My Memory is not that Long
I have been watching Monday Night Football between the Green Bay Packers at the Seattle Seahawks. No brainer, right? All the experts tell us that the Packers or the 49ers are the greatest teams in the game. So far, the Seahawks have sacked the ‘great’ Aaron Rodgers 8 times in the first half. Statistics for past years will tell you that the Pittsburgh Steelers have had the best overall defense in the NFL, and yet they allowed the worst or second worst team in football to beat them on Sunday.
Seattle was in a Superbowl, and lost to the Steelers. Maybe they took a lesson from that game and decided as I did when I was a much younger man, that ‘defense wins championships’. I have not witnessed a secondary as talented as are the cornerbacks and safeties of the Seahawks in many years. To sack Aaron Rodgers eight times in a single half is to proclaim them as the best defense in all of football.
Legendary defensive coordinators such as Dick LeBeau may have to consider retirement. If teams cannot adapt to the new alignment, to the aggressive schemes of younger assistant coaches, they will fail.
But here comes the second half. Green Bay’s offense is not done. With less than four and a half minute left in the game, the Packers are ahead 12 to 7.
Russell Wilson, the 5 foot 10 inch rookie sensation shows poise beyond his years. With one play left, fourth down and win or lose, he launches a ‘hail Mary’ into the end zone. The Packer’s Greg Jennings intercepted the ball, pulling it into his chest. The Seahawk’s Golden Tate had the ball in two hands, after pushing a Packer player in the back, enabling him to make a play on the ball. The officials ruled a ‘simultaneous possession, giving the Seahawks a touchdown, and the victory with no time left on the clock.
I have written articles about the poor officiating in the NFL, but this series of mistakes that cost the Packers a victory is unforgiveable.
I was cheering for the Seahawks, but this entire abominable sequence of mistakes by the replacement referees is entirely regrettable.
The Seahawks played an incredible game, and they should have won. But to give them the game, to take it away from the Packers by putting it in the hands of the referees, and not the ‘real ones’ is a blight on the greatest game in sports.
If, tomorrow morning, the coaches and players decided not to play until the NFL commissioner, and the greedy owners commit to settling a contract with the regular officials, I would support them.
I think that the worst of all officials reside within the NFL. Even after instant replay, they are too often wrong, and they are not subject to equal punishment as are the players. But this is out of hand. I watched part of at least six games on Sunday, and witnessed too many calls that possibly changed the outcome of the games.
Professional football is the most watched, most profitable venue in the world. To remove even one percent of its integrity is preposterous.
I am not angry at the replacement officials. They are doing the best that they can. But they are in no way qualified to effectively officiate the games of the National Football League. The players are too fast, plays happen too quickly.
I want to tell the League and the owners to get their heads out of their behinds and make the game safe, and the results just. I guess I just did.