As a fan of everything football, I was willing to give the replacement officials the benefit of the doubt on the bad calls that have been made through the first three weeks of the NFL season. Going into week three of the NFL, my defense to both the replacement referees and the NFL itself was that there are bad calls in every game. They are just more magnified by the NFL media now because of the referee labor issues. However, after hearing the reports that there was a referee removed from the Saints-Panthers game because he was an open Saints fan, and then another official telling Eagles running back LeSean McCoy that he needed him to have a great game because McCoy is on the official’s fantasy football team, I started to question the integrity of the replacement officials. Then week three happened.
Among the games that I watched in their entirety was the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the game there was a glaring mistake that raised a red flag for fans and commentators everywhere. On a third and 11 play Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw a pass to Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, in the back corner of the end zone. At a glance it appears that Ogletree slipped and that was the reason for the incomplete pass. But upon the replay, the object that Ogletree slipped on was a black hat thrown by an official, indicating that a player was out of bounds. The only problem was that there was not a player out of bounds. That scales in comparison to what would happen as the Green Bay Packers would visit the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.
It was on a fourth and 10 play in the closing seconds of the game. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson throws a Hail Mary pass that would appear intercepted by Packers S M.D. Jennings, but it would be ruled a shared possession in which Seahawks WR Golden Tate would be awarded the TD pass. It was a play that one has to see to believe and one that is going to be talked about until the end of the season. Let me pose a hypothetical situation.
Let’s just assume that the Seahawks are as good as they appear to be, and that the Packers are going to bounce back. Let us also assume that the Packers and Seahawks have the same record and are tied for the No. 1 and No. 2 seed in the NFL. By rule, the Seahawks would win the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs based on the tiebreaker. This is obviously an extremely hypothetical situation and there is plenty of football to be played, but one cannot help but wonder what will come of this botched call.
This could be a major turning point in the labor dispute with the referee union. But at the same time, with last week’s bad calls, the NFL realizes that it is an industry in which the fans continue to go to the games and watch on television regardless of controversy. It is still hard to blame replacement referees because the replacement referees are only in the situation because of the greed and selfishness by the league owners and the regular officials. Ultimately, it is the fans that are suffering, and there may not be a light at the end of the tunnel until the NFL fans stop paying for tickets and start watching.
Here are some nuggets from around the WTAMU sports landscape.
• The Lady Buffs won in volleyball over the weekend.
• The Lady Buffs soccer also defeated rival ACU.
• The Buffs shut out UIW.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views in blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Prairie editorial board.