So I have to rant about the officiating of the Sunday Night game this week. But I'm not going to be ranting about the same things that I imagine everyone else is. I'm ranting the opposite way; in favour of the replacement officials. Although this post was spurred by the Sunday Night game, it applies to the general arguments being levelled at the replacement officials this season.
- First off, yes, the replacement officials have made some bad calls, but....
- I'm sick and fucking tired of listening to people talk about the officiating as if the regular crews were flawless and never made any mistakes. People are talking about these mistakes as if they've never seen a ref miss a call or make a bad call in a football game before. What planet have people been living on if that's the case? The fact is the regular officials make just as many mistakes, if not more. Go back and watch some of last seasons games. People were forever complaining about the quality of officiating, as they have done for years. And yet all of sudden pundits seem to have suffered a collective memory loss, because everyone now seems to think that the regular refs were superb officials who never put a foot wrong.
- This is not helped by the poor quality of some of the commentary. Tonight for example Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were complaining about an illegal contact penalty called against the Ravens for a foul on Wes Welker. While they were busy mocking the replacement refs and pontificating about the call like a pair of "holier than thou" twats, it seems that neither of them took the time to notice that the defender put his hands up into Wes Welkers face. Or as it's otherwise known in football; illegal contact - hands to the face.
Just because the ref didn't explain the last bit of the call doesn't mean that the foul didn't occur. It just served to highlight the inability of the commentary team to function without having every minute detail handed to them on a plate (all TV networks have a team of people following each individual match up in a game who then feed information to the commentators. Or do you really think it's just a coincidence or skill that colour commentators just happen to always have been looking at the vital matchup on every single play?)
- And frankly, I think I prefer these refs. The game tonight was a hell of a lot more entertaining, as all the games this season have been. They let the game flow for the most part, and only call some of the more blatant and/or serious infractions. And unlike the regular officials they haven't been sucked into the "this is a passing league" mantra which means they're not afraid to actually call offensive pass interference when they see it.
Again, these replacements are not perfect. They still miss some calls and they still make calls that are dubious. But I would say on balance they're about as imperfect as the regular officials, while being a hell of a lot cheaper.
Much of the madness and rhetoric surrounding the replacements has been stoked by shitty commentating and analysis, along with coaches taking liberties with the replacements that they wouldn't dare against the regulars (would Belichick touch a regular official? Not a chance).
It's just so annoying because like most things in football these days common sense, logic, and actual facts take a back seat to drivelling bollocks that is sensationalised to the extreme.
Like ProFootballTalk.com, but everywhere.