Bad Officiating is Ruining the NFL

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NFL officiating has become a joke. The inconsistencies in-game and from officiating crew-to-crew can be costly to teams and players and certainly frustrating to fans.

What goes through the minds of these men dressed in stripes during games – particularly during crucial moments? Are they so pressured by the league that when in doubt they simply throw a flag?

Last night we watched Luke Kuechly mug Rob Gronkowski on the game’s final play. A flag was thrown and in their infinite wisdom the crew decided that the ball was not catchable and therefore they picked up the flag without explanation.

While I would debate that the foul made the pass uncatchable for Gronkowski, regardless of the pass’ catch-ability, clearly there was contact well beyond 5 yards from the line of scrimmage and that contact arguably made a difference in the play.

How many times have we seen significantly lesser illegal contact fouls called on the other side of the field and away from the play? The Patriots were at least deserving of another play 5 yards closer to the end zone.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel sorry for Brady & Co. They are the beneficiaries of more favorable calls than any team in the league. The fact that holding wasn’t called on Patriots left tackle Nate Solder when he bear hugged Saints LB Junior Galette on this game winning throw (see below) by Brady to Kenbrell Thompkins is an absolute travesty, particularly when referee Tony Corrente’s job is to sit there in the backfield and observe such activity.

But back to the non-call from last night in Charlotte…listen to the lame explanation from retired (thankfully) NFL official Gerry Austin in the video below and how he defends referee Clete Blakeman’s decision, and then pay attention to Jon Gruden’s body language. It looks like he wanted to go Terry Tate on Austin. 

When is enough, enough?

The guess here is that commissioner Roger Goodell and his cronies will continue to do all they can to cover their collective ass and stay out of the courtroom so they can count their money.

And until you as a fan stop watching, they’ll keep counting and they’ll continue to tear at the fabric that once made the NFL great while selling the game’s soul for profit.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

20 Raves on “Bad Officiating is Ruining the NFL

  1. Anonymous on said:

    The officiating sucks. Pure and simple. It sucks. But it is consistent. Pay your QB enough money and he’s untouchable. In years past, Flacco doesn’t get nearly as many calls as he does this year.

    That said, while I thought the play last night was wrong – it was not a penalty. The call was actually correct. It can’t be illegal contact because the ball was in the air when it occurred. And Gronkowski had no chance to catch the ball simply because he would have had to throw Kuechly out of the way, run 3-4 yards back to the ball and push the other defender aside. All while the ball was in the air. Flash Gordon couldn’t have accomplished that feat.

    As a result – the “no call” was correct, per the NFL rules. Now, we can argue whether contact during the pass away from the ball should be illegal. Personally, I say if it has no impact on the play it shouldn’t alter the flow.

    But that’s debatable. I the meantime, I would suggest that our skirt-wearing friend up North throw the ball further next time if he wants the call.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      So if the ball is in the air and it looks like it could be uncatchable, a defender can just take out an offensive player while the ball is in the air?

      Coaches should be pouring over this play then with their defenders.

      I hear what you are saying about Gronk having to make an unbelievable play to get to the ball…but what if he got Robert Hester as he tried to intercept and the collision forced the ball in the air giving Gronk a chance to make a play?

      • John P on said:

        Not sure why I showed up as anonymous before, but that was me…

        Look, my point isn’t to be a “ya-but”, nor do I agree with what happened (read my post – I don’t). I’m just saying in this isolated case, the problem wasn’t as much the refs as it was the rule book.

        The rule book itself is actually pretty clear. Now, it could be “clearly wrong”, but that’s a different topic ;)

  2. Voice of Reason on said:

    The problems extend beyond the officiating. The root of the problem is the RULES. There is too many rules that favor the offense, including protecting the QB. I am totally against protecting the QB. He is no better than anyone else on the field, in my opinion. I think knocking out a QB is actually good strategy for winning a game and that is how it use to be years ago. I understand the money, the NFL, the TV contracts, etc. Pretty soon any kind of tackling will be outlawed in the NFL and that is when I will stop watching and going to games.

  3. paulie on said:

    LoL!!!! So thanks to a new “technical” interpretation of the pass interference rule, DB’s will be instructed by their coaches that if they grab the receiver and push him away from where the ball lands it is not a foul? Guess that’s just part of the cost of using well intentioned amateurs as referees in a professional sport. Guys just make it up as they go and the league office has to pretend they know what they are doing . . ..

