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.