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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NFL’s Nightmare Hits in Prime Time

          The nightmare scenario happened for the NFL last night.

          The Monday night game, one of the NFL’s showcase games, pitting Seattle against Green Bay ended on an unquestionably bogus call giving the Seahawks the victory on the last play of the game on a “Hail Mary” pass that was clearly intercepted by the Packers.

          Two officials made different calls – one a touchdown and the other giving the signal to stop the clock (which had already hit 0:00), indicating that it was an interception.

          But look a little closer. The referee calling the interception clearly looks at the other guy, who starts to put his hands up, and then the first referee signals touchdown. But the second guy was ultimately signaling to stop the clock, which is generally followed by a touchback signal. I really believe the official who signaled the touchdown was hoping the other guy was calling a touchdown and went with it.

          Unbelievably, according to reports, the head official never consulted with either guy. I didn’t see whether he did or didn’t by watching the broadcast. He went to watch the replay and, inexplicably, called the play a touchdown.

          Oh, by the way, the call flipped the game in terms of the point spread. The Packers were a 3.5 point favorite, and would have won the game 12-7. Instead they lost, 14-12.

          If you think I’m just whining because I lost my pick, you’re fooling yourself. According to ESPN, up to $250 million shifted in bets on that call. The NFL is the most popular sport in the United States because it lends itself to gambling – period.

          No one even talks much about the Eagles-Ravens game, which shifted money line bets on a ridiculous offensive pass interference call that would have sealed the game for the Ravens. It wasn’t a media friendly story because most people know about the point spreads and Baltimore still covered. Plus, the call didn’t end the game. But in reality, it costs the Ravens the game as much as last night’s call cost the Packers.

          One replacement referee was already removed from a game because he was a fan of one of the teams in that game – the Saints. It was all over his Facebook page. These guys aren’t career officials. They’re living out a fantasy.

          How difficult is it to think last night’s officials had money on the game? How difficult is it to think someone got to these guys to influence the game?

          How much money changed hands again?

          These guys aren’t risking a long-term career in the NFL. The real referees are fighting just to be full-time. It’s not hard to think the replacements are getting what they can now.

          Check the replay. Give me a better explanation for why any referee looks at that replay and doesn’t over turn the call of a touchdown.




          I will probably break this into another post eventually, but, as I tweeted last night, if the NFL ever wanted to do away with talk about point spreads the Seahawks-Packers game did it for me. After teetering on the edge of dropping making picks on the blog, last night sealed the deal for me. I’m done with it. I’ll continue with the fantasy football posts, and try to figure out something better soon.

          I’m not blaming last night or making excuses. Making picks was supposed to be a fun part of the blog, and it’s just not anymore. I’m not very good at it. When I lose, I feel worse, even though I realize no one was using my picks. When I win, I just realize no one was using my picks. And advertising has dried up around the picks, so it’s time to move on. For the record, I finished 331-333-10 for -249.75 points.

          Last night may have been the best thing to happen to me. Coupled with the Eagles-Ravens, these scab officials took the majority and remainder of the “personal points” cushion I’d finally been playing with. I know I said I wouldn’t be posting any picks for the foreseeable future on Sunday and then posted my choice for Monday night. What can I say, I enjoy (enjoyed?) playing. But I just don’t enjoy putting my picks out online anymore. I apologize for any losses I may have influenced for readers, but I always said to keep it to entertainment “points” and I hope readers do just that. Good luck.

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