For all the talk about how the replacement refs would kill the game a season ago, the actual officials haven't fared much better in 2013. The most recent example came Sunday night when the Redskins were jobbed out of one down because the heads linesman incorrectly told coach Mike Shanahan the team had a first down during a late fourth-quarter drive.
Three days before that, an official literally ran around Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who had camped out in the white painted area that separates the bench from the playing field, during a Ravens kickoff return. You may have heard something about this.
In both instances, the league later conceded that the officials erred. In the Giants-Redskins game, the clock should have been stopped to communicate the actual down to each team. In the Steelers-Ravens get-together, Tomlin should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for being in the white area during the return.
For Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, who has been in the league since 2001, the officiating has hit rock bottom this season.
“It's probably been worse this whole year as a total, not just this team," he said, via the Washington Post. "But I've watched a lot of football this year. It's been the worst that I've ever seen.”
Moss also addressed one of our biggest pet peeves: What is and isn't a catch. The premise seemed eminently straightforward as a kid. It required neither a physics degree nor a super slo-mo high definition camera. That's all changed in recent years.
“You've got guys ... catching balls and they take two steps and they get tackled,” Moss said. “The ball come out after they hit the ground. It's no good. And you have another guy do it the next week, he gets the catch.
"Come on. Somebody have to change that rule. I hate the calls now where you see guys -- and this is mostly receivers I'm looking at -- catching a ball and you fall out of bounds, and you have a [defensive back], now … you're out of bounds and the guy is still swiping at the ball. And now the guy hits the ball and it bobbles in your hand but you still have the ball on you — no catch. Someone has to change that.
“I understand [there are] so many things being changed," Moss continued. "But at the end of the day, some of that stuff is crap. So hopefully somebody who's in a higher position that can really watch this season alone and see some of the stuff that's being called and hasn't been called, they can go and try to critique that because it's been the worst by far since I've been in the league.”
The man makes a good point.
Good news, Santana: VP of Officials Dean Blandino agrees with you. Last week, after officials blew a call in the Week 12 Panthers-Dolphins game, he conceded, "We've got to work and strive to be more consistent" when it comes to what does and does not constitute a catch.
As we noted at the time, the implication is that the officials don't fully understand what a catch is. In a game where the forward pass is an integral part of the action, this revelation seems problematic.