The loser Monday night? The NFL
That show Packer fans watched Monday night? Call it “Clueless in Seattle.” And no, I’m not talking about the Packer offensive line’s first-half performance. I’m talking, of course, about the NFL’s replacement referees, who obviously aren’t up to the task as the league negotiates a contract dispute with its regular refs.
What a travesty. What an abomination.
It was a short night’s sleep, and if you’re like me, you slept fitfully. I told my wife I’d be downstairs early, blogging about my frustrations.
“I’m not surprised,” she said.
It only seemed like the yellow flag was tossed on about every other play after the Packers entered hostile CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
I’d watched most of ESPN’s pregame show, including complaints about officiating through the weekend and arguments and coaches physically making contact with the guys in stripes that have already led to two fines and perhaps more to come.
Those frustrations are nothing compared to what Packer fans are feeling today.
As a story in today’s Gazette suggests, repeated shoving matches after key plays in Sunday night’s Ravens-Patriots game amounted to the “substitute-teacher syndrome”—pushing the limits to see how much you can get away with before the regular teacher (or in this case the regular refs) return.
Some of that same syndrome brought the proliferation of flags Monday night, as well, that makes a game anything but enjoyable to watch.
Then came the fourth quarter. The refs called pass interference on Seattle that helped Green Bay on its touchdown drive. They missed one I’d have called on Charles Woodson on a play over the middle in the final seconds.
But calling interference on Sam Shields on that long pass down the left sideline that got Seattle out of a big hole from previous penalties? Shields had perfect position. It was clearly offensive, not defensive, interference.
Before that, how do you not give the Pack a first down when it appeared clear Greg Jennings had reached the marker before his foot slipped out of bounds on what at first was called a touchdown but was correctly called back? How do you call roughing the passer on a Packer who clearly dove for former Badger quarterback Russell Wilson before Wilson launched a pass that was intercepted? The interception, which most likely would have secured a Packer victory, was thus nullified.
Even if you ignore Golden Tate's knocking Shields out of the way on that final play, how in the world do you suggest the “tie” goes to Seattle when it appeared obvious to every viewer but those who count that Packer M.D. Jennings had the ball secured against his body for an interception?
My son called as the refs sorted it out. As we talked, I thought clearly the replay review would overturn the call. But then I thought—why would it? The refs have made a calamity of the entire game.
Maybe they feared getting out of that stadium alive had they overturned it. Who knows?
If there was any justice in the NFL, the league would take a second look at the replays of that final play and overturn the victory today in favor of the Packers. That, of course won’t happen.
“These games are a joke,” Hall of Fame quarterback Tory Aikman tweeted.
Yup, they are. The NFL has a credibility crisis, and it can count out this fan until it gets its regular refs back. I won’t watch another minute. My time is too valuable to watch what, as ESPN commentator Jon Gruden said Monday, is “tragic” and “comical.”