It was quite possibly the worst call in the history of sports officiating. It cost a contending team a precious game from a 16 game schedule. Few teams can afford to just give one up for the refs, but that’s just what the Packers were asked to do by the great and powerful OZ…er… I mean, Roger Goodell.
Green Bay Packer Fans, on behalf of football fans everywhere (yes, even Chicago), I feel your pain. You got robbed, and the league won’t even admit that much; sticking by the Replacements no matter how sorry, unprofessional, and inept they are from week to week. I know that the words ‘sorry’ and ‘inept’ mean the same thing in this context, but the officiating really has been worthy of redundancy.
The league announced today that they stand by the bullshot call we all witnessed Monday night in Seattle, claiming Simultaneous Catch as their excuse to get out of this one without admitting culpability. This week, the level of officiating was already nearing unprecedented levels of stupidity before this call, but now I’m going to say they’ve raised the bar by a considerable margin.
It’s not that they got the call wrong…twice, and I certainly never expected them to change the outcome of the game (I’ve never seen that in any pro sport), but how about “Oops, we got it wrong. Sorry about that, let’s move on.” Nope, still undefeated and unchallenged, and the League remains perfect. Au contraire, mon fre`re, I disagree and so do 88 percent of the voters on ESPN.com. The poll on NFL.com has a more conservative readership, and only 83 percent disagree with the league offices.
And how bad were the Replacements?
Let’s ask Kevin Ogletree of Dallas, who had a referee’s hat thrown at his feet as he tried to cut in the end-zone on a second quarter Tony Romo pass. Ogletree’s plant foot came down on the hat (which was thrown for no apparent reason), and he slipped. The pass was ruled incomplete and no explanation was provided as to ‘why’ the hat was thrown in the first place.
Let’s ask Bill Bilechick, who will probably pay a fine for trying to get an official to talk to him. Bill shouldn’t have grabbed the guy by the arm, but his frustration at the Replacement’s indifference can certainly be understood. Here’s a three time Super Bowl winner, a five time Super Bowl coach, and this Temp was ignoring him as if he were a campaign worker seeking donations.
The communication is even worse than the officiating, and if you ask every coach in the league they’ll tell you that the lack of communication from the Replacements is causing major problems. It’s not just the terrible calls, and make no mistake, these guys are really bad; it seems only a matter of time before one of them throws a flag for ‘Traveling’ or attempts to enforce ‘The Infield Fly Rule’. Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad, but watching them trying to sort out a relatively routine play is a bit like volunteering for an exploratory root canal, it’s painful.
So what can we do about it?
I saw some of the comment sections on various sites and there are a lot of boycott the NFL movements, but let’s be real, that’s akin telling an alcoholic to avoid the tavern because the ashtrays are dirty, it isn’t gonna happen. We need our NFL.
We can get mad, and we should get mad, but at who? The league is the way the trend is leaning today, but some of us are mad at the Replacements for their incompetence, while others are still ticked-off at the real refs for holding out in the first place. Last week, I jokingly called for an occupy yellow flag movement, to let the real refs know that I’m mad. This weekend, as the Replacements got worse for the third consecutive week, my hostility began to expand toward the them. After the League’s announcement today, I once again broadened the target of my anger, and awarded Roger Goodell with my first ever Medal of Ignorance Award.
Greg Schiano had the award in the bag this week, but Monday’s debacle and Tuesday’s announcement have left me with little choice on this. So while I’m angry at all three parts of this clustered, ugly, whole, Goodell will be my poster boy.
We are a forgiving nation, and football fans are a microcosm of America; we’ve forgiven The Holy Roller, The Thanksgiving Day Coin-Toss, The Tuck Rule Game (sorry Patriots fans), The Ed Hochuli Game, and truth be told, we’ll probably forgive this too. The Regular’s will probably get standing ovations upon their return to the field, but I have to wonder how long that will be. Maybe this latest blunder will help the process along.
Was this call the worst ever? I don’t really know, but I’d love to hear your view on the matter. And why you’re at it, tell me who I should blame.
About the Author
Written by Steve Massey
Steve Massey is the author of Grid Iron Audible at @prosportsblogging.com, a weekly column covering all things NFL related. He is originally from California, but now resides in Northern Arkansas with his beautiful wife and best friend, Debbie. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMassey9