Thursday, August 21, 2014

What if Mike Wallace is Right?


The NFL has become the most balanced and competitive major team sport in America. That is why it has grown so much in popularity.  It really is not much of a debate.  A team like the Yankee’s in baseball will out spend smaller revenue teams to acquire better players. In college football teams like Alabama are going to get much better recruits and players compared to many of the smaller colleges they play against.  My goal is not to put down other sports or leagues, I am just making the point that ALL the teams that compete in those leagues do not have the competitive balance that the NFL has. In the NFL every game is of enormous importance. For that matter every play in the NFL carries a significant amount of weight.

Anyone following the NFL Preseason has been taking note of huge number of flags resulting from the increased emphasis on pass interference. Mike Wallace was so bold to express his opinion that it was not being called fair.  After watching several of the games and what is going on I can’t say he is wrong. I don’t think that there is this big conspiracy that the refs are out to get Miami. However, I think the NFL has created a very delicate situation.  There is SO much that goes into a NFL season. The players, the coaches, even the fans are vested deeply into trying to win.  It all culminates into dramatic hard fought games to see who reaches that dream all teams are working for.  These games have become so close that the outcome of a few plays can heavily influence who wins. Now I ask you after vesting all that time and emotion into the games, does anyone really want to see the outcome of them determined by 2 or 3 calls from a referee? It is almost sickening to me to think of the Dolphins in a hard fought game into the 4th quarter and then a team getting a couple very questionable interference calls on the last drive to beat them. I also would feel like it would be an empty win if we were on the side of the benefit for the calls. I have always said it is simple, if the penalty is not obvious leave your flag in your pocket and let the players decide the outcome of the game. The NFL is pushing the refs to do just the opposite of that now.  It just seems for lack of better word ..just wrong.

All I can think of is who is pushing for this? The players don’t like it, the coaches don’t like it. The fans (i.e. the customers) don’t like it.  The NFL is as popular as it is has ever been. I understand they think that more scoring might mean even more people will watch. Maybe more people that play fantasy football will watch more games? However, is it really worth it? I won’t even get started on how making changes like this makes all-time statistical records worthless. How would Dan Marino and the marks brothers have done if the d-backs would have played in this environment against them? The games now are going to be more heavily influenced by the calls the refs make, bias or not bias. Those calls will now be a heavy factor in who wins games. Is that what we really want to be watching? It makes me think what if Mike Wallace is right and the refs really are not calling the game fair….what will that mean for the NFL if that is true? My message to the NFL executives pushing this rule change (a rule change that will lead to refs having unprecedented power to influence games) is this. “Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered”   If these rule changes concern you, please forward this message to everyone you know that cares.  After all we are the customers.
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6 comments

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The NFL will listen to your comment if you call them.
The phone number is 212-450-2000.

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adding to speed dial :)

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Please format your articles. Left justify!

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I hate all the flags! I know everyone does as well. Every year at least 10 games are decided by a flag; and that's not the way football should be!! Let them play. I especially hate pass interference! Tom Brady is famous for throwing the ball up in hopes of getting the pass interference call.....and he gets it!!!

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I agree Hector. The game in New England last year was horrible. Two critical calls in the 2nd half that were questionable at best.

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Every preseason the officials are instructed on what will be points of emphasis this season and instruct them to call these penalties early and often during the preseason.
After 4 games, the teams should get the message to defend with their feet and not their hands.
This preseason has seen a record amount of illegal contact calls. Almost as much as the entire previous season.
These numbers will drop significantly once the season starts as the players will get the message.
No one wants to see any penalties determine that outcome of a game, especially the officials.
However, their performance is reviewed by the league and the weak get canned.
Are there instances when there seems to be an inequity in penalties between teams? Ofcourse there is.
Are officials influenced by veterans like Brady? Ofcourse they are.
That's one of the benefits of continued success. Shula ruled the roost of favorable calls for decades.
The league wants scoring. The league wants fantasy leagues. The league wants high ratings. The league wants revenue. All of the above equates to profits. High profits.
And until the fans demand 3 yards and a cloud if dust, we can expect more of the same.