Did Polian’s badgering of officials cost Pack? | NevadaAppeal.com
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Did Polian’s badgering of officials cost Pack?

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Brian Polian likely cost his Nevada Wolf Pack football team a chance at a victory last Saturday night. Oh, he’ll never admit it. But Polian has to know down deep his constant badgering of the officials played at least a small part in three penalties called on the Pack on their final drive in the 31-24 loss to Colorado State. The three penalties were ridiculous. But it was obvious the officials were looking for something, even if they had to invent it, to keep the Pack from tying the game. That something had to be Polian. You don’t get three calls like that whistled on the home team on a game-deciding drive unless the home team’s head coach has driven the officials crazy the entire game.

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Make no mistake, Polian’s passion during a game should be applauded. He runs up and down the sidelines like a bulldog frantically searching for a bone, yelling and barking at officials while his players and assistant coaches go about the business of actually winning the game. Most of the time Polian is the most interesting part of a Wolf Pack football game. But, hopefully, Saturday night was a learning experience for him. He has to pick his spots better with officials. With less than two seasons of head coaching experience Polian has to understand he simply hasn’t earned the right to constantly badger the officials. When you get calls like the three that went against you last Saturday night in your own stadium, well, that’s the football Gods waving a red flag in your face you need to change your behavior.

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Polian’s penchant for arguing with officials is in his blood. His father Bill, once a powerful member of the NFL’s competition committee, was famous for complaining about the officials. He still makes a living doing that on ESPN. Bill Polian was always looking for ways to change, bend and circumvent the rules to help his organization. There was a rumor the even used to pipe in loud music into the Indianapolis Colts RCA Dome when the other team’s offense (usually Tom Brady and the New England Patriots) was on the field and he also used to tamper with the thermostat in the building. Son Brian, it seemed, learned from the master. Manipulating the officials and everything outside the actual Xs and Os of the game is what Polians do.

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How do you explain the Kansas City Royals? It’s a team void of superstars and household names. They only score just enough runs to win. Their starting pitchers only have to go six innings before the greatest bullpen in the history of the sport starts throwing 100 mile an hour fastballs and blows everybody away. They catch every line drive. The only Kansas City Royal player (George Brett) anyone outside of western Missouri and eastern Kansas can name is now an old man sitting up in a suite looking like a Little League dad living and dying on every pitch.

The Royals might be the first team since the 1976 Cincinnati Reds to go through an entire major league postseason without a loss. And the Reds only had to win seven games. The Royals will have to win a major league record 12 postseason games. Don’t bet against them.

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How bad is Mountain West football this season? Well, it seems to get worse with each and every week. The Wolf Pack just lost two heartbreaking Mountain West games at home and it wouldn’t stun anybody if the Pack is in the league championship game on Dec. 6. The Pack’s only real competition in the West Division is Fresno State and San Diego State and, well, Fresno just lost to UNLV and San Diego State lost to Fresno. Anybody in the Mountain West can lose to any team in the Mountain West. That’s how bad it is. But, hey, the games sure are fun to watch. It’s Arena League football without the hockey boards down the sideline.

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Brian Polian insists the Wolf Pack football program is progressing. We’re not so sure. The types of losses we’ve seen the last two weeks have been awfully familiar. The Pack gets down big, stages a furious comeback and falls just short. Tell me if you’ve heard that one before. You have. It was pretty much Chris Ault’s entire career in every big game he coached with a few exceptions (see Chris Vargas’ miracle comebacks and Colin Kaepernick’s senior year). We’ll know the Pack is showing true progression when they start to win all of the games they are supposed to win — like their last five Mountain West games this year.