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NFL Officiating In The Spotlight

Mill Woods

Posted on October 4, 2019 13:37

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Now that so many NFL teams are evenly matched, a call or two by the officials can mean the difference between a win and a loss. Thursday Night, the Seahawks got a crucial call and ended up winning an important game. The fact that the Rams could have won with a late field goal is not as important to me. NFL officials have got to get calls right — or be fired.

When the Rams beat the Saints last January, I made the point that — when it comes to criticizing bad officiating — the outcome of the game (and what transpired after the call) is not important.  Fans everywhere need to push for officials achieving fewer bad calls (and not make excuses for the refs.)  Personally, I would like to see refs evaluated very quickly — and fired when they make too many bad calls.  

When calls involve possible injuries to players, the stakes go even higher, and I applaud the NFL for trying to avoid unnecessary injuries, but they are inconsistent.  I like hard hits when they're clean (like Rams LB Clay Matthews' was), but I hate dirty hits, especially when they result in injury.  Raiders LB Vontaze Burfict, for example, was suspended for the season.  I hope this repeat offender retires.  But refs must be smart as well, because some players will earn Oscars for their acting in trying to get officials to drop flags.  In short, refs must penalize real infractions and pick up flags when the infraction was not there or not real.

So, let's discuss a couple of recent examples - one where the penalty was unwarranted, one where the penally was actually not strong enough.

If you missed Thursday Night's NFL cliffhanger, sorry for you, but it was one for the books.  However, the outcome was marred by . . . (ugh) officiating.  The roughing-the-passer penalty against Matthews (on the Seahawks' final scoring drive, no less) was ridiculous to the extreme — and what's really bad is that the refs had time to pick up the flag — and didn't (even after a consultation).

In my view, that call was nothing but a "hometown call": some refs (not all) seem to make calls to please the home crowd and/or favor their stars — and unfortunately, I am seeing too many hometown calls these days. 

On the other hand, it seems some teams (and/or some players) don't get the benefit of hometown calls.  The Patriots player who made an extremely dirty hit (intentional) on Bills QB Josh Allen should have been instantly ejected, but wasn't — again, despite a consultation among the refs. 

Had Allen continued playing that game, I think the Bills would have won.  I am not being biased here, because my picks Sunday actually benefited from the Patriots winning.  And, as I pointed out before, who won or lost was not the major point anyway.

Now, this doesn't mean I will change my views on the Patriots overall - the player involved is the responsible party.  The bottom line for me is this: dirty hits that result in injury should draw a penalty, PLUS ejection, PLUS a fine, PLUS a suspension.

Whether you're a fan of the Patriots, Seahawks or any other team, every NFL fan should be (even more so) "a fan" of fair officiating.  You should want your team to win — but only with fair officiating.  

If fair play is your main goal, it's really not that complicated.

 

 



Mill Woods

Posted on October 4, 2019 13:37

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Source: USA TODAY
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