Showing Their Stripes Too Much

Week 11 was the latest installment in the ongoing battle of the NFL's referees against the world. But whether officials are making the right or wrong calls, it's clear from all the debate that policing the game is a thankless, losing proposition

Tom Brady was not happy with the ruling on the final play in the Patriots' loss Monday night. He was not alone. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)
Tom Brady was not happy with the ruling on the final play in the Patriots’ loss Monday night. He was not alone. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

It’s a very popular sentiment these days for people to come out and declare they won’t let their kids play football any more because the game’s too dangerous. But the way I see it, that doesn’t go nearly far enough. I wouldn’t let my kids referee the game either. At least not at the NFL level.

Who needs that kind of headache?

As everyone knows by now, Week 11 was a very bruising week for the guys who wear the zebra stripes in the NFL, filled with pressure, scrutiny, ridicule and some lasting damage. Between the controversial game-changing personal foul call in the 49ers-Saints game, the dubious call/non-call that ended the thrilling Patriots-Panthers game Monday night, and the explosive verbal abuse charge Washington’s Trent Williams levied at umpire Roy Ellison in Philadelphia, the refs were entirely too visible and on center stage for all the wrong reasons this past weekend.

Shoot, it was even a brutal week for the former refs in the TV booth, what with Monday Night Football’s Jon Gruden making Gerry Austin look like a stooge for defending the non-call that ended the New England-Carolina game, and various instances of ref-on-ref crime, with former-refs-turned-analysts picking apart the decision of Clete Blakeman’s crew to ignore the flag thrown in the end zone by back judge Terrence Miles in Charlotte.

And the besieged refs didn’t help themselves one bit with their “nothing-to-see-here, move-along” responses to the controversies they helped create. In Philadelphia, referee Walt Coleman instructed a bus driver to roll up the window and drive off when a pool reporter tried to get a response from Coleman on Williams’ charge that Ellison swore at him, calling the Redskins veteran offensive tackle a “garbage a– disrespectful mother——.” With that kind of mouth, Ellison qualifies as an honorary Eagles fan.

Blakeman drew some ire himself when, instead of explaining why there suddenly wasn’t pass interference being called on Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly against Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, he just opened his mike and summarily ended the game, high-tailing it for the locker room with a testy Tom Brady telling him what he thought of his moves as he made his exit. I’m pretty sure No. 12 wasn’t trying to sell him a pair of Uggs as winter looms.

Seriously, Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be NFL game officials. It’s a stressful, thankless existence, and there’s got to be better ways to make a living. True, one of them gets to wear a white hat in every game, but that doesn’t make them the good guy in the story.

I really don’t even know why anyone would want the nearly impossible job at this point. How’d you like to be the guy who gets to decide if 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks hit Saints quarterback Drew Brees illegally in the neck area, or legally in the shoulder pads, with Brees perhaps reflexively ducking into the illegal target area at the last instant? Either way, there’s going to be a ton of people absolutely convinced you got that call really wrong. Just ask Jim Harbaugh.

And let’s all be honest and admit no one in America truly knows what constitutes a legal catch any more, Calvin Johnson included. Maybe especially Calvin Johnson. But officials get paid to pretend like they do, every week. And remember the pushing-from-behind call that decided the Patriots-Jets game in Week 7 in the Meadowlands? Even if it was the correct call, no official can truthfully defend how the same move went un-called in so many other instances around the league, and why it took almost two months of the season for that new rule to be flagged for the first time. Arbitrary? Yeah, that’s a fair assessment.

It has become an almost herculean task to officiate the NFL game, and this is basically a mess of the league’s making. At some point, with good intentions in tow, the NFL’s Competition Committee has morphed into the Complication Committee, re-defining and re-defining and re-defining the rule book so much they’re not even sure what they’re holding any more. All they know is it’s getting heavier by the year, and harder to master.

This is what the league has wrought: A game where it’s darn difficult to know exactly what a defenseless receiver looks like, how to define a legal catch, and what constitutes helmet-to-helmet contact. I totally get the player safety reasoning behind the league’s new rule outlawing crown of the hemet contact in the open field, but if the hit Washington’s Brandon Meriweather laid on Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy in Week 2 wasn’t a crown of the helmet violation—and it wasn’t called that—then I don’t understand anything about anything when it comes to that edict.

The Right Calls?

What did Peter King think of the two most controversial calls of the weekend?


While the refs made got it right in the Saints-49ers game, they badly botched the ending in Panthers-Patriots, he says. Read on to find out why.

