No, this isn’t going to be an arrogant, “suck it up”, “deal with it” sort of post. Settle down.
After last weekend (and as I’ve previously indicated in this space), there’s no question that the NFL’s officiating is flawed, and needs to be subject to far more punitive measures among its decision makers. While we all remember the disaster of implementing replacement referees and fully understand that the current tenured crews are attempting to judge the games evenly (right?), they still get too many things wrong…correctable things. Yes, Browns wideout Terelle Pryor wasn’t taunting. It’s entirely probable that Bengals wideout Tyler Boyd’s knee was down. The officials have a responsibility to ensure that the calls they’re making are accurate and their conclusions are clearly defined. Perhaps more camera angles on replays would help, or more officials in strategically advantageous positions on the field.
I suspect none of it would make a damned bit of difference. The current system was pored over for several offseasons in the 1990’s and has been revised extensively since, and the net result has been little overall improvement. Forgive my pessimism, but short of 360-degree camera angles of every play, mistakes are going to happen. We can only hope those mistakes are minimal and informed, with the impression that the officials are at least trying. Effort still counts, right?
What’s bothering me is the endless grousing and complaining from all quarters. Browns fans, sorry, but your team still would have had to have scored in under 20 seconds, which, despite better field position, was no sure thing. Bengals fans, your team also would have had better field position and would have retained possession, but given the manner in which your offense had performed to that point, there were certainly no guarantees of success there either. Football is a chancy, weird game, and it truly sucks to have it seemingly determined by the misjudgment of a ref or two, or a bad camera angle. But I submit that if your team is depending on a single call’s impact to determine success or failure, it’s evident your team is flawed, at least that day.
But the whining! The gnashing of teeth! The raw angst!
Just shut up. Please.
I’ll be the first to admit that the Bengals were the recipients of some plain old bad officiating in last season’s playoff tilt with the Steelers. In fact, most of the Steelers fans I’ve conversed with would admit to that. Yet that didn’t stop Bengals fans from proclaiming all offseason that the Steelers were the worst, most-crooked organization in the NFL, that the game and its outcome were predetermined, and that everyone was to blame…except their team.
Last season, the Ravens were victimized almost weekly by poor officiating, but a good percentage of that sort of thing happens when you have a poor team…and the Ravens were indeed that. I think it’s probably within the auspices of human nature that referees will give a subconscious, slight advantage to a more successful team simply because they appear more organized or less dysfunctional. I would also posit that it’s not intentional. But that doesn’t mean that an inherent bias, however minuscule, doesn’t exist.
But whining about it won’t change it. In fact, it may actually force the officials to garner more of a bias, because their judgement is being called into question. It’s also poor sportsmanship and shows little regard for the game. You want favoritism? Get better and try closing your yap. It might go a long way towards establishing an aura of professionalism for your team.
If you do have to whine and incessantly complain, try going to a team-based chat room with other like-minded people. The internet has given everyone an audience, even if it’s with those that simply nod their heads and follow along, with nary a dissenting opinion.
Because most fans don’t want to hear it. Not when there’s bigger team issues, like properly analyzing flaws, or discussing roster changes.
Okay, I lied.
Suck it up.
Deal with it.