I have been watching the NFL for a long time. The first game I can remember was between the Packers and the Los Angeles Rams in November of 1965. I've been hooked ever since.
I have never seen anything like last night.
It's not just that there was a spectacularly bad blown call at the end of
the game. That happens. It was not even that there was a series of blown calls
- all of which were necessary to put the Packers in a position to lose that
game. I've seen that.
It's not even that these replacement officials are spectacularly
incompetent. It is becoming quite clear that officiating an NFL game is a very
difficult thing to do.
The thing about last night is the clinging stupidity on display. It is the utterly
brain dead obstinence.
The refusal to reverse the call was extraordinary. I don't see how any
sentient human being with a basic understanding of the rules of the game could watch
the replay and fail to understand what had really happened. It is as if
the referee, not satisfied with being incompetent, doubled down and went for
For this, the replacements can be cut no slack. I can understand why they
were unable to officiate the game properly. I cannot understand they lacked the
courage to clean up their mess.
But the obstinence that is most stunning may be that of Roger Goodell and the
NFL owners. This was not some one-off, incredibly bad performance by the
officials. It is the culmination of three weeks of games being spoiled because
they are being officiated by people who are not up to the task.
I get the thinking. The NFL believes, with reason, that it is so popular
that its fans will tolerate an adulterated product for as long as it takes to
resolve its dispute with the referees.
I wouldn't be so sure.
It is, as I said, not unheard of for a game to be decided by a bad call. It
is rare that an officiating mistake is as gobsmackingly wrong as this one, but
that is a matter of degree and not kind. What may catch up to the league is
that this appears to be happening as a result of a deliberate decision by
league management. It’s hard not to think that the NFL is being penny wise and
Cross posted at www.sharkandshepherd.blogspot.com