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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Comments

I'm not sure it was such a bad call. Four hands on the ball goes to the offence. I'm surprised the announcers take shots at the "fake refs" at will and, in this instance, the announcers themselves were on shaky ground. It was a close debatable call to be sure. It wasn't a "bad" call.
Stepping back a little, this whole issue of paying the "real refs" is, I assume, an issue about money. It would be nice to have a few more facts regarding the labor dispute.

I watched it. Green Bay was robbed. That game-winning call was shameful. (This, coming from a Bears fan ... the team Green Bay creamed last week.)

NFL needs to get this strike over this week.

So. How's the photography been at football games so far this season?
;-)

Enthusiast football.

Chris Sorlie,
It's not JUST about the final call. There were at least three game-changing blown calls prior to the last play. The established play of receivers vs. secondary are generally not being enforced or not being enforced correctly.

Mike

Over in Europe, soccer is having similar pains related to how games should be refereed. I initially wrote policed instead of refereed, but the reason it sound odd is because it is a game and no real life.

Let's start from there: it is a game.

I think a few phenomena are at play here. First, in the age of computers and computer games, our expectations are for flawless adherence to the rules that are "programmed" into the game. These expectations have put pressure on sport governing bodies (NFL, FIFA, ...) to come up with solutions to remove the human element from refereeing.

The thing is, no solutions are needed because refereeing isn't broken. It's our expectations that have shifted unreasonably. It's a game played by humans that have a natural instinct to cheat and to play fair at the same time. It is also a game refereed by humans that err. I am not lost for words. I mean err as in "to err is human".

But all games should be fair, right? No, not really. To think that that is possible is silly. An entire championship should be fair, otherwise the champion would be without merit. And the law of averages says sometimes the bad call will favor one team, sometimes the other, but in the long rum it evens out.

Of course one should also consider other phenomena that can affect a referee's judgement, such as bribes and what not, but that is not really the issue here, is it?

I agree with some of what you said above, but here is what I don't understand. I was under the impression that a "league official" was upstairs and would help when reviewing the plays. The last play (touchdown) that you referenced was reviewed. If so, and my assumption above is correct, why wasn't the TD call reversed?

I also thought the pass interference against GB was a bad one! Aren't these refs supposed to have experience? Pass interference is something about which they should know even at their level. I too feel bad for the Packers.

"The last play (touchdown) that you referenced was reviewed. If so, and my assumption above is correct, why wasn't the TD call reversed?"

Rumor is, that's what Aaron Rodgers is furious about.

Mike

Yes, "travesty" pretty much sums it up. The best analysis I've read--and since midnight I've read more than I'll admit--was by Sports Illustrated's Peter King.

If Commissioner Goodell really cares about "the integrity of the game," he has no choice but to end the lockout. Unfortunately for him, the nationwide-front-page-news coverage of this game means the referees have an even stronger bargaining position this morning than they did before.

(P.S. A reader-proposed headline on the Milwaukee Journal's website: "Tate catches Jennings for Game Winning Score".)

Hi Mike,

I don't have as nearly much blog traffic as you, even though we use the same words!

http://kofronphotography.com/blog/a-pack-pact.html

Atrocious.

"I also hold grudges. If some company or organization does something really stupid or venal or shoddy, I remember it and act accordingly. "

I still avoid EXXON/Mobil if I can when buying gas because they never apologized for the EXXON Valdez oil spill and I won't go near a Walmart... but I do like those People of Walmart pics... ugh.

If you really want to swear off football, this paragraph should help:

"After all, the NFL’s dispute with its regular referees reportedly boils down to money. An exceedingly small amount of money -- $16.5 million, to be exact, which is basically what the officials are asking for via pay raises and a continuation of their current pension plan, a minor duke’s ransom the league adamantly refuses to fork over. Read that again: $16.5 million. That’s less than half of Drew Brees’ $37 million signing bonus. Less than the reported $20 million NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will soon make annually. Way less than the estimated $40 million Jerry Jones dropped on the Ozymandias-shaming HD Jumbotron at Cowboys Stadium. Nothing pro football, a $9.3 billion-a-year industry, can’t write off as a rounding error. Or better yet, a tax break. (Trust me: The NFL’s lawyers have figured out a way to make the league qualify as a non-profit organization. You don’t think they can turn $16.5 million of referee pension payments into a deductible expense?)"

Taken from here:
http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/38989360

I did not know the NFL is a non-profit organization. Ugh.

