The men in stripes. Yes they have a bit of a thankless job. But that’s part of the deal. You’re there to do a job. And as much as people want to call it a game and it doesn’t mean anything, it’s still a billion dollar business where a lot of money and some livelihoods are at stake when the players take the field. What the officials do during the course of a game is very important.
That is why what happened last night is so tough to justify. So many mistakes. In and of itself, not a big deal. But when they are at important times of a game, you really can’t defend it. And in the end, the officials have no responsibility. If they did, there would be repercussions.
Let’s start with the end of the first half. Richard Sherman is clearly offside which is fine. He runs into Dan Carpenter and the kick is blocked. To be honest, I don’t think Sherman even touched the ball. If he didn’t, it should have been an automatic 15 yards. The refs thought he did so there’s the first problem right off the bat. So now that Carpenter is down and has to be tended to, the Bills have to rush to spike the ball because Carpenter has to sit out a play. After that the Bills can set up again for another field goal attempt, except the play clock wasn’t reset properly and the Bills ended up with a delay of game penalty. At this point, the officials should have figured out that someone fucked up and that there shouldn’t have been a penalty. Carpenter ends up missing the field goal.
Then near the end of the game, it looks like Sherman shoves a Bills player to the ground. Whether it was unsportsmanlike or not was again up for debate but the refs made no attempt to figure it out even with an official mere steps from the egregious hit.
So among the list of things of why the NFL’s product is suffering, add this to the list: horrible officiating. And no accountability. When the Big XII officials messed up the Central Michigan-Oklahoma State game they ended up being suspended for the next week. Why isn’t the NFL doing this here? Who knows what goes on in the mind of Commissioner Gingersnaps.
- Another thing came up with this Monday Night Football game which, I hate to say it, was one of the better MNF games in recent memory: the preferential treatment given to Richard Sherman. Now don’t get me wrong, I love listening to the guy. He’s intelligent, well thought out, and the league would do wise to hear him speak and really listen to what he has to say. But to say he doesn’t get his way a bit more on the field than most is ridiculous. In an era where secondaries have the deck stacked against them, it stands out more that Sherman, more often than not, gets the benefit of the doubt with calls (or non-calls). So for him to say he doesn’t get any preferential treatment is ridiculous. Not totally his fault since officials shouldn’t be doing that in the first place but it is the case. Especially now in a league that has a lot less star power at the quarterback position, you will see other position players getting calls go their way. It’s human nature unfortunately but still tough to justify.
- The New York Jets are trying to be more of a gongshow than the Cleveland Browns. I don’t know why or how but Todd Bowles has a mess on his hands, one that will probably lead to his shitcanning. They can’t even get birthday celebrations right.
- Blair Walsh is on his last leg as kicker of the Minnesota Vikings, pun very intended. His missed extra point ended up biting the Vikings in the ass as they would go on to lose to the Lions in overtime. Ever since he missed that short field goal last year in the playoffs, it seemed like it was for sure that he would eventually be cut. Don’t be surprised if it’s in the next week or so.
- Is Matty Ice back? He sure seems to be. Now that Carolina is average at best, the Falcons have taken over the NFC South lead and could conceivably wrap the division up in early December. This is in no small part to Matt Ryan and his performance which is getting some MVP chatter. And rightfully so. Not many thought the Falcons would be this good but their offense has to be considered the best in the league right now, even ahead of the Cowboys and Patriots.
- Should we crown the Raiders the kings of the AFC West? I wouldn’t do that yet but they are looking like the best team in that division and the second best team in the conference (and honestly, the fourth best team in football). Derek Carr has also put himself in the MVP race with his performance so far.
Alright, might as well start looking at the playoff picture already. Yes it’s a little early and no I don’t care. This is what we have as of today:
|Division Champs||Division Champs|
|1||New England (East)||1||Dallas (East)|
|2||Oakland (West)||2||Seattle (West)|
|3||Houston (South)||3||Atlanta (South)|
|4||Baltimore (North)||4||Minnesota (North)|
|5||Kansas City||5||NY Giants|
The next teams after Denver? Miami and Pittsburgh are a game-and-a-half back. Ugh. Even though we are at the mid-point of the season, it feels like the AFC West will get three teams into the playoffs and there’s nothing any other team can do about it. New England should win the AFC East. The other two divisions aren’t that great so there is a chance 9-7 wins either division.
In the NFC, I would say Dallas and Atlanta really are the class of the league with Seattle close behind. The NFC North is beating up on each other but I wouldn’t sleep on either the Vikings or Packers (or even the Lions) on making waves in the playoffs. Also, in the NFC, it still feels like a lot of teams are still in the race. Really, and I am going out on a limb here, I would say the only teams that truly have no shot to make the playoffs in the NFC are San Francisco and Chicago at this point. Even not-so-good teams like the Bucs or Rams could go on a three or four game winning streak and be right in the Wild Card mix. This is what will help salvage some of the NFL season: the excitement going into the final two weeks. Problem is we are only going into Week 10. Still a long haul.
Alright so there are two college games tonight. One is quite as important as Western Michigan has to continue to win and win fairly big to keep their New Year’s Six hopes alive. Tomorrow I will do another bowl projections post (where for art thou Jerry Palm?) and then back to the schedules late in the week. Have a great day everyone.