The rules do seem to grow more arcane every year, with so many different interpretations and judgment calls required that create some real quality control issues on the field. And the pressure to get everything absolutely correct, with next to no element of human error, has never been greater. The refs can do a pretty consistently excellent job of getting about 98 percent of the game called right, but boy can they be made to look incompetent for the 2 percent of the job they screw up. In high definition. We don’t tar and feather any more, but there is a certain mob quality to the over-the-top reactions we all have as fans and in the media in the wake of the latest refereeing controversy.

Here’s my common-sense takeaway from Week 11 in the NFL: With those two judgment calls that went in favor of the Saints and Panthers being potentially so important in the playoff chase, why can’t pass interference calls and hits on both quarterbacks and defenseless receivers be reviewable? Watch it again if you really want to make sure the judgment call is correct. It’ll hopefully confirm the judgment, but if not, it’ll correct it. Even with a finite number of replay reviews allowable, there should be a way to save one for plays that can directly alter the outcome of the game.

Replay is our friend. Replay usually leads to the right call. Upon further review, the league’s next judgment call should be to find even more ways to use it on the plays that matter most. It would serve to take some of the pressure off the guys in stripes, and help us avoid weeks like Week 11. No matter if your team won or lost, whenever the refs are the story of the week in the NFL, it’s the game that gets penalized.

More from The MMQB
82 comments
JohnnyNacho
JohnnyNacho

Thankless job?  You act like they volunteer their time to do this....they get paid handsomely to referee these games

BostonTim
BostonTim

Bad calls are one thing, gutless calls are another.  

Your premise is sound.  But don't invoke it when the hot water comes from the ref's cowardice.   They got what they wanted.  They got out alive.  Let live in infamy.


Cheers, BostonTim

George
George

Being an official / ref / umpire has ALWAYS been a thankless job.   Try even umping a little league game sometime with the parents foaming at the mouth - you'll think twice about doing it again.

The only thing I can figure is anyone who would want that job is either a masochist / glutton for abuse

or a frustrated / failed athlete / jock-sniffer.

No thanks.   Hey ... SOMEbody's gotta' do it!  

:D


JeffG3
JeffG3

My personal opinion is that refs make some bad calls now and then.  However, I have the luxury of sitting in my living room with the controversial play getting replayed over and over and over from several different angles in slow motion and freeze frame.  The officials on the field have one angle at game speed and no replay.

On slow motion replay it is clear that the LB fouls the TE before the DB intercepts the ball.  But at full speed, it is also easy to understand that while the back judge saw illegal contact, the side judge would see an underthrown and intercepted pass that the receiver had no play on anyway, then game over.  Now, if the pass had been higher and the TE couldn't jump to catch a catchable ball, then that would be a different story.

Anyway, how often do you see a controversial play get reviewed, and the former coaches and players commentating on the game look at the replay and state how obvious it is that the play will be reversed or stand, then the official comes out from under the hood and makes the opposite call?  That happens several times in the course of the season.   I do not understand the differences in opinions since the clearly stated standard in the rules for replay is "incontrovertible visual evidence".


aventoro
aventoro

1) The let-them-play philosophy espoused in NHL playoff games doesn't seem to work well with the NFL game e.g. Patriots DB's mugging of the Rams WR's during their Superbowl matchup.  

2) A laissez-faire approach to the rules is not consistent with making player safety paramount.  I applaud the league for protecting players with new rules as well as the stricter application of the old rules.  It does not detract from the game.  Frankly, watching slow motion replays of Hines Ward ear-holing a defenceless DB/LB was not something I enjoyed so the game has improved from my perspective.

3) Some old-school guys like Warren Sapp have a "who moved my cheese" disdain for the rule changes.  The reality is that things change and we have to figure out a way to embrace that change.  For instance, the last time I checked the whole Internet thing seems to be working pretty well for MMQB & SI.com

4) Thanks to instant replay the process has never been more fair to teams.  

Philiprules
Philiprules

So many commenting on something they know absolutely nothing about, but that's the beauty of internet commentary. Anyone who thinks these guys are part time have no idea what the officials do to get to and stay in the NFL. I've had the privilege of talking with a current NFL crew chief who told me his typical in season time spent on football amounts to about 50-55 hours per week due to rules study & testing, film review, league business, travel arrangements, travel, pre and post game meetings, oh and a game too. Off season probably 20-25 hours. Won't even get into the time they have to put in for workouts so they can physically complete the game with never getting to come off the field except during half time. You think that's easy? Put down the beer and chips, get off your sofa and see how many sprints of anywhere from 5 to 80 yards you can run in a 3 hour period and don't forget you get to watch 22 of the biggest and fastest athletes in the world pound into each other while making sure they are not doing something that is against an ever changing rule set and also has some effect on the play while doing it.

