Sunday Night Football will be the death of me! Why must it start so late? I think it is safe to say that primetime ends at 11pm not midnight. And I don’t get it because the late afternoon games end by 7:30 so there’s no reason they can’t kickoff SNF then! As if Mondays weren’t torturous enough, the NFL has to make it 10 times worse for football fanatics everywhere (well, on the East Coast at least).
And it seems to be some kind of unwritten rule that the Sunday night games are always the most exciting. It’s never a 35-7 game going into the third quarter like the afternoon games so you can turn it off early, it’s always a nail-biter until 12: freaking 20 AM. Ugh.
So let’s discuss this game.
Bring. Back. The. Real. Refs.
Okay, I think that about summed it up.
But for real, if last night’s game (and several other games yesterday) did not cause the League to sprint to the nearest bank and throw all of their money at the real refs than I don’t know what will! The fans have spoken. The announcers have spoken. And now even the players have spoken. Here’s a copy of the letter sent to the League by the NFL Player Association:
TO: Owners of NFL Teams
FROM: NFLPA Executive Committee
DATE: September 20, 2012
RE: Your Lockout of the NFL Referees and the Negative Impact on Football
The NFL Players Association Executive Committee is calling on you to end the lockout of our referees. We believe there is substantial evidence that you have failed in your obligation to provide as safe a working environment as possible.
Your decision to lock out officials with more than 1,500 years of collective NFL experience has led to a deterioration of order, safety and integrity. This affirmative decision has not only resulted in poor calls, missed calls and bad game management, but the combination of those deficiencies will only continue to jeopardize player health and safety and the integrity of the game that has taken decades to build.
As we predicted and explained to you weeks ago, the removal of the veteran officials from regular season games left a group of your replacements who have proved to be incapable of keeping pace with the speed of the game. Coaches and players have complained of numerous errors and failures including: erratic and missed calls on egregious holds and hits, increased skirmishes between players and confusion about game rules. Many replacements have lost control of games due to inexperience and unfamiliarity with players and rules.
The headlines are embarrassing: a scab working a game despite having been on the payroll of one of the teams, another who was assigned to referee a team he publicly supported on Facebook, and one who is a professional poker player when you propose even more stringent player rules on gambling.
It is lost on us as to how you allow a Commissioner to cavalierly issue suspensions and fines in the name of player health and safety yet permit the wholesale removal of the officials that you trained and entrusted to maintain that very health and safety. It has been reported that the two sides are apart by approximately $60,000 per team. We note that your Commissioner has fined an individual player as much in the name of “safety.” Your actions are looking more and more like simple greed. As players, we see this game as more than the “product” you reference at times. You cannot simply switch to a group of cheaper officials and fulfill your legal, moral, and duty obligations to us and our fans. You need to end the lockout and bring back the officials immediately.
We are all men who love and respect this game and believe that it represents something beyond just money. For our teammates, our coaches and our fans who deserve better, vote to end this lockout now.
Yesterday was absolute madness. A complete circus.
There were bad calls. There were calls against players who weren’t even touching anyone. There was incorrect yardage awarded. There were challenges being handed out like candy on Halloween. There were ridiculous penalties being called simply to try to “regain control” of the game.
Good luck with that.
Did the refs cause the Patriots to lose the game? You could make a case for that. But as Dan Shaughnessy points out, the Patriots got called 10 times for 83 yards, whereas Baltimore was penalized 14 times for 135 yards. The final couple of minutes did, however, seem to be officiated by a group of guys who threw a Ravens tailgate party decked out in all purple earlier in the day.
Not that I’m really complaining. But I’m a bit biased.
And as much as I dislike the man, I think Bill Belichick had every right to “rough up” the ref a little bit. In fact, he had every right to punch him across his oblivious, ignorant face if you ask me. The NFL commissioner should be spending his morning opening his wallet and making calls to the real refs instead of wasting time figuring out a penalty for Belichick.
What will it take? Perhaps the NFL is realizing that this circus could actually bring in a bigger audience to watch the madness, but they are sacrificing the integrity of the National Football League. And I’m afraid that the time is sooner than we think that football just won’t be fun to watch anymore or even worth it. When men it zebra-striped uniforms are controlling the outcome of the game instead of the players themselves.
Here’s a poll done by the Wall Street Journal:
While this number surprises me, I guess it makes sense. I’m not planning to stop watching the NFL anytime soon, but I fear that even I could reach my breaking point with these refs.
But for now I’m still more than thrilled that it’s football season and I start looking forward to Sunday starting Monday morning. (Now if only the Giants could stop playing the stupid weekday games so I can actually look forward to watching them on Sundays too). Despite my outrage at the replacements, there’s no better reason to be completely exhausted on a Monday morning than the fact that you were up late watching SNF. And watching a fittingly wild and crazy end to what had been a wild and crazy game at 12:20am. And watching the Patriots lose. Again. Going below .500 for the first time in 9 years. Am I rubbing it in too much? Sorry.
The people of New England are moving just a bit slower this Monday morning. Starbucks has served a few more coffees. And people are struggling to not fall asleep at their desks, myself included. The only difference for me, however, is the slight smile at the corner of my mouth that can only come from a week of football where the Giants win and the Patriots lose.