Nobody’s Perfect: The NFL and its Officiating

Stop whining about the NFL replacement referees.  Should the owners cave to end the strike? Sure. But, the replacement referees have been set-up to be scapegoats since the NFL season started. These refs are under a microscope while lacking confidence. Plus, they have not been granted a grace period to acclimate to the NFL level of play given they do not have prior NFL experience. Are they bad or terrible? Yeah. But, they were the best available—sadly.

The last play of the Seahawks-Packers game resulted in an interception. But, as it is, Russell Wilson and Seattle has come away with a victory that is now in the books. The Bears, Lions (even though they lost this weekend), and Vikings are happy. The players and coaches are entering games with a mindset to argue calls knowing that calls will be missed which is exacerbating the officiating problem. But, as much as players are whining about the replacement referees, is as much as players complain about the normal refs at most levels of athletics. Yes, NFL football should be above the rest since it is as a professional league, but the Referee Lockout is altering things, currently.

The media is just as responsible for the officiating problem as the NFL since the media has created a welcoming platform for the criticism, with the ongoing dispute. The refs have to feel the pressure, which is affecting their performance. Social media isn’t helpful either. Not to mention when the sports pundits open their mouths, they are spewing gasoline on the fire with their policy suggestions for the NFL and fans. Like, don’t say the fans should take a stand. Who knows what that will lead to. The complaining is already out-of-hand. Shut up, and let the players play football and officials officiate. Ray Lewis complained about the calls after the Eagles game, but didn’t thank the refs for getting the call right to beat the Patriots. (I hope the Ravens win it all by the way.)

The NBA had to implement rules to prevent post-game discussion of officiating. The talking matters. Maybe the NFL should do the same. Maybe there is such a rule. But, those rules came prior to this replacement ref debacle, which proves that refs have always been bad and to blame for “blowing it.” Players and coaches are always going to complain about calls no matter if there are Footlocker employees calling the plays or certified professional-level officials. What the NFL should do is amend the rules for replacement refs to allow more calls to be challenged and allow for overturning of certain calls via “the booth” given the issues.

One great thing is being shown with the issues resulting from having replacement refs: the NFL is the best professional league on the planet. That being based on how much the fans love the game. With the officiating problem, it’s only drawing more people to the TV.  The controversy is great, but it must be fixed soon.

Americans love their football.  Each of the seemingly too few, sixteen football games matter for all the thirty-two teams.  Great team and individual stories make the NFL enjoyable. Not every superstar comes from a top college program, and not every team needs a superstar to win. The NFL gives fans something to cheer for, at the same time it gives fans something to prepare for each week: a football watching party, and fantasy league, among other things.

Plus, the players and coaches leave it on the line every game because they have such a limited number of games to prove their worth. The tenacity shown, and difficulty to achieve greatness makes it all the more rewarding when successful. Additionally, the wealth in the NFL is spread around the league. People support their teams.There are multiple contenders every year. It would be great to predict the playoff teams and eventual Superbowl champion, but it can’t reasonably be done, which makes watching so beautiful. Football is such a pure, yet raw sport that is lovable even with the head and bodily injury problems that exist during and post-playing career for players. No matter what, players are excited to put their uniforms on and play football every game.

Currently, the games are being altered in this atmosphere of bad officiating, but teams know that they shouldn’t be in a position where officials can make game deciding calls. It’s a tough position for everyone involved. “Fair exchange; no robbery.” Nobody or thing is perfect and the NFL won’t be when the normal officials return.

Is this from this season or any other?

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