Have calls been royally screwed up? Have calls been missed? You betcha and there will always be bad calls, so get used to it. I'm sure next time your favorite player fails at his assignment or your coach makes some terrible play call, you'll ream them just as much. For what it's worth, my opinion for the SF/NO and J/NE calls everyone is worked up about....in the end the correct call was made. Might have been explained better for the rabid rabble out there, but the calls were how the league wants it called.

redbeans
redbeans

I am sure that there are many tough decisions that put all refs in a bad spot. But, when they miss the obvious calls like the Saints player hitting the Dallas kickoff returner way out of bounds and call nothing, then they have no excuses. Even the broadcast crew with Chris Collinsworth said it was an obvious penalty. In this instance, the Dallas player was injured and the game was stopped for a good 5 minutes. And during that time, no ref could review the play to see that a penalty was needed. I have no sympathy for the refs when they miss the obvious call.

stuckinlodi
stuckinlodi

The NFL owners need to pony up and hire full-time refs.  Hire some  young washout wannabe pro footballers and have them train and work year round.  They will be able to physically keep up with the game far better than todays overwhelmingly older officials, and they will be far better for devoting their full energies to the job.  Having part-time officials at this level makes no sense at all.

YourJudgeandJury
YourJudgeandJury

I don't give a damn about how they rule the game.  They all make more $$$ than most of us so it's nothing more than a rich boy's playtime.  Maybe they should adapt Rugby rules (was it one or two pages???).

UnishowponyWherebeef
UnishowponyWherebeef

Thankless jobs are not jobs in which someone works a couple of hours each week for a couple of months per year - and gets to be on TV no less - and is then compensated with, on average, $178,000 per year. 

tom.aikins
tom.aikins

The problem in the Patriots game isn't that the ref made the wrong call. He made the right call and then was overruled even though he had the best view of the play of any official. How can things like that happen?

PaulSchuster
PaulSchuster

The biggest problem with refs in the NFL is the relative severity of the penalties compared to most sports. In hockey or basketball a makeup call can be normally made to "right" a given questionable call with little effect on the outcome of a game. 

On the other hand in football there is no way to "right" a call. Most defensive penalties come with a free first down, there is no offensive penalties that have that kind of ability to completely wipe out up to 3 previous plays. Also there is no offensive penalties that have the ability to overturn a catastrophic failure like a fumble or int, both of which can be overruled by a defensive penalty.

This is the primary problem and failure of the NFL rulebook, mistakes will happen, judgment calls will be found wanting but with such a dissonance built in some one will always be mad with the result. All because common defensive fouls are so much more serious than egregious offensive fouls.

tmadz
tmadz

The real problem is the NFL turning the game into the mess it is. With reaction from the owners of their  high priced QB's getting hurt, the NFL has changed the rules to make it all offense and created piles of judgement calls that have to be made by referees. More than any other sport, it seems. Let's be honest, these rules were put in place to protect OFFENSIVE players. Take a look at all of the personal foul penalties that can be called against the defense with the objective of protecting QB's and receivers.  The defense doesn't know how to tackle or hit without fear of getting a penalty and then a fine. 

The NFL should blame itself for this morass or subjective rules and monster players. Look at the average size of players now compared to 25 years ago, let alone 50 years ago. Maybe the NFL should be more concerned and absolutely serious about banning, testing for and eliminating performance enhancing drugs. It just seems that players have gotten so big, so specialized and so strong that the human body has reached its limits and can't take the pounding that it is being subjected to from equally large players.

While instant replay can make anyone look foolish with the ability to review any call from 20+ HD cameras in the stadium, these players are elite athletes and the game moves faster than ever before and ref's are required to instantly review a myriad of potential penalties on every play. The NFL also doesn't want  replay on personal fouls because the games are already long enough with so many commercials and breaks. The networks have to do that to pay off these massive television contracts. Now, technology has taken this to the next level. Because there are only 16 real games a year (everyone know what a sham and theft the preseason is), the average fan can sit in comfort at home and have instant recall of statistics, personal instant replay with DVR's  and the ability to gorge themselves at home while paying a fraction of the price of food and drink in the stadium. It has Goodell really scared. Too bad the NFL has reacted to the plights of the owners and not those of of the fans.

