Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The fans are being robbed

imageLast night’s Monday Night Football game between the Packers and the Seahawks should have ended on either the pass interference call or the interception. But upon further review, the replacement officials filling in for the locked out regular crew robbed the Packers and awarded the win to Golden Tate and the Seahawks.

They also robbed me and everyone else watching the game last night.

I joked this morning on Twitter: “I think the only thing that will solve this replacement ref problem is a US Navy SEAL Team.”

I don’t think the SEALs should go after the replacement officials. God bless’em, they’re doing the best they can in a situation that’s clearly over their heads.

The target is Roger Goodell and his merry band of team owners.

Not only did the officials miss a blatant offensive pass interference call, they ruled that Seahawks receiver Golden Tate came down with possession of the football on the last second, fourth down Hail Mary pass.

The replay—with the damning frame shown at right—clearly proved that Packers’ defensive back MD Jennings had intercepted the pass and was down by contact. Game over.

Goodell and the NFL owners know that this situation is untenable. It cannot continue any further. Reports indicate that the league and the officials are only about $3 million apart on a settlement of their labor dispute. In a league that rakes in billions in media and licensing revenues, a paltry seven figure sum seems silly, doesn’t it?

The integrity of the game is at stake. If fans can’t trust that the games will be officiated competently and correctly, then the NFL becomes as big of a joke as professional wrestling.

Parity is an important factor in professional football. There is actually very little difference between most teams in the NFL. Games are often decided by a small handful of critical plays. While bad calls are always part of any game played and officiated by humans, the epidemic of WTF moments in the first three weeks of the season are having too big of an impact. The outcomes of the games can’t be trusted.

As SEC fans, we’re somewhat accustomed to the occasional atrocity. See the botched interception call during last season’s LSU at Alabama game as a prime example. That play was very similar to last night’s atrocity. Were the same guys calling the Packers Seahawks game?

No, but the robbery is just as bad.

And until this foolishness comes to an end, we need to stop watching and stop going to the games. I won’t be ripped off any more.

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