Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Few Things To Work On

You know who is going to be the busiest people in sports the next few months?  The NFL Competition Committee.  After what we saw on the field this season it is clear that the game--under the current rules--has become almost impossible to officiate correctly.

You can start with the game film of the NFC Championship Game for several instances of the rules either not being correctly interpreted, or preventing correct calls from being made even with the availability of replay.  The goal line fumble recovery that every human on the planet could see was made by the 49ers (plus the gruesome knee injury) is not reviewable because "possession in the field of play" doesn't fall under the jurisdiction of replay.  Of course, if the fumble was recovered half a yard away in the end zone--or along a sideline--it WOULD have been reviewable.  Where is the sense in that?  You may recall the Steelers almost got screwed on that same call against the Packers when possession of a blocked field goal could not be established before an Illegal Batting call against Pittsburgh gave the ball back to Green Bay.

And while we are on the topic, Illegal Batting can be revisited--as the Packers/Steelers play--and the batting of a ball 20-yards down the field after a blocked punt by the Seahawks cost the 49ers yardage EVEN THOUGH THEY DIDN"T COMMIT THE PENALTY!

And then the entire "Defenseless Receiver" rule can be jettisoned.  Shoulder to shoulder hits, contact after a guy has started running with the ball and clean attempts to break up passes in the air were all flagged this year--as officials, already trying to determine possession and two feet down, also had to figure out of a defender's helmet touched the receiver's helmet.  The rule of thumb that was apparently adopted: If it looks bad, throw the flag.

Just off the top of my head, here are a "few" other rules that were not called correctly--leading in several cases to teams losing games:

Pass interference (on balls that Superman couldn't have caught in a single bound)
Roughing the Passer--Contact to the Head (which was actually contact to the shoulder pad and chest)
Illegal Defensive Formation on a Field Goal Attempt (Which cost the Steelers a spot in the Playoffs)
The Definition of Forward Progress is Stopped (Which also cost the Steelers a spot in the Playoffs)
The Definition of a Fumble
Completing the Process of the Catch (which is different if a receiver is going out of bounds than it is in the middle of the field)
Intentional Grounding (especially the definition of "in the tackle box")
And pretty much everything that can and cannot be reviewed--including penalties that can be clearly seen while reviewing for another element of a play that directly affect the outcome of the play)

Unfortunately, NFL insiders say the main focus for the competition committee will be to consider eliminating the extra point after touchdowns--because it's one more play where guys are hitting helmets against each other.  I guess the powers that be would rather have "safe chaos" on the field--instead of actual football.

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