The first few weeks of the season (at least) are subject to rule from replacement officials. It’s not like these guys are inexperienced in officiating, but like replacement players would be, they’re just not NFL ready, and some may just never be NFL capable.
Consequently there have already been some decisions more questionable than Deion Sanders’ dress sense in the first week of action.
The problem is that for years the NFL has been going out of its way to remove any possible judgment from officials by making rules more black and white, warping what should be simple plays and creating outcomes that just don’t pass the eyeball test.
Remember the Calvin Johnson ‘catch’ for a touchdown? He caught the ball, got to his feet and on the way up lost the ball from his grip on the turf. That was called an incomplete pass. Correctly.
I say correctly because by the letter of the law – the law as it currently stands in the NFL – that is an incomplete pass. In order to save the embarrassment of a few plays where officials use their judgment and make a mess of it, they’ve been tweaking and tailoring the rules so that officials are now bound to make decisions as ridiculous as that even though no sane person on earth would say he didn’t catch that pass.
It happened again on Monday Night Football between the Bengals and the Ravens. AJ Green caught the ball, secured it, got tackled, and when he hit the ground the ball came loose.
Are you kidding me?
Take a look at this video.
Then imagine showing that to somebody and then explaining to them why he didn’t catch the football. Is there any chance the reaction to that is anything other than uncontrolled laughter?
The sad thing is I’m not even convinced that the call was incorrect by the rules as they currently stand. They’ve chopped and changed between the number of steps needed to having to make a ‘football move’ and back, and at this stage I think there’s a decent chance the officials don’t have a clue what the exact black and white spec is, but the point is, who cares?
We’ve reached a stage where we’re all arguing over the small details of fine print of rules that have been devised to ensure we don’t entrust the official to use his common sense to come to the conclusion a 7-year old would come to.
NFL, when we’re at the stage where you look at that video and say ‘Incomplete Pass’, your rules are broken.