Madness? THIS, IS, SEATTLE!!!!!
What I wrote about last week has been proven true again: the negatives in the NFL are just too much for all of the good things. This was a CRAZY week, with all sorts of amazing finishes to games. But can I really talk about any of that? No, not a chance. I can’t sit in the dorm lounge and witness students yelling obscenities, throwing tennis balls, running madly about, kicking open doors, and smashing glasses and not talk about it. SportsCenter became “live from Seattle”, Twitter and Facebook blew up, and my dorm turned into a sleepless and incredulous gathering of angry Packer fans. Sirens sounded outside within minutes of the end of the game. Instead of criticizing the Packers’ offensive linemen, who could not protect their quarterback, everyone laughed at their profane tweets.
Now, everyone can go to school/work and have conversations that sound a lot like a recent Lecrae song:
1: “What a terrible call! Those officials @#$%#& that up so bad!”
2: “I know!”
1: “One hand on the ball is a catch!?”
2: “I know!”
1: “And the pass interference!”
2: “I know!”
1: “We need the old refs back!”
2: “I KNOW!”
1: “@#$% this I don’t feel like doing anything.”
2: “I KNOW!!!!!”
So let’s not have that conversation. Rather, I will give you 10 things that you should know before you have this conversation. It is more than a blown call.
1: The call was wrong. Well, duh, right?
2: But it wasn’t inexcusable. In live action, you can understand how that call gets made. The first time I saw it, in real-time, it looked like Golden Tate caught the pass. He was in a more conventional pass-catching pose, as he leaped up for the ball, while Jennings was flying through the air and ended up hunched over while trying to hold on to the ball. But I’m going to make another excuse for the refs: They’re fans of the game. These guys are not professional officials. They are not officious. They are life-long football fans getting to officiate NFL games. And of all the games, these guys are getting to call a Monday Night Game, the biggest stage in the regular season. And now, at the end of the game, they might be thinking to themselves Man, wouldn’t it be totally cool if Russell Wilson threw a game-winner right now and I got to call the touchdown? And then, when Wilson actually does get away a throw to the end zone for a possible game-winning touchdown, and Golden Tate actually appears to catch it, that ref is going to be so fired up (for officiating an NFL game, for being on Monday Night, for seeing that play) that they are going to throw up their arms to signal touchdown. It happens. It was the wrong call, but you can understand why it would have been made. Well, maybe you don’t sympathize, but I do.
3: And anyone could have made it: Yeah, this is another opportunity to ridicule the replacements, but who is to say that the regular refs would not have missed that one? They made plenty of terrible calls over the years (Calvin Johnson touchdown?). They were not infallible, and they certainly drew the ire of fans everywhere week in and week out. They might have missed this call too.
4: Exonerate the replay guys: On replay, it sure does looks like an interception. But is there indisputable evidence? I’m not so sure. If it was called an interception originally, that too would have stood the indisputable test.
5: The push-off was much worse: Calling a touchdown was a mistake; missing the push on Sam Shields was unbelievable. That was as blatant a push as I have seen. To make matters worse, Shields would have probably deflected or intercepted that ball, as he had the best positioning of anyone. If this play is named (Music City Miracle, Brady Tuck, etc.) I hope it commemorates that no-call (The Shields Push-Off, the Golden Tate Interference) instead of naming it the Russell Wilson Game-Winning Interception Throw.
6: And so was the Shields “non-no-call”: On that final possession, Sam Shields was wronged when he was called for a pass-interference on Sidney Rice. The officiating was bad all game, but in key late-game situations, Green Bay seemed to get the worst of it.
7: Be kind to the replacement refs: These guys are not qualified for this job, and they are doing the best they can do. Yes, that’s not very good, but they are just not prepared. This is like asking a community organizer and rookie senator to be president. Sorry, sorry, sorry, I have to leave politics out of this, my bad, my bad (I actually think it’s my first political quip in the history of this blog). In all seriousness though, these officials aren’t even the backups or the second level guys. Those guys officiate on Saturdays.
8: This might not change anything: The NFL owners have us all in a prison. What are we going to do if this officiating fiasco continues? Boycott football? We actually discussed that last night in the dorm, but it was quickly shot down. The owners will make their money anyway. It is going to take something dangerous (like I wrote about last week) to really change this.
9: The Packers should not have let the game be that close: That’s the truth. They blew that game by letting the Seahawks keep it that close. The O-line played awful and then tweeted about the refs. Aaron Rodgers continued to look not himself and then blasted the officials. The Packers are a better team than Seattle, and they should have been ahead by 20 going into the the final minutes. Did the game hinge on that last play? Yes, and the play’s outcome was decided by the refs; the game’s outcome was decided by the Packers.
10: This is a great game: Football creates such amazing finishes to games because of the impossible possibilities. If a baseball team comes back from 8 runs down in the bottom of the 9th, it’s an incredible comeback, but it’s reasonable. They simply put together hits and didn’t get outs. It’s the way the game works. In football, there are those situations where something could happen, but functionally it’s impossible. I was ready to go to bed when Golden Tate missed the first attempt, before the Packers got the ball back. The game should have been over. But one penalty, a nice toss and catch, and a bizzarro last play produced one of the wildest finishes I will ever see. Is this a debacle? Yes. But appreciate this, because this is one for the history books.
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