Time for a few observations about the NFL gleaned from spending 10 hours in front of the TV on a non-Bears Sunday:
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Of all the phonies in the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell is the phoniest. The man who heads the league and is entrusted with the welfare of the game, growing the game and marketing the game, has talked incessantly about protecting the integrity of the game.
If you're a fan of the game, however, it has to irritate you to watch replacement officials muck things up again and again. What was once a three-hour game is now 3½ hours or more in some cases, such as Monday night's Falcons-Broncos game. That's because the replacements seemingly can't call an illegal motion penalty without a summit.
If Goodell was truly concerned with the integrity of the game, we wouldn't be watching unqualified officials. I don't know the exact dollar amount that's preventing the completion of a deal with the regular officials, but I do know it's a fraction of 1 percent of the revenue generated by the most successful pro sports league in the world.
Note to Goodell: The NFL achieved that success because it has the best players in the world and, until this year, the best officials. Get a deal done and stop foisting this travesty of inept officiating upon us.
Another offshoot of the inexperienced officials is the incessant trash talking and pushing and shoving after the whistle in every game. Regular officials wouldn't tolerate it, but players are taking advantage of the lack of discipline, and it cheapens the game and the viewing experience.
All five starting rookie quarterbacks clearly outplayed Jay Cutler in Week Two.
The Browns' Brandon Weeden had a passer rating of 114.9, and he was closely followed by the Seahawks' Russell Wilson (112.7), the Colts' Andrew Luck (107.5), the Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill (91.0) and the Redskins' Robert Griffin III (86.3), who had a 139.9 passer rating in his professional debut a week earlier.
Cutler's passer rating vs. the Packers was 28.2, and it's now 58.5 for the season.
Yes, it's only two weeks, but out of 33 quarterbacks with enough attempts to qualify for the league rankings, Cutler ranks No. 31.
And speaking of Cutler, he finally accepted a little responsibility for the Packers' loss and his 4 interceptions Monday afternoon on the "Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN radio.
"Offensively, it starts with me," Cutler said, "so I have to play better."
The early leaders
Forget about the Packers and the Lions, the 49ers and the Falcons look like the class of the NFC.
At this point, it's difficult to imagine the Bears competing with either team.
Both teams are capable of winning with offense, defense or special teams, and both are capable of moving the ball on the ground or through the air. But the Falcons could suffer some fallout from running back Michael Turner's DUI arrest early Tuesday morning.
The Bears play the 49ers in San Francisco on Monday night, Nov. 19, their fifth prime time game in the first 10.
Rams looking better:
While beating the Redskins 31-28 in Week Two, the Rams did not look like a team that was 2-14 last season, so Sunday's game at Soldier Field could be more challenging than it appeared when the schedule came out last spring.
Former Bears defensive back Jeff Fisher has the Rams looking much improved, at least on offense.
Quarterback Sam Bradford's 112.4 passer rating is third best in the NFL, trailing only the Falcons' Matt Ryan (117.6) and the 49ers' Alex Smith (115.9). The offense piled up 452 total yards, even after Fisher benched franchise running back Steven Jackson for most of the game after a silly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty cost his team 15 yards.