I agree Mike, it's not NFL football anymore. I had to stop watching after the blown pass interference call that led up to the touchdown. The game had become a farce (1.absurd situation: a ridiculous situation in which everything goes wrong or becomes a sham). I hope the owners come to their senses soon.

Sounds as bad as the U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. basketball final in 1972!

Mike, I know what you mean about boycotting companies. I haven't bought a gallon of Exxon gas since the Valdez incident. I purchased a Sony F-707 along with their promise that higher capacity memory sticks were on the way. They came out less than a year later and weren't compatible with my camera. I haven't purchased anything from Sony since.

>Dennis Miller can do that to you. His great gift—and it's rare—is to be a reactionary idiot while at the same time sounding like he's smart.

+1000

"The fake refs are essentially retraining the players—teaching them that they can get away with a lot more cheating, and retraining them to play dirtier and more dangerously."

Sorry Mike, but I'm not buying that. By the time a player gets to the NFL, they've played organized football most of their life. He knows what the rules are and what dirty play is. The rules of the game and those of fair play haven't changed.

Each player can choose how he conducts himself on the field. Do you really think that anarchy is inevitable in the presence of weak authority? If so, woe is us!

In addition, the league and the teams themselves have plenty of authority over player conduct. Their silence in the face of the violent chaos on the field is very telling. If Larry Linebacker punches Fred Fullback in the kidneys at the 50 yard line on national TV, nothing happens. Oh, but heaven help Larry Linebacker if he gets pulled over by the police on his way home from the game with booze on his breath! He'll certainly be fined heavily by his team AND the league for conduct detrimental to the game.

Character, values, and the will to do good. Missing at all levels of the NFL. The product on the field perfectly reflects the attitude of management.

The Onion summed it up... "Steve Young suffers a concussion trying to explain last night's call."

I agree that the season will now be asterisked.

Estimates also go as high as $1billion on losses worldwide from betting and fantasy football. Maybe that's the only plus.

I hope the real refs come back before the Ravens play the Steelers; someone could get killed in that game.

What bothers me is that the players could end this in a heartbeat, if they stood by the real officials and refused to play.
So much for solidarity.

I am an avid NHL fan (well, a fanatic Toronto Maple Leafs fan, to be honest,) and if the current lockout goes deep into the year or an entire season (again), I will join you, Mike in a post-disruption boycott, even if it means missing the Leafs making a run for the cup. (And please, no smart remarks from anyone about the chances for that ...)

IMO, this lockout is purely about the owners being totally venal and disrespectful of the fans. I'll be watching a lot of AHL and junior hockey this year.

A pox on the commissioner and the cowardly owners who hide behind his smirking "smile".

While the results of that final touchdown are debatable, the clear cut travesty was the defensive pass interference against GB on the long Sidney Rice pass, and, the slightly earlier roughing the passer call against GB. If either of those penalties had not been called, as they should not have been, I doubt the Seahawks would have been in position for that last pass.
The NFL needs to suck it up, admit this policy re the 'real' refs is in error, and bring the pros back.

According to Mike and Mike on ESPN radio this morning, the review at the end of the game could NOT be used to determine who had possession. That's not reviewable under current rules; It's assumed that it's a judgement call, and shouldn't be second guessed. (Ha!) All the review official could look at was whether or not the ball was caught by someone, anyone - e.g. that it didn't hit the ground.

And Jeff - That $1 billion dollars isn't a loss - it's just the amount of money paid in one direction of bets, that would have gone to other people if the Packers had won. There is no "loss", just an exchange of money.

Never mind the first part of my last post... Now I see that the NFL shows Mike and Mike to be wrong...

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000066164/article/nfl-supports-decision-to-not-overturn-seahawks-touchdown

This is what I get for not doing my research.

Isn't anyone going to say that Jennings misplayed the pass? The defense should always knock a Hail Mary to the ground, never try for an interception.

I haven't watched an NFL game since the Ice Bowl (why bother?), and I haven't seen even the replay of the catch. But I was amused this morning when the Lingerie Football League disclosed that several officiating crews they had sacked for incompetence last season were now working NFL games.

"Isn't anyone going to say that Jennings misplayed the pass? The defense should always knock a Hail Mary to the ground, never try for an interception."

I'll concede that. In this case he should have flipped it back, towards the stands.

In the Chicago<-->K.C. game I saw last year as Michael's guest, Brian Urlacher knocked a hail Mary to the ground...and hit a K.C. player who had fallen down and was LYING on the ground. The ball hit him in the belly, and he grabbed it for a touchdown! Amazing but true. So knocking it to the ground doesn't always work....

