Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The NFL goes WWE...AGAIN!

Ramblings Post #200
After writing all this in a burst of fury after the game, then letting it sit for few minutes, well for a few hours....I downloaded a .gif of the play - and watched it through maybe fifty times. Got a couple of screen grabs. Blew them up, ran them through some filters to clear them up. Read the NFL Rule book. Checked a few message boards, got some insight. I can see why the replay officials might have an issue overturning it. Might. Because as I understand it, once simultaneous catch is ruled on the field that the replay officials aren't looking at that, but only if there was enough evidence to overturn the touchdown call made. But then that speaks to something else.

Man those folks at ZipMeme are fast! Game wasn't over five minutes when this popped up

You have got to be kidding me. Now, I like the rest of the nation watched as the NFL started this season with work stoppage - the refs. Nobody ever really likes the refs, we tolerate them, but we gain a grudging respect for them over time. Occasionally you would see one you recognize and realize, much like a boxing fan seeing Mills Lane in the ring, that even if you didn't like the calls you knew that it would be fair.

We never really knew how much we would miss them until they were gone.

A travesty of officiating has taken place over the past few weeks. The replacement refs, made up of not second string (people hoping to be NFL refs after the labor strife, so they bowed out) but of third string penalty callers have wreaked havoc with the game. Ten minute delays as they sort through things. Mystery penalties. Extra challenges awarded to one team. Although the league would claim that the outcome of no game had been affected. 

Really? You give someone two extra challenges and the outcome wasn't affected? A non-call becomes a call and a drive stays alive - doesn't affect a game? A twenty seven yard penalty for unnecessary roughness from the wrong spot on the field - doesn't affect a game? The replacement refs aren't affecting a game?  A you kidding me? Okay, maybe. I mean, I've only watched the game since I was a kid...I obviously have no clue! Whatever.

But then Monday night came. And the whereas a stout Seahawks team played an incredible game they should have lost to the Packers. Trailing by five, in a last second heave, the Hail Mary was sent. And aside from the missed obvious offensive pass interference call (shoving a defender in the back), the offensive receiver may have never actually had possession of the ball. I watched Golden Tate's right hand come in after the defender had two hands on the pigskin over and over again (via downloaded .gif). At best he's wrapping his arm around the ball pinned against the defender's chest.

The two officials giving opposing signals as they both stood three feet from the pile should have been the first clue this was about to go wrong. But all scoring calls are reviewed, so we're good.  But, as it turns out, the replay officials - who are the REAL REPLAY OFFICIALS, not replacements - can ONLY review the play AS CALLED. They can't tell the refs on the field  "hey, you should have called this," they can only review if there is enough evidence to overturn the call that has been made.  And the call on the field was touchdown.

The call was so bad that no reporter on Sportscenter, not one of at least 10 people, was willing to even defend it, not even to play devil's advocate. You could actually see the self control on the faces of the Packer players as they were interviewed about it. FB and Twitter got downright profane. My favorite tweet, a fake quote from WWE chairman Vince McMahon: "Even I know that was an interception."      

I compared this is the world of Wrestling for a reason. At least in the WWE, you expect bad officating. For the ref to get "distracted" by a heel. Or to get knocked and wake up just in time. It's part of the show, part of the story.  But pure sport, basketball, baseball and especially the NFL, is supposed to be above this sort of tomfoolery. 

Somebody call the White House. Obama needs to straighten this out.

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