Monday, December 06, 2010

Like a Broken Record

Woe is the NFL officiating. I know this has been a repeated focus here on the blog over this past season or two in what is still (for now) the world's greatest sport, but the downslide has continued pretty much from the first game to right now this year, and the truly unbelievable problems with the refereeing in this league simply cannot go away for even one week of the entire season. In a year that began with the refs taking away a clear victory from the hapless Detroit Lions on an obvious touchdown that was wrongfully taken away in the literal final seconds, the refs have more and more exerted their influence and control over the games, including right into this week when fully two of just the three games I was able to watch were clearly straight-up decided by the referees.

First, we have the Ravens-Steelers game on Sunday night, which hopefully some of you sat and watched on national tv -- with the sound down if you're lucky, since Chris Collinsworthless was on the mike -- because then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Now, kudos to Troy Polamalu -- still the best individual player on defense in the entire league -- for the incredible play he made to cause Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco to fumble in the final two minutes of a game that was otherwise pretty much over. It was an amazing play, and frankly it's the kind of thing Mr. Hair has been doing for years, it was pure athleticism, and you can't say anything but amazing things about him or about that play that allowed his team to snatch a victory away from what was othewise a certain 4-point defeat at the hands of the Ravens. That said, the Steelers should never, ever have been in that position, and they wouldn't have been if the referees had not decided earlier in the 4th quarter to simply require that the Steelers get back into a game where they could not do shizzsquat whatsoever on offense throughout. Over two plays in the middle of the 4th quarter on a crucial drive for the Steelers that even with the refs' blatant help they could still only score a field goal on, the refs made two calls that -- although Chris Collfuckworth of course wouldn't say a word about it on the telecast -- were just plain indefensible and were quite obviously done with the intent of allowing Pittsburgh back into the game. First, on the first fourth down the Steelers' faced on the drive, when they hastily decided to go no-huddle and go for it on 4th and 2 around the 50-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger clearly started moving backward before the hike, causing the Ravens' defenders to begin their rush, and of course the call came in as an offsides penalty, which just happened to give the Steelers a much-needed first down, one that everybody in the stadium knew they would have never gotten without the refs' help. Listening to the fuckheads calling the game on NBC's "coverage" (as if they actually cover anything real on that shitshow), you wouldn't even have thought there was any possible disagreement about the call at all. But thank god I'm here to set you straight, because I have these two holes in my skull with some juicy rods and cones in there -- I call them eyes -- and I can use my objective brain to call 'em as I see 'em, and on that one, Ben Roth illegally drew the defense offsides by starting to move before hiking the ball. I guess the refs just missed it?

But that wasn't even the worst part. Later on the same drive, after the refs had already once taken the ball out of the Steelers' inept offense's hands and forced a first down on 4th and 1 once, the refs then turned around on a second 4th and 1 in the same drive -- notice that the Steelers simply could not do shit on offense, which is why they kept needing 5 downs and some help from the refs just to get themselves 10 freaking yards against the Ravens' stingy defense -- and the refs called a silly holding penalty when the Steelers once again failed to get the required yards to keep the drive (and thus the game) alive. Give the Ravens the ball like they earned on that play, and this game was over. The Ravens would only have needed 20 or 30 yards of offense to get another field goal and put the game out of reach for good with little time left. So the refs knew they could not allow the play to stand, so they threw a flag for a tiny, insignificant hold of a player's jersey, the very definition of a flag that could be thrown on every single play of every single NFL game. Don't get me wrong -- the "hold" was there, and could clearly be seen on replay. It was just unbelievably insignificant, and for a stone cold fact far less meaningful to the play than you can see on Every Single Play by every single team of the NFL season. But make no mistake, if you watched this game, then you know that the referees were looking very hard for just that sort of thing to hang their hat on and further extend the game -- which again would have been ova if they had just done the right thing and called this play fairly -- because the refs knew just like everyone in the viewing audience that the Steelers obviously just didn't have the offensive prowess on Sunday night to do it on their own. So the refs barely watched the play where the Ravens essentially closed out the game for the second time in a few minutes, and instead simply stared hard at the line, waiting for the first instance of the kind of jersey gripping that happens in every game, on every play, and could not fall over themselves fast enough to throw that flag and take over control of the game. In the end, laughably, the Steelers still couldn't punch it in the end zone to give the refs the tie game they were really looking for on that drive, but rest assured if there was anything the officials could have done to get the Steelers 7 points, short of literally running up and pushing the runningback somewhere near the goal line so they could then "review" the play on replay and adjudge that he had crossed the plane, they would have. But their whole plan worked, they managed to keep the Steelers in the game just long enough for their best player to step up in a huge spot and make the game look like it was decided by the Steelers' amazing defense instead of by them. But again, thank god you have me so you know who really took care of things on Sunday night. The Steelers have been the beneficiary of four or five absolute gift wins just over the past two seasons, pretty much each one dumber and more unbelievable than the last. Somebody in organized crime out there must looooooove to bet the Steelers, I'll tell you what.