Mike

Other than the kickoffs to start each half and overtime, every team should just do a kneel-down on every play, no passing, no running, no time-outs. Four-and-out every time. Imagine if all the teams did that on Week 4. The games would be over in roughly an hour and a half, and no one would watch. No one would show up the following week at the stadiums, and networks would complain. Do that every week until the owners come to their senses.

On the subject of knocking it down.... earlier the same day Detroit completed a hail-mary when the Titans defender tried to knock it down and it went straight to Titus Young for a touchdown!

'What's the opposite of "consumer loyalty?"'

Consumer rage? Consumer grudge? Consumer disaffection?

I too turned away from pro baseball after the strike. Never turned back. I have limited leisure time, and there are plenty of sports. I haven't watched much NFL the last couple of years, but I sure as hell don't want to waste my time watching the fiasco it's turned into.

@beuler: Maybe you haven't been following the story, but what people are mad about here is not lack of perfection, but lack of professionalism; that is, the competence that they are accustomed to from professional *human* referees. Those competent refs have been replaced by incompetent substitutes.

You're right. And if the phantom PI call on GB's go ahead drive hadn't been called on 3rd and long (and outside field goal range), the Seahawks might not have have needed to throw that last pass. Hard to tell who got hosed in this one when the mistake calls led to scoring both ways.

>While the results of that final touchdown are debatable, the clear cut travesty was the defensive pass interference against GB on the long Sidney Rice pass, and, the slightly earlier roughing the passer call against GB. If either of those penalties had not been called, as they should not have been, I doubt the Seahawks would have been in position for that last pass.
The NFL needs to suck it up, admit this policy re the 'real' refs is in error, and bring the pros back.<

People respond to incentives. Especially highly-competitve people such as professional athletes. Now, the incentives are partly what they're being told by their coaches and trainers and team managers; but in the absence of that, it's inevitable that they'll explore the boundaries of the new refereeing. In fact, they wouldn't be doing their job as professional competitors if they didn't!

Which means, yes, it's important to get things under control before people get hurt bad. Luckily I'm not emotionally invested in the sport or the players, and consider those playing at the pro level to have undertaken the risks knowingly.

Is Chicagoland near Chicago?

"Is Chicagoland near Chicago?"

Uh, yes. It's the "Chicago metropolitan area" and it seems to go on for-effing-ever. The city proper has a population of 2.7 million; Chicagoland has a population of 9.8 million.

Mike

NFL Team owners are company CEOs and do what big company CEOs have been doing for decades now: squeeze trained professionals out of their jobs and replace them with low pay, minimum training, easily replaceable, 'human resources.' When customer service agents were replaced by scripted automatons, when retail sales people, bank tellers, even flight attendants were replaced by fast food servers, when qualified industry workers were replaced by offshore slave labor, nobody really complained very loud - because it could mean lower prices. But, if it is going to affect Pro Football, now we are going to have some reaction.
Sorry, too little too late. This train has left.

What's the opposite of "consumer loyalty"?

Producer antipathy

"Lord of the Flies" was a novel I was made to read at school. It is about a group of schoolboys who find themselves stranded on an uninhabited island and who, in the absence of moderating adult influence, regress to savagery. I suspect you are seeing the same thing playing out, except it is not just the lack of moderating influence here but malign 'older boys' who are getting the younger ones to push boundaries on their behalf.

"Win at any cost" is a fine slogan for the chair-bound athlete, less so for the wheelchair-bound one. This will not end well.

Maybe they're trying to corner the "prosumer" football market?

With the average price around a hundred bucks for the privilege of wearing a piece of cheese on your head, you'd think that the NFL would find a way to keep qualified refs on the field.

I stopped being interested in sports over 30 years ago for a number of reasons that are of no interest to anyone else. Even I was appalled when I saw the clip on CNN.

I was sort of tongue-in-cheek there Mike. Sorry. So it's "The Chicago Metropolitan area" but unlike other metro areas they call it Chicagoland, eh? Cool. I'm going to see if I can get Sanfranciscoland to catch on here...

"Dennis Miller can do that to you. His great gift—and it's rare—is to be a reactionary idiot while at the same time sounding like he's smart."

Another bullseye from the mid-aged/western/format dude!

Sorry for the hit & run comment. I really did not know what I was talking about. Carry on...

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