Hide your kids. Hide your wives. This is going to be aggressive. Tonight was the low-point in the NFL labor dispute with the refs. And the “low-point” is the polite way of saying the replacement refs are worse than Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight. Ugly, terrible, and simply incompetent, the replacement refs cost the Packers a hard-fought victory over the pesky Seahawks tonight.
As if it was a slow death over these last three weeks, the replacement refs have steadily regressed to the point of endangering players safety and ruining the integrity of the game. The culmination is tonight’s epic performance. Picking up from Sunday Night’s debacle, yellow flags littered the field for much of the night. Any chance of tempo was shot – not that the Packers established any. Still, a real football game had developed in the midst of this shit-show. That is until the last two possessions for the Seahawks.
Up 5 (never mind the terrible 2-point conversion play-call), Russell Wilson threw a terrible INT that should have been the perverbial dagger. But, wait. A replacement ref had a yellow flag in his pocket still. Flag out of pocket, and a phantom roughing the passer call on Walden pulls the dagger out and keeps the drive alive. Game Should Be Over Call No. 1.
Still, Wilson is at the helm and the Seahawks had yet to get a first down on their own the entire second half. Let me repeat that… the Seahawks had ZERO first downs on their own merit in the second half with less than 6 minutes to play. Thankfully they had the refs on their side tonight to make up for their incompetence.
In little more than a minute of play, the Seahawks faced a 1st-and-25. Wilson makes another pass downfield – that can only be described as a “lob-thrown-by-the-passer-in-a-game-of-500″ – that is up-for-grabs. Shields sees this unfold and is looking back at the ball for the last 3/4-time it is in the air. Admittedly he has a hand on Sid Rice’s jersey. But, Rice has a full on grab of Shields’ shoulder pads. Both guys battle for the ball. The grab of the jersey wouldn’t be called in pop warner football. But, the NFL hasn’t hired pop warner refs. They are worse than that. Pass interference. Spot foul. Gain of 35 or so yards – unwarranted. Game Should Be Over Call No. 2.
Despite playing against 12 men when you include the Zebras, the Packers stopped Seattle on 4th down and got the ball back deep in their territory. Of course, three straight runs nets negative yards and a punt is forced. Wilson completes one pass to get it to around the 20. Last second play. 4th down. Wilson fades back, avoids pressure, and throws another 500-type ball for the Hail Mary to end the game. Chaos ensues.
Amidst no less than 5 Packers – and this time they are ready to defend the Hail Mary unlike last January – Golden Tate gets away with highway robbery. Check that. That’s an insult to highway patrol-men. Tate would have been caught by Chief Wiggum! Tate pushed off on Shields in a clear offensive pass interference. And somehow, Tate then proceeds to catch the ball while cradling it against M.D. Jennings’ chest. You heard that correctly. M.D. Jennings, a Packer, had the ball pinned to his chest with both hands secure around it. Yet, the candy-ass ref calls a touchdown on the field because it’s in Seattle. Replay official inexplicably says the call stands. Game Should Be Over Call No. 3. Well, the game was over. Gift-wrapped for the P.O.S. Pete Carroll.
Roger Goodell, in his quest for utter world domination, has made the game we love a farce. Power hungry, Goodell has taken an unnecessary hard-line stance in his labor dispute with the regular officials. The result is utter and complete mockery of officiating.
Lost in this mess of officiating is the fact that there are careers and jobs at stake in the cut-throat NFL. Though I expect the Packers to make the playoffs, an undeserved loss can be the difference between home-field advantage and a first-round bye, and a road wild-card game. Worse yet, it can be the difference between making or missing the playoffs. With only 16 regular seasons games, every game truly matters. To have complete shit-for-brains officials deciding these games is embarrassing for everyone involved – from the owners, players, coaches, all the way down to the fans – the people that pay big money to this multi-billion dollar industry.
They always said it would take the refs costing a team a game in order to make Goodell react and cut a deal. Well, mission accomplished. Asshole.