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PREVIOUS SPORTS
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
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• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
SPORTS

SIDELINE
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Gramatical Error
October 7, 2008

Stick a fork in Martin Gramatica — he's done.

When this month's cover star on The American magazine, Reggie Bush, took over the game in the second half of Monday Night Football, it looked for all the world like today's blog was going to start "Stick A Fork In ...The Minnesota Vikings". Momentum seemed to be wearing black and gold. Not since Dennis Miller and friends wrote off Vinny's Jets had an MNF commentator sounded as perplexed as Tony Kornheiser when the final seconds ticked off and Minnesota had eked out a unlikely 30–27 victory.

Unlikely. Unexpected. Perhaps unearned.

Adrian Peterson went nowhere, but the Viking scored 30 points. The Vikings defense gave up 320 yards passing, but yielded only 10 offensive points. Reggie Bush had 269 combined yards, including 2 long touchdown returns, and yet he — along with Gramatica — was inconsolable.

Saints DT Sedrick Ellis at least appeared to be consoling Gramatica at the end. Of course, he might have been giving him advice about the fastest and safest route out of town. Gramatica did NOT have a good night.

In his second go–round in the league after an injury–halted first career in Tampa Bay, the kicker has never quite looked the kicker he once was. When the Saints lined up their first field goal attempt of the evening, a 46 yard effort Gramatica might once have been relied upon to make, it required a line–drive that was blocked and returned by Antoine Winfield. 10–0 became 7–7 instead. With two minutes left in the game, Gramatica was wide left from 46 yards, setting up the Vikings winning drive.

Gramatica's misses overshadowed the 53 yard field goal he did make. Fortunately for referee Ed Hochuli, it also overshadowed some more questionable calls by his crew, including a possible Adrian Peterson fumble that was deemed not to be, and a Reggie Bush fumble which was — although only after the men in stripes failed to observe a helmet–twisting facemask grab that might have played a part in Bush losing his grip.

Gramatica and Hochuli may be scapegoats rather than goats after the Saints fumbled three times and were intercepted twice, but the chance of either being busy come the postseason is looking remote. For the Argentinian kicker, just being around for this month's flight to England isn't certain. Gramatica's selling point used to be 'the little guy with the big leg'. Two weeks ago, he missed a 43–yarder at the 2–minute mark in a loss to Denver. The Saints could have been 4–1 at this point.

In the unpredictable world of the NFL, no team is 'done' at 2–3, but for the London–bound Saints and Chargers, the prospect of both coming to London with losing records is very real. If the Saints find themselves thousands of miles from home, in the rain, relying on the foot of Gramatica, the bye week that follows could be bye–bye week for Martin.

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