  4. JerryB on said:

    It’s not just bad officiating that’s ruining the game, Tony, it’s a league office so paranoid about liability for injuries that they are “overregulating” contact in the ultimate contact sport ostensibly to protect players! Pretty soon, they’ll espouse putting skirts on QB’s as the late, great Artie Donovan use to lament. The “no call” at the end of the Panthers-Patriots game last night was a blatant failure of officiating and, what’s worse, raises the specter of a gambling “fix” that, unfortunately, is not unheard of in sports and reflects on the integrity of the game! The NFL product has lost a great deal of its allure and, if they’re not careful, the popularity of the game as we’ve known it will fade out of memory! No easy solutions in sight either……

  5. The Truth on said:

    You cannot hit a receiver beyond 5 yards even if the ball is thrown to the other side of the field.
    And the play that Gronk got robbed on was well within his range before Lukely began pushing him away from it. I don’t think he knew he was, he was just making sure Gronk didn’t catch it regardless.
    I am more concerned about our own game, where 58 got a RTP flag for hands that protected himself from body slamming Josh and Flacco got a knee to the head and then another hands to the face with “no calls”.
    Along with some other ticky tac calls that led the Bears down for their winning FG.
    The officiating is the worst it’s ever been and has more control over the outcome of games than I have ever seen in my over 40 years of watching football.
    Something really needs to be done about this glaring problem that is all but ruined pro football.

  6. Hype MAN on said:

    I just love how the refs clammer to “Lady Brady” walking to tunnel… LIKE BRADY is so special HE GETS personal explanations from the Refs about what went down,LOL They were chasing him down to kiss that ass & Give an explanation … If that was Joe “Flacc Stacks” Flacco Those same Refs would ignore the ISH outta him and could care less if he liked the call or not and DAMN SURE wouldnt be CHASING HIM down to give EXPLANATIONS SMDH… I HATE Brady and his Cry Baby Azz

    • juicer on said:

      “Lady Brady” “so special” “chasing him down to kiss that ass” “I HATE Brady and his Cry Baby Azz” … You’ve got serious issues, Buddy.

  7. Fran the Fan on said:

    Tony, you said above “What goes through the minds of these men dressed in stripes during games – particularly during crucial moments? Are they so pressured by the league that when in doubt they simply throw a flag?”

    I think you’re exactly right. I’ve listened to multiple talk shows on 3 different radio networks today and all the analysts (Ray Lewis and Miike Golic excepted) have said get used to it. The zebras are now taught to error on the side of caution. If a play looks illegal but you’re not sure, throw the flag anyway.

    To your point, the push Elvis Dumervil gave Josh McCown on Sunday that resulted in a 15 yd penalty was a love tap compared to the shove he gave Matt Ryan of the Falcons during the preseason when nothing was called. Inconsistency.

    That said, it’s ironic that the patriots, who’ve been the beneficiary of more bad calls in league history than any other team, got truly jobbed on that Gronk mugging last night.

  8. Matt on said:

    I still think the personal foul call against Dumervil for pushing the QB on Sunday was garbage. The contact wasn’t excessive and he was completing the play. It happens every game in the NFL. He didn’t lead with the crown or make contact from the neck up. It was a horrible call that was one of many contributing factors (aside from the lack of an offense again) that resulted in a crucial loss by extending the drive.

  9. Deuce on said:

    Why are people complaining about the call? If I remember from last years Super Bowl the Ravens were benefactors of such a call on the last play that San Francisco ran with the pass to the end zone… That was clearly pass interference by the Ravens but the refs didn’t call that???

  10. Ravens4ever on said:

    The bottom line is the league is becoming too soft! Perhaps this is secondary to the rule changes which seems to be secondary to the lawsuits. Concussions seem to be at the forefront of litigation. The games are becoming a push game instead of a tackle game. Putting your hands on another player is yielding a flag more often than not. When officials make calls that affect the outcome of the game they need to ensure the calls are correctly made. Perhaps this means going back to the replay booth in these situations as well. This could bed a probable solution to the problem. Ultimately the face of football is changing and it is not being received well.

    Agree it is changing the face of football as it has been known for generation. Prime example of the league becoming too soft was the flag thrown against the 49ers when Drew Brees was sacked this past weekend which effected the outcome of the game.

  11. Gene on said:

    The NFL is not a game for the purist. It’s getting to the point where it is far too often that the officiating, protecting the QB to an extreme, is costing teams games. Extending drives for questionable defensive PI and personal fouls is killing the game. The outcomes are determined by the refs. You like 45 to 40 point games? QB’s throwing for 300 plus yards and 6 TD’s a game? All that is, is outdoor arena football. The NFL is turning a game into high scoring affairs for below average fans. Those who grew up watching real football and great defenses (Ravens years included) should be thankful because those days are over. Its almost about time to cut the cord, turn off the cable, and cancel the DirectTV NFL package.

  12. Slambe on said:

    Anyone see the Broncos Chargers KO fumble that was, but wasn’t, but should have been but….. Later the Chargers intercepted Manning in the endzone, nullified by “holding when the WR and CB (no where near the ball) brushed up against one another. Or how about the week before when the Chiefs were given new life and a free 1st down and escaped bad field position with the phantom “facemask” call.
    Officials decide these games and NFL darlings like Manning and Brady get WAY more calls because the NFL THINKS it’s helping itself making them look even better then they are. It’s actually killing the NFL when fans like myself get tired of seeing games stolen from their teams and handed to these pre madanas

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