Will we instead be talking about professional lacrosse in 20 years?

RedDan
RedDan

The key points here are 1) arbitrary and subjective enforcement and 2) poorly worded and overly intricate rules, conditions, clauses, and exceptions.

There two basic options: 

1) simplify the rule book to an extreme extent: defenseless PLAYER is blindsided = foul; ANY tackle around head or neck = foul; ANY contact with Receiver before ball arrives = foul; OBVIOUS change in receiver's trajectory = foul; ANY holding = foul. Call and penalize all instances of fouls, period, full stop, under any and every situation. Review gameplay impact, and if certain calls are dominating play and changing the tone of the game overall, then loosen the rule.

2) Maintain rule book complexity and depth, clarify conflicting rules, eliminate inconsistencies, and rewrite vague language. Make penalties reviewable. Give coaches option to use challenges to ask for or refute penalties called or not called. "Hey ref, there was holding on that play [throw red flag]"

No penalty should ever result in loss or gain of more than 15 yards (pass interference rules are outdated). 15 yard penalties should be reserved for egregious unsportsmanlike play (personal fouls, taunting, showboating, unnecessary roughness, etc). 10 yard penalties should be for play-changing, game changing infractions (holding, interference). 5 yard penalties for technical infractions (illegal contact, offside, illegal motion, false start). No penalty should give automatic first down - down should be determined by distance alone.

Either ALL infractions should be (ideally) called at any time in the game, OR... if that causes coaches and players to game the system to try and draw penalties at critical times, then there should be an explicit rule in place that in the final two minutes, only egregious penalties will be called, with egregious being carefully defined to incorporate "clearly play or game changing."

Full disclosure: I am a Pats fan. I have watched the Patriots lose two games based on poor calls: one against the Jets on a call that was never flagged prior and has never been flagged since; and one against the Panthers on a call that was so egregiously bad that I have no words to describe it. The SportsScience segment on that play is a must see.

I have also watched the 49ers lose a game on a terribly called, unjustified penalty. Watched the Patriots win a game on a last second touchdown pass during which an egregious holding violation was completely missed (Saints D-lineman grabbed around the neck!!). Watched the Patriots make a massive comeback and win a game against the Dolphins with the help of some of the worst officiating I've seen in football (until this weekend). Watched Marcus Cannon commit a terrible personal foul during the Panthers/Pats game that went uncalled... and on and on and on.

There is no question in my mind that the records of at least half the teams in the league could be different by as much as a 4 game swing. Pats could be 9 and 1 or 5 and 5. Jets could be 3 and 7. Tampa could be 4 and 6 instead of 2 and 8. Those changes in win/loss record all hinge on one call. That is unacceptable.

I think the point that the refs are human, fallible, and WILL make mistakes is a good one. We need to remember that they will not see everything or call everything properly. That ref A, ref B, ump A and line judge B will not see the same part of the play at the same moment. This too is part of the game... HOWEVER... as stated above, there are several ways to limit the impact... and limiting the impact is crucial when the season is only 16 games, and the fortunes of a team, the make up of the playoff roster, the job security of coaches, the popularity and profitability of a city's pro franchise... all ride on the game being honest, transparent, and fair.

Riggo44
Riggo44

Being an NFL referee is the cushiest job I've ever heard of!! Who else makes $150K+ for working 16 games a year?? I've never understood why the NFL doesn't make them full-time and require them to work during the week. Instead, all these guys have regular jobs during the week and just show up on the weekends to collect their massive paycheck. No other sport is comparable - baseball, basketball, and hockey all work constantly, but somehow the NFL thinks it's OK to allow games to be decided by guys who just show up on Sundays. They should be spending the week reviewing tape on calls and being quizzed on rules to ensure the best possible refereeing. How can anyone possibly have any sympathy for these guys???

DonaldD
DonaldD

NFL is starting to look like the NBA. Most of the receivers are flailing their arms if they don't catch the ball. The players do nothing but trash talk the whole game. Fans are paying $100.00 or more to watch this crap in person. A lot of teams can't fill their stadiums.

Will the NFL exist with in 10 / 20 years with all their problems? Additionally, youth football is losing players. Some high schools are eliminating football. There goes the feeder systems.

Then you always have those that think a lot of games are rigged.

dt
dt

It's not that HARD to be an NFL ref. It's not easy, but Banks is making it seem impossible.  Just make the right calls and make them consistently!  Maybe that last play for NE was not pass interference, but it sure as hell is HOLDING!  If you're going to call defensive holding on McCourty after the Panthers TE hooked his arm and dragged him, you better call it when Keuchly was hugging Gronk like a fruitcake at a gay pride parade.

