N-F-aiL, refs need the boot

By Daniel Hill
Sports Writer

It was perhaps the most bizarre and absurd way to end a football game. The entire nation saw the referees rob the Green Bay Packers of a win and hand the Seahawks a win in one of the most controversial endings the NFL has ever witnessed.

You’ve probably heard by now that the NFL is using replacement referees to officiate games because of the labor strife with the qualified referees. The scrutiny and frustration of tz event occurred that put the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell in an unwanted spotlight.

With no time left in regulation and with Seattle down 12-7, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson scrambled in the backfield and lofted a desperation pass for the end zone. Seahawks receiver Golden Tate was trying to position himself so that he could make the catch in the end zone. Tate blatantly threw Packers cornerback Sam Shields to the ground, which was blatant offensive pass interference. The referees should have called the pass interference, which would have made the Packers victorious. But the refs did not call the obvious pass interference.

With the ball still in the air, every player in the end zone leapt as high as possible to try to make the game-winning play. Packers safety M.D. Jennings appeared to intercept the ball in the end zone, which would have been a touchback. But Tate, grabbed at the ball as Jennings was on the way down and got his hands on the football. The NFL ruled that Tate and Jennings was a simultaneous catch and awarded the touchdown to the Seahawks. This guaranteed a Seahawks victory because it gave them a 13-12 lead with no time left in regulation.

There were nine first downs from penalties in this game with 24 total penalties called. The Packers had 10 penalties for 127 yards and the Seahawks had 14 for 118 yards. 24 penalties in a single game is overwhelming and uncalled for.

It is time for the NFL to bring back the qualified officials. The unqualified replacement officials from the lowest ranks of college football have undoubtedly demonstrated that they are simply not up to the task.

Asking a replacement official to referee an NFL game is an unfair request. These officials take far too long to decipher penalties and to make decisions. They disrupt the flow of the game. They jeopardize player safety. For all the talk of the NFL implementing new rules to protect the players, they’ve shown themselves to be hypocrites because they hired officials who cannot protect the players.

Oakland Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was in the hospital this weekend after a Pittsburgh Steelers player decked him right in the face.

Aside from the devastating injury, the worst part of the play was that the Steelers weren’t even penalized.

The referees are calling penalties on the slightest of details, but they fail to call penalties on the most blatant offenses.

The NFL is embarrassing itself with the inadequate officiating.

The referees dictated the outcome of this Monday Night Football game. Is the league so full of pride that they won’t bother to address the issue?

Is the NFL honestly concerned about player safety as they won’t allow the best referees to do their job?

With the NFL being a multi-billion dollar entity, why won’t they sacrifice a slight amount of money to bring back the real officials and restore quality and integrity to the NFL product?

This is a mess of a situation. The NFL needs to act now to save its reputation and its place in the heart of the United States as America’s game.