Apparently, there was enough outrage building from the last few week’s games and then climaxing on Monday nights debacle which prompted NFL Commish Roger Goodell and the owners to come to terms with the regular officials this past Wednesday night. Both sides announced an eight-year agreement going through the 2019 season. With the last topic agreed on, pensions and benefits, the settlement also included an agreement for the league to gradually increase contributions to the official’s retirement plan, as well as a pay increase.
The controversy won’t end that easily as there have been several games decided on bad calls. Starting with opening weekend and carrying on this past Monday, several teams are in the process of digging themselves out of a hole that may have been decided for them.
Let’s look at the granddaddy of them all with this past MNF game between the Seahawks and the Pack. On the final play of the game, Seattle receiver Golden Tate pushed one Green Bay defensive back to the ground and then was miraculously rewarded with a touchdown for pretending he simultaneously caught the pass another Green Bay defender clearly intercepted. As the two players fight for control of the ball, one official waived an interception as the other signaled touchdown. The game did go to further review with Seattle coming out on top. Former NFL coach Jon Gruden, calling the game on television and watching one official indicate the stoppage of play while another signaled touchdown, called it “tragic” and “comical.” “It was the worst act of officiating in the history of the game.”
Oakland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was released from the hospital a day after being knocked out by a helmet-to-helmet hit that went uncalled.
The NFL fined Broncos coach John Fox $30,000 and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $25,000 on Monday for arguing with replacement officials a week ago. ”There is a longstanding NFL rule prohibiting verbal or physical abuse of game officials,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said. Anderson also said he is reviewing the conduct of Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the Ravens’ John Harbaugh in last Sunday night’s New England-Baltimore game.
What the heck was the league office thinking? This is a mulit-billion dollar league with some of the top television contracts in history. To bring in high school and lower level college refs to call and potentially decided outcomes was an insult to the game. In a text from HOFamer Troy Aikmen, he said “These games are a joke!” The integrity of the game has now been compromised.
Of all the bad calls, no calls, late calls, replay overturns and referee brain farts in decision making, the replacement refs are an extension of a problem, but they’re not to blame. They’re in over their heads. These are Arena League, low-level college and high school officials trying to get this right. It’s not the incompetent officials’ fault they can’t do the job. It’s Goodell’s fault he gave them the job in the first place. I would hold the front office and Roger Goodell responsible.
Drew Brees was quoted a saying,” A disservice to the game. A lack of consistency with what’s getting called and not called.” He went on to say how it’s a “Great Hyprocacy” referring to how the league has tightened its grip on player safety and then let’s these yahoos deem what’s a safe play and what is not.
USA Today reported on Tuesday that one of the officials refereeing is a longtime Southern California high school and junior college official. They said he attended the Stars and Stripes Academy for Football Officials in Salt Lake City, Utah, over the summer, and that the staff determined he wasn’t ready to officiate Division I college football games. The guy reportedly has never refereed college football games higher than the Division III level, but is ready to call NFL games!
It was a refreshing site to see a standing ovation for the officials as they entered the field for the Ravens and Browns game this past Thursday night. I guess we can expect to see that continue this Sunday as well. However short lived the fans show appreciation to the officials, we’ll take it.
Ok, are we done? Is there any other controversy we need to address or can we resume the season now?