JasonHunsicker
JasonHunsicker

Out of all professional sports, NFL referees are the absolute worst at their jobs. This article is a horrendous defense of a group of people who are the most inconsistent appliers of rules in the sports world. They are too often swayed by the helpless quarterback, or the animated wide receiver, and are truly afraid to make big calls with the game on the line, when they suddenly decide to "let the players decide the game." It's an absolute joke, and it ruins the enjoyment we should be getting out of the NFL. If the NFL wants to make its game safer, then remove the current crop of attention-hogging refs and bring in a new wave of guys who are willing to make the calls and enforce the rules. 

hfuhruhurr
hfuhruhurr

Why is it acceptable to only point out perceived mistakes of the refs/officials?  No one ever writes an article that says the ref crew did a fantastic job and breaks down the amazing calls they got correct.  If your team "lost" the game because of one call a ref made then perhaps your team didn't deserve to win.  I'm pretty sure your team had about 59 other minutes to man up and earn the win on their own merit.

HaroldPritchard
HaroldPritchard

I have in the past hated the refs for both bad calls and non-calls (remember Seattle and Green Bay); But this last weekend the refs were right-on in both cases. What disturbs me is that many are just looking at what the call did to change the game. Please people, more is at stake than a game. In the Saints-49ers, the QB's head was snapped back like a willow stick. A little more and it might be fatal. When the day comes that a player is killed or crippled for life (ask Tulane) the apologist like Ray Lewis won't even discuss the play, they will be off to rant about something else.

StevedeKater
StevedeKater

What gets me is how  many were so critical of the replacement refs during the strike, yet how many brutal calls have we seen since the regular officials returned?

riley8
riley8

Calls will be missed here and there but calls determining the outcome of an NFL game should NEVER be missed.  These guys are constantly "dropping the ball" when the game is on the line.  When you talk abt the refs as much as anything something is VERY wrong.

steelerman
steelerman

Spare me. Most people work high stress thankless jobs for far less compensation.

hr334466
hr334466

400k a year for a part time gig for most.  Yeah, I won't be shedding any tears.

Mike26
Mike26

@Philiprules Philip, you don't sound like a nice person at all so your post has no credibility.  

Mike26
Mike26

@stuckinlodi Yeah, when I look for good employees I start with washouts....

UnishowponyWherebeef
UnishowponyWherebeef

@stuckinlodi  FULL TIME REFS!?!?!?!?

The average annual salary for a NFL referee is $178,000. Guys with 10 years experience make over $200,000

If these guys don't consider refereeing to be their "full time" job then they should be immediately canned and shipped off to Charlie at the bottom of the sea...

rugbycoach
rugbycoach

@YourJudgeandJury Rugby has 30 players on the field in constant motion with one referee and 2 sideline "touch judges" who provide some inputs especially for foul play. Video reply is only used to determine whether a "try" - the rugby equivalent of a touchdown - has been scored. Rugby has "laws" not rules and they are fairly extensive - 210 pages to be exact and the laws are always being amended.

Needless to say, in that environment lots of calls get missed or are incorrect even at the international level. I wouldn't'\t want to be a ref at any level in any sport - too much abuse. Ever see a poor kid refereeing a child's house league soccer game?

Mike26
Mike26

@tom.aikins The referee didn't make the original call. BTW, it WAS the correct call to wave off the flag.

dakatzin
dakatzin

@PaulSchuster "Also there is no offensive penalties that have the ability to overturn a catastrophic failure like a fumble or int, both of which can be overruled by a defensive penalty."

What about holding or illegal block which can nullify a long gain or even a touchdown?

DJL329
DJL329

@RedDan"No penalty should ever result in loss or gain of more than 15 yards (pass interference rules are outdated)."

If you do that, then on any long pass, especially ones to the end zone, there will be little deterrent to keep the defense from knocking the receivers down before the ball arrives.  Sorry, but it won't work.

Philiprules
Philiprules

@Riggo44 So many here talking about stuff they know absolutely nothing about. They do take a weekly test. They do review film of their entire game and plays the league wants them aware of every week. They do have to submit reports to the league on every call they made during the game every week. They do get reviewed and criticized by the league on every play for every game and are evaluated not only if they made a correct call but whether they were even in the right place to make the call.

