You just KNEW what this column — partly — was going to be about, didn’t you?
The debacle of Monday night that finally got the National Football League and its referees union into serious and eventually successful negotiations on a new contract.
I somewhat understand what the 32 owners — through Commissioner Roger Goodell (which may be the REAL problem, in my humble and correct opinion!) — was after; the chance to improve the officiating down the road.
Us football fans know that this has to happen and The League needs to be able to fire incompetent officials — or those that simply cannot do the job any more due to physical limitations — and bring in newer officials (as long as they have been proven somewhere along the line) to bolster the “pool.”
However, with the flags a-flyin’ in the first three weeks of the season and the terrible inconsistency, the pressure had to be mounting.
Game times are up.
Monday night’s fracas HAD to be the final straw, no matter what anyone is saying.
I don’t think I need to rehash what happened — probably everybody with a cable TV set or Internet access around the globe has seen the final play of the Seattle/Green Bay battle in the Pacific Northwest — but needless to say, in no known universe was that a touchdown.
They missed the obvious — OBVIOUS — offensive pass interference on Seattle; I loved Golden Tate’s pathetic and laughable response to a reporter’s question about the shove with “I don’t know what you are talking about!”
Makes you wonder what universe he was living in. The best response would have been “no comment” but don’t lie about it; it doesn’t become you!
I’m not trying pick on Mr. Tate — other players have uttered some inane things in the past — but it just seemed so ... wrong!
However, it was other bad calls: a roughing-the-passer call to begin the last drive that was not a penalty in any known cosmos; a defensive pass interference that clearly was not except in the anti-matter universe; etc.
Then the discrepancy between the officials on whether it was a TD or a touchback — the head man not even bothering to go check it out but heading straight for the replay booth!
Throw in the expected criticism from football pundits and junkies that have been going on non-stop ever since.
For the most part, it has gone to the people that deserved it: not the officials — who were simply out of their league and over their heads — but to Goodell and the owners for not thinking that this would happen.
Some of it was over the top — I know of one Packers’ fan that claimed he would not watch another Packer — or NFL game, for that matter — again!
Seriously. I do think the guy needs to take a chill pill!
Toss in the definite emphasis on illegal and even borderline hits that were not called the first three weeks.
Plus the supposed billion dollars that changed hands or had to be reimbursed by the gambling community because of the debacle — which is another issue.
I know I am not the first to write this — but only because my column goes in Thursday! — but all these poor decisions and the backlash were seriously threatening the integrity of the game.
The powers-that-be know that the NFL can’t allow its product to be watered down or come into question on a daily basis.
It was starting to.
You also cannot have the culture of utter disrespect that was starting to germinate.
We all know that the regular guys have made mistakes in the past and will do so in the future; it’s human nature.
However, they communicated with the players and coaches and there was a level of respect; the players knew these guys were doing their best.
That all stopped and that is what I think most flustered the players and coaches.
Personally, I think the replacement referees were a bit intimidated. I would be, no matter what I might say.
I don’t ever remember Bill “Totem Pole” Belichick getting that irate during a game.
Through it all, Mike McCarthy was saying the right — some may say politically correct or “avoid the fine” — things. The Packers made too many mistakes offensively and it should not have come down to that last play.
I guess this column was ALL about this!