Gee, I don’t know. Looked like an OK call to me.
(Kidding! I’m a kidder!)
In all seriousness: Yes, the NFL looks awful, and yes, the NFL has it coming for putting its precious product — meaning, professional football — in a position to be compromised by a bunch of officials whose training in no way prepared them for this task. And yes, the NFL needs to end the lockout posthaste for the greater good of the NFL. But you knew that already.
What’s of greater interest (at least to me) is that the NFL’s famous “after-further-review” system, which was radical in its conception and implementation, failed at the moment it was needed most. Anyone who watched the Falcons-Broncos game of the previous Monday night grasped that the on-field officials were so cowed by the setting that they were scared to call anything, but replay — and there were a slew of replays that night — was there to set the record straight.
One Monday later, replay couldn’t distinguish a Green Bay interception from a Seattle reception, and somehow the touchdown stood. The NFL’s excuse: Because simultaneous possession was ruled on the field, only indisputable video evidence could overturn the call. And apparently these pictures were, ahem, open to dispute.
So the call on the field — er, one of the calls on the field — was allowed to stand, and now everybody is in a-dither because the Great American Game has been besmirched, but really: Who couldn’t see this coming? In Week 1 the replacements refs gave the Seahawks (yep, them again) a timeout they didn’t have as they were scrambling to score the winning touchdown. That time they failed. Week 2 was way worse. Week 3 was so bad — the Ravens’ hairbreadth winning field goal wasn’t reviewed because field goals are, for reasons unclear, not reviewable– as to make you laugh out loud.
Surely Roger Goodell will climb down from his bullying pulpit and admit what everybody else sees: That the real refs are needed, that to continue with these out-of-their-depth replacements is to risk invalidating the regular season. But the real mystery is why Goodell, who claims his life’s mission is to “protect the [NFL-logo] shield” could have let things deteriorate to this ridiculous extreme.
Ah, well. Maybe we can use replay to review the commissioner’s thought process. That’s assuming he had one. That’s also assuming replay can be invoked in cases of rampant stupidity, which I seriously doubt.
By Mark Bradley