I've had the privilege of talking with a current NFL crew chief a few times and he states on average during the season between test taking, film review

anon76
anon76

@Riggo44 

MLB, NHL, and NBA games are played Sunday-Saturday, every week of the year for 7 months.  NFL games are played Sundays, with occasional Monday and Thursday nighters, over the course of Sep-Dec, with a few slower weeks for preseason and playoffs.  Each NBA & NHL team plays a minimum of around 80 games, and each MLB team plays around 150 games.  Each NFL team plays a minimum of 16 games.  If you can't see why that difference in workload leads to the difference in full/part time status, then you're far more blind than the average NFL ref.

KevinDoyle
KevinDoyle

@Riggo44 You have no idea of the commitment it takes to be an official. To make a comment like that is ludicrous. Regardless of whether it is "full time" or "part time" a lot of work is required to stay on top of rules, go over points of emphasis, etc. If anyone thinks it is easy go out and try and officiate a youth game, much less a game with the speed and power of a National Football League game.

RedDan
RedDan

@dt Can the refs run a 4.4 40 yard dash? Can the refs run a 6.0 40 yard dash? Are the refs 6'6" tall? Can the refs see the entire field from an elevated vantage point? can the refs see player X through players A, B, and C? 

No. They cannot. The refs are almost uniformly older, slower, shorter than the players. The refs are positioned at vantage points with limited views, from a horizontal plane on the same level as the much larger players, running at full speed, in deafening noise conditions, with 22 bodies flying around (and a ball)... their job is very difficult.

anon76
anon76

@JasonHunsicker 

No way you can say that NBA refs are less arbitrary or inconsistent.  The delineation between basketball players that get the all-star calls and the other scrubs could not be clearer.  NFL officiating can be maddening on occasion (I believe both of the calls were wrong this weekend, for instance), but they'll never compare to NBA.

hfuhruhurr
hfuhruhurr

@JasonHunsicker Do you honestly think there are better, more qualified refs not being used?  Do you think there are better, more qualified football players just sitting around waiting to get their chance to play in the NFL?

anon76
anon76

@hfuhruhurr 

I believe "hard to make the calls correct 100% of the time" is the exact sentiment of this article, so not sure why you're complaining.

As a player, "we should have made the other plays to win the game" is the only constructive attitude to have in such a situation, and it's true to an extent.  However, as a fan we are free to point out that the other team did no more correct to win the game than our team did, they just benefitted from a blown call

anon76
anon76

@HaroldPritchard 

Actually, Brees' head appeared to snap FORWARD, not back, because the inertia imparted was delivered to his sternum instead of his neck, and so (by Newton's 1st law of motion) his head remained stationary while the rest of his body moved backwards.  It was simply not an illegal hit- I'm sure it hurt (like many other legal hits do), but clearly Brees was able to shake it off and continue playing.  Should the Chicago Bears' DB be penalized for the legal hit that took Rogers out for 4-6 weeks?  Should Andrew Luck be penalized for the poorly thrown ball that led to Wayne's knee injury?  Good players are injured all of the time in football, that doesn't mean that rules should be arbitrarily changed on the spot in order to discourage physical play by the defense.

dt
dt

@StevedeKater They took on some replacement refs as full time...

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

@steelerman Yeah, but this story was about referees. If you want to write one about plumbers or bankers feel free.

UnishowponyWherebeef
UnishowponyWherebeef

@DJL329

"If you do that, then on any long pass, especially ones to the end zone, there will be little deterrent to keep the defense from knocking the receivers down before the ball arrives.  Sorry, but it won't work."

You argument could be applied to any penalty in football and would, justifiably, be shredded each time.

Why would any team on defense want to give the offense a 15-yard advancement and a first down? A defensive player who goes after the ball can knock down the receiver without penalty.

RedDan
RedDan

@DJL329 @RedDan 10 yard penalty and repeat down (unless it's a first down) is noting to sneeze at. 55 yard penalties in an environment where apparently thinking bad things about the receiver from a distance of 25 yards is pass interference (unless the Receiver's name begins with Rob and ends with Gronkowski, that is)...

College rules have it right. Pro rules are relics of the dead ball era.

Cory19
Cory19

@Mike26 @UnishowponyWherebeef @DJL329 So you mean that if you were an NFL DB and you realized that you were about to get burned deep, you wouldn't do anything possible to tackle the receiver before he gets completely past you?

And what about the palably unfair act that can result in a touchdown.  In last years superbowl Joe flacco was walking around on the sidelines before the last punt(maybe kickoff) of the game telling his teammates that if the 49ers started to break off a long return to run on the field and make the tackle.


Newsletter