievably myopic.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.