But that game wasn't even the worst example of the officials deciding all by themselves who won a crucial game on Sunday. In the Falcons - Buccaneers game, the Falcons had just come back from a 10-point deficit to take a 4-point lead with a few minutes to go, and the Bucs were driving back down the field, with Josh Freeman looking to lead his team on his 6th 4th quarter comeback of his short career. They were pretty much moving the ball at will on the Falcons' semiporous defense, whether the Falcons played for the run or the pass, whether they blitzed on defense or they hung back in the prevent. It just didn't matter, and if you were watching the game like I was then you had the same feeling as I did that the Bucs were going to win. They got all the way up to the Falcons' 30 yard line or so, and there were a full 2 minutes left, so timing wasn't an issue in the slightest. They did need a touchdown though, so running a few running plays to get 10 more yards and then brining in the kicker wasn't an option either. They needed to keep throwing the ball, which is exactly what Freeman did on the first play back from the 2-minute warning, tossing a nice out-route to the sidelines which Atlanta cornerback Brent Grimes made an awesome play on to cut in front of the receiver and make the diving interception. It was really a great, athletic play, with only one problem: on the replay, which was automatically reviewed because it was just into the final two minutes of the game, it was clear that Grimes did not actually catch the ball. And when I say it was clear, I mean it was clear -- like, the guy made the great, athletic dive, caught the ball, hit the ground and rolled over, where he clearly, irrefutably does not have control of the ball after all, and then as he continues rolling from his diving interception attempt, he eventually rolls over onto his stomach, and the replay shows without a shadow of a doubt that the ball is on the ground, with Grimes on top of it. He then completes the roll-over, regains control of the ball as he is lying on top of it -- in plain view of the instant replay cameras, mind you -- and gets up and starts to run it back as if he had actually intercepted the ball.

Now, everyone knows that the NFL has no interest in this no-name Buccaneers team making the playoffs, and with this Bucs' win in hostile territory, the Falcons' hold on the NFC South would be very much in doubt, but as I'm watching this one I'm thinking as I often do in these replay situations that the shitcock referees simply can't possibly find a way to take the ball out of the Buccaneers' hands in this one. I mean -- and I tried hard to find a replay of this phantom interception, to embed here, but so far nobody in bed with the NFL (ESPN,, etc.) is man enough to even post this replay because it was that obviously another blown call -- there is a clear replay shot of the defender rolling over while bobbling the ball, and then rolling right on top of the ball as it is clearly sitting on the ground. But the refs come back from under the little hooded camera -- where I'm convinced there is some kind of a nude girl peep show or something since it's obvious these fuckclowns are not actually watching actual game replays under there -- and whaddya know, the call is upheld, the refs once again take the ball out of the hands of the team trying to drive to win it, and the Falcons take a couple of knees and the game is over, courtesy of some assclown in zebra stripes instead of the players on the fucking field.

It's gotten to the point where the game of picking the NFL matchups against the spread every week is more about which team is likely to get helped by the refs than about which team is more skilled or has any other intangibles. I knew the refs would be on the Steelers' side in that game, but I picked the Ravens -- my only loss of the week once again -- because I correctly determined that the Steelers would be worthless on offense given Ben Roethlisberger's injured foot (which looked pretty good Sunday in the end anyways). But how can you predict the referees giving the Steelers five downs twice in their second-to-last drive of the game, both in pretty ridiculous calls to do it? Anybody who picks against the Steelers ever again in the foreseeable future simply does so at their own risk, because you know you're not just picking against their opponents and the situation, but against the entire might and muscle of the NFL and despotic, whimsical, arbitrary totalitarian leader Roger Gooddell, who allows the officials to do whatever they can conceivably get away with to enforce what they believe his will to be.

When will these referees stop taking control of the games and deciding matchups themselves instead of letting the players on the field use their actual football skill to make actual football plays to decide these games? How much longer will Roger "Hypocrite Shitbag" Gooddell turns a blind eye to what his referees are doing to the games and to his sport? The pride cometh before the fall, you fucking asshole.

PS: Once again, I should mention that I am no kind of Ravens fan, I actually like the Steelers and have (correctly) predicted them to win the superbowl in the past couple of years, and of course I couldn't give less of a shit about the Buccaneers or the Falcons personally. This post has zero to do with a personal bias, of which you won't ever see me show any here, and everything to do with the integrity of the game, and with not wanting to invest three hours of my time and interest in a football game, only to see it outright decided by a bunch of fuckers with whistles in their mouths who spend their entire time on the field trying to stay away from the ball and the play at hand.

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger Bayne_S said...

After they showed replay on Fox the announcers cut to Mike Pereira who explained why interception would be reversed.

When they cut back to him after the call stood he had nothing!

Apparently the standard for cornerbacks 'completing the catch' is different than standard for Wide Receivers.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I had the volume down because listening to Chris Collinsworthless takes years off my life. But they can yap all they want about a different standard for what completes a catch -- which is redonkulous -- but in this case, it is clear as a bell that the cornertnever had control of the ball and that is clearly not just touched but flat-out sat on the ground while he rolled over it.

It's just pathetic what has happened to the officiating in the NFL over the past few years, and how little interest or care the league's management seems to have about it.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

Bucsv Falcons was on Fox, if you are hearing Collinsworth during day games I think you have an obsession and need help.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I have an obsession. I need help.

I think I am secretly in love with him.

6:29 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home