The original intent for the column this week was to not
mention the replacement referees even once. However I have come to the
conclusion that it would be impossible not to speak on the subject. The refs
should not be the story in this game that we all cherish so much. Sure refs
make mistakes; officials in every sport make mistakes, on a daily basis even. The
integrity of the most popular game in our nation though is now being
compromised and what I fear most is that Commandant Goodell doesn’t care.
That man has pounded into our heads and the heads of the
players that the shield needs to be protected. The integrity of the game needs
to be protected. He champions protecting the players in order to protect the
league. Well the Commandant now has substitute teachers running the classroom and
someone is going to get seriously hurt. Everyone remembers the feeling of
having a substitute teacher in class; you feel emboldened, you push the limits because
the sub doesn’t know the rules or is too afraid to enforce them. Injuries have
already started. Darrius Heyward Bay of the Oakland Raiders spent the night in
the hospital after a helmet to helmet hit. There was no flag on the play. Tony
Romo was sacked with a helmet to his chin; there was no flag on the play. How
he even got up is beyond me.
Those that were defending the replacement refs argued that
nothing really has changed statistically from last year as far as the amount of
penalties being called. Well, there should be a lot more this season than last
the way some players are playing.
There is a lot more to it than just the safety of the
players, but Roger Goodell has spent the last few years shouting from the top
of a mountain how deeply he cares for the safety of his players. He claims that
his number one concern is the safety of the players. I call BS. Money and power are his number one concern.
The scariest part of all of this is nothing is going to
change unless the real refs give in. Goodell and the owners hold all of the
cards and they don’t care if we fans suffer because they know one very
important fact; we won’t stop watching. They know this and you know this so
nothing will change. If you don’t think I’m right just read the BS statement
the NFL released after the Monday night debacle in Seattle. Everyone knows what
happened and everyone outside of Seattle knows the Packers got hosed. What did
the NFL say? They admitted there should have been pass interference, but as far
as the pass being a catch or an interception the league hid behind the lawyer
speak of the official rule book. In so doing they pretty much sided with the
substitutes. There is no way Golden Tate had any possession of that play.
That’s enough of that let’s get on to the games.
It looked pretty promising for the Rams before they traveled
to Soldier Field. Jay Cutler had the meltdown the previous week and the Rams
were coming off a pretty impressive win over the Redskins. Not to be; The Bears
utterly dominated Little Sammy and the Rams. The Bears now travel to Dallas
Monday night. Let’s see if Cutler can keep his composure in prime time?
The False Start Bowl was held in Dallas with the Cowboys
hanging on to beat the Buccaneers in one of the sloppiest games ever played in
the NFL. 23 penalties for 174 yards combined. If the Cowboys are looking to do
something special this year they need to learn discipline. They have committed
31 penalties in three games.
Detroit lost to the Titans in Tennessee. Actually it would
be more accurate to say that Detroit lost to Jim Schwartz on Sunday. The new
overtime rules state that if the team receiving the ball scores a field goal
then the other team gets a chance to do the same. Detroit opted to go for it on
fourth and one rather than kick a chip shot field goal. Needless to say they
didn’t make it and lost the game. Did Matt Millen make that decision? I haven’t
seen such an egregious coaching error in a very long time.
The Jets barely beat a girls’ team in Miami. Please stop
trying to ice the kicker right before he kicks?
The best team in the league (as this column anointed last
week) got beat up on by the Vikings. I know Minnesota is a tough place to play,
but if you want to be the best team in the league San Fran, you have to win
that game against that team.
The Redskins were
destroyed by the Bengals, well the score doesn’t show it, but the Skins were
never in that game. Looks like RGIII will have to wait a little longer for win
number two. Washington travels to Tampa this week and hosts Atlanta the
As I told you last week turnovers are going to catch up with
Mike Vick and the Eagles. Three more this past week brings the running total on
the season to 12; in just three games. Arizona is [one of] the best teams in
the league. That defense is exceptional.
The Falcons are one of only three undefeated teams along
with the aforementioned Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans. It’s too early to
go all in on Atlanta, this team has folded in the past and until they prove
they won’t I’ll stay weary. San Diego sucks and will continue to as long as
Norv Turner is head coach.
It was another great game by the replacements in Baltimore
Sunday night. We should be talking about how good of a game it was and what a
great story Torrey Smith was, but no; the referees stole all the storylines.
The Patriots are now 1-2 and trail the Bills by a game.
Then there was Monday night. I’ve spoken enough about the
refs and they are the biggest story in that game; except for the fact that
Seattle has found one hell of a defense. The Pack have some major problems on
the front line.
real refs get something done quickly. Don’t count on it though.