Complaining About NFL Officiating? Check Out These Bad Calls