As the football seasons unfolds, I can’t help but think that NFL fans suffer from amnesia. Tebow’ing was sooooo last year, this years hot new thing is piling on the replacement officials. Any Given Sunday you can routinely see facebook posts or twitter feeds of fans exploding with comments expressing their disdain for the refs and their lack of any sort of basic football knowledge. (Because the everyday NFL fan is just a cornucopia of football knowledge)
Now don’t get me wrong, the replacement refs are bad. They’ve made some suspect calls and the end of the Green Bay/Seattle game was an absolute gong show. My issue is the fact that we seem to forget that before this season, calls by NFL officials often changed the outcome of a games… this is nothing new. You know how many missed holding calls I’ve seen over the course of my career as a fan? How many times there’s been phantom pass interference calls or better yet no pass interference called at all?? Or how about some of the brutal roughing the passer calls??
There are two things you can get mad at these refs for:
1) The speed of calls… they take to long to make a decision.
2) Not knowing the exact letter of the law… most of these refs understand a portion of the rule or a version of it, just not the NFL’s layered version.
Others will say they’re letting fans, coaches, and player intimidate them. But last time I checked they’re making judgment calls… in a stadium full of 60,000 screaming fans… while 250 pound men yell at them… for the first time ever… How are they not supposed to be intimidated?? These guys have been officiating at this level for 2 months, the regular officials have/had been doing it for a couple of years… (And they still make mistakes)
This football season is almost a perfect metaphor for how our society works… Sure Obama isn’t as great as we thought he’d be, and he didn’t bring nearly as much “change” as we’d hoped but some people seem to forget who had the job before he did. (I’ll give you a second to think back… … … There it is, the dots just got connected)
Here are 3 calls that regular refs got wrong…
1) Calvin Johnson caught a touchdown pass in the end-zone against the Bears in 2010. He went to the ground with the ball, and then got up in jubilant celebration while letting go of the ball. It was a last second pass from Shaun Hill and it would have won the game for the Lions. The real refs called it incomplete… but hey, they never impact the outcome of a games.
2) Super Bowl XL – Steelers v. Seahawks… A ticky-tack offensive pass interference in the end-zone, a Pittsburgh touchdown that clearly should have been ruled down at the one yard line, a missed offside, and you can crown the Steelers Super Bowl champs. I remember that game and it was a joke… but if you don’t…
3) In 2006 the Bengals Justin Smith sacked Tampa Bay QB Bruce Gradkowski for a loss of eight yards on what seems to be a routine play, but the officials called roughing the passer. This gave Tampa Bay the ball on the Bengals 25 yard line with less than 3 minutes on the clock in a 13 – 7 game in favor of the Bengals. Tampa Bay scores a TD and won the game.
In closing we really need to direct our anger at the real problem, the regular officials and the NFL can’t agree on a contract. From what I understand the regular officials are fighting against instituting more crews, making a small portion of the officials full-time so they can train other refs and hold clinics, a change in salary scale, and revamped pensions system.
I’ve already rambled on for to long, so I encourage you to do some research on the topic yourself before picking a side. Having said that I could use a part-time job that pays me $150K and pension…