by Ryan Meehan
By now you’ve probably heard a million different takes on the replacement officials botched call on the final play of Monday Night Football this week, costing the Green Bay Packers a game that they you’d have to be crazy to say they didn’t win. Since there are a lot of stock columns about this (and likely will be for weeks to come) I am going to do my best to make a few points and still keep it short and manageable. Wish me luck on the second part of that.
1) The most important thing that you really need to know is that they got the call wrong three times
The call on the field (from one official anyway) stated that it was a catch which resulted in a touchdown, giving the Seahawks the lead and the game since there was no time remaining. That was the first one. Then they went under the review hood to check it out again, and they still came up with the same ruling. Strike two. Then on Tuesday morning the NFL went released a statement defending the referees’ call, and giving a very weak and irrelevant explanation simply by quoting the rule book. “Three strikes and you’re out”, “you win some you lose some”, and “nobody’s perfect” shortly gave way to more realistic and sensible phrases such as “Yes, but it’s still incorrect”, “The important thing is that the league should have rectified the poor decision made by its officials”, and “Wait, you’re fucking kidding me, right?”.
There are a lot of sports analysts piling on to this already confusing situation today by saying “Well, he pushed a guy off as well and that should have been offensive pass interference”. Fantastic. You can identify a personal foul, which regular NFL refs miss all the time. IT DOESN’T MATTER. That’s not the main call the refs got wrong here, so in my opinion it isn’t even worth bringing up. The point here is he didn’t catch the ball. End of story, it should have been an open and shut case right there. But it didn’t exactly turn out like that…
2) The fact that they got the call incorrect the second time was nothing other than riot prevention, regardless of what anybody will tell you
This is precisely why it’s so important to get the call on the field right the first time. They told a stadium full of 70,000 frenzied sports fans covered in some of the most embarrassing colors to ever be sewn onto jerseys by Filipino sweatshop workers that their Seahawks had just won the game. I am not going to believe for one second that they determined the call on the ruling on the field stood because of what they saw under the review hood for two reasons: 1) What they saw under that cloth was what the rest of the country saw, which was that the ball was intercepted and they still got the call wrong. And, 2) They probably did realize it, but they also realized that there would be an awful lot of cars set on fire in the hour that followed if they reversed it. It might have been sufficient damage control to the residents of Seattle, but it still appeared to stink like major bullshit right through the televisions of everyone else in America. Also here, I can’t help but think that in that particular region they hadn’t forgotten the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots that transpired just across the border, and that might have had something to do with the decision. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Vancouver_Stanley_Cup_riot So even though going under that hood should have provided them with all of the correct information that they needed to know to get the call right, I understand why they didn’t immediately reverse it even though it was the wrong call to make. They still had the final safety net of the NFL office to break their fall, and get out of there without getting anyone killed. Unfortunately, that was complicated by what happened next…
3) The fact that the NFL waited until the next day to make the decision on whether or not to overturn the call, and they still got it wrong shows total incompetence across all boundaries
What makes me angrier than anything about this if the second point I made is true, they waited for everybody in the Pacific Northwest to sleep this off and still did not reverse the call in the morning. While said riot from point two had already been averted, the men who are in charge of these types of decisions had one last chance to correct it and they didn’t do so. Their justification for doing so was that the rule states that if “two players come down with the ball at the same time, that the passing team retains possession”. That’s fine…I have no problem with the way the rule is written. But…
That’s not what happened. Golden Tate and Brandon Jennings DIDN’T both come down with the ball. Jennings had it, and the only time that Tate was in possession of the ball was after the play had been blown dead for about 20 seconds, where he wrestled it out of Jennings’ hands. Instead of further investigating the incident and trying to remedy what went wrong, they basically just regurgitated protocol that was unrelated and expected you to be back at the bar on Sunday watching the game. So, that’s three separate opportunities that the NFL and its henchmen had to get it right, and they blew all three of them.
What’s most disturbing here is that the last chance they had to fix it all was handled by the most supreme governing body of the league. Whether or not you think Roger Goddell is doing a respectable job he is in charge, and it’s up to him to make sure mistakes like this one are corrected. And I don’t want to hear any of this nonsensical horseshit about how it’s not right to go back and change the results of a game. That’s a useless argument here. About 94% of America says that the call was incorrect, so it would only make sense that some percentage around that number would not have had a problem with it being overturned. Personally, I don’t care when they get the call right, just so long as they do get it right. Ideally yes I would for it to be called correctly on the field (seeing as how that’s where the players play the game) but with the way things are going so far this year I understand that is a very tall order that’s on a shelf that we as fans can’t reach. But if it takes you until the next day, I’m going to throw a fit about it if you get it right. The NFL had a great opportunity to make things right Tuesday and they failed miserably.
Bonus Point) Pete Carroll and Golden Tate now look like the world’s biggest douchebags on the face of the earth, and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy exemplifies class in the purest form
In a sports world where most coaches watch the Jumbo-tron more than the action in front of them on the field that they are getting paid millions of dollars to keep tabs on, Monday Night was a perfect example of how people can truly lie to themselves and feel no remorse. Not only did Pete Carroll and Golden Tate celebrate their victory like they had clinched a playoff berth, they did so knowing that the wrong call was made. They sat there and did their postgame interviews knowing that the call could have been reversed the next day, and blew smoke up their own ass all the while doing so. Both of them looks like complete fools, and will likely get a ton of trash talk from the fans at stadiums they visit and they’ll deserve every ounce of it.
Let’s flip the coin and discuss how a true winner handles his business – By NFL rule, if the game is not decided in sudden death overtime then the team who has most recently scored is required to attempt a point after or two point conversion. Likewise, the team who lost is also required to go out there and put eleven guys on the field in order to make the whole thing official. (no pun intended) Not only did McCarthy somehow get eleven players to go back onto the field, but during his postgame press conference he handled it with dignity and respect for the players that are on his team, the game that he loves, and the league which just might have screwed him out of home field advantage in the postseason. He did preface said press conference with the warning that he wasn’t going to explicitly discuss the incident, but somehow he was able to point out the many things the Packers did wrong on the offensive line before the six minute mark in the fourth quarter where the officials suddenly stole the show.
What’s sad about this whole debacle is there are a bunch of non-football fans who can even identify this as bullshit. Local television personalities, gas station attendants, and even people named Bruce are marching around barking about this injustice. I myself have to do the McCarthy thing and move forward. As you’ll see Thursday morning, other than its intro my column will not change because of this atrocity. Yes I am super pissed…what football fan wouldn’t be?…but I still have work to do. See you Thursday morning.
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