Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Final Straw...

Up until now, the NFL replacement referees had yet to directly decide the outcome of a game. Well, on Monday night football, on the grandest of stages, live on ESPN, the days of the replacement referees hit an all-time low.

It was a closely contested, closely called game that was destined to be one for the ages. The Green Bay Packers were heavy favorites over the home team Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks used their twelfth man, the home town fans, as fuel to fire the upset.

Fast forward to the last play of the game. Russell Wilson stands at the Packers 24-yard line looking to accomplish something that many had never seen before: a game winning touchdown pass on the last play. The score was 12-7 in favor of Green Bay. 

Wilson rolled to his left and fired into a swarm of Seahawks and Packers players in the endzone. The ball disappeared into the mass of men and, after 10 seconds of waiting, one referee signaled touchdown and the Seattle Seahawks were the victors...or were they.

I said that “ONE” referee signaled touchdown. Another referee, standing right next to the referee that signaled touchdown, signaled an interception (meaning that the Packers would be the winners). So, in other words, one referee gave the game to the Seahawks and another referee gave the game to the Packers.

At first glance, it appeared as though it was a simultaneous catch (in that case, the ball would be awarded to the offensive player), but then the officials reviewed the call on the field. When looking at the replays, it appeared as though Packers’ defensive back M.D. Jennings actually caught the ball, which would be an interception. Another interesting bit that the review displayed was that Seahawks receiver Golden Tate shoved a defensive player (which means offensive pass interference should have been called and the play should not have counted).

To put it in simpler terms, there were two key pieces of evidence that went AGAINST the Seahawks winning this game that were revealed in the official review that went ignored. The first was that the pass was actually intercepted by M.D. Jennings and the second was the pass interference against Brandon Tate. If you take both those pieces of information into account, the Packers should have come away with this win.

But, they didn’t. And this is just another instance in which the replacement referees completely messed up a call in a crucial moment of the game. Before now, the referees had yet to decide a game. But now, a decision that they made directly affected the outcome of a game.

The National Football League needs their regular referees back more than they think. Players’ safety and livelihood as well as coaches livelihoods are at stake. Coaches and players get paid and get jobs based on whether they win or lose.

In terms of player’s safety, the replacement referees are letting them get away with too much. Players are allowed to simply tee-off on defenseless players without penalty. Players will get hurt and that will affect the way they live and also how much they get paid.

Another way in which the NFL/replacement referees are screwing everything up is the landscape of the NFL. Once the real referees return, the landscape and the playoff picture will be all out of whack. The playoff picture will be ruined due to incidences like the one on Monday night.
In my eyes, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the rest of the front office are all criminals. If they aren’t willing to pay people to do a professional job and referee the right way, they are just as guilty for the poor quality of officiating as the officials themselves. If they truly love the game of football, they will do whatever it takes to get the real NFL referees back.
The NFL is fast becoming a joke. It’s losing its integrity every week that the replacement refs are active. Do something right for once, Roger Goodell; bring the original referees back so the quality of the NFL as a whole will improve.
I don’t blame the referees for the catastrophe that is this NFL season. I place 100 percent of the blame on Roger Goodell. He, and he alone, is single handedly ruining an American pastime and is disgracing the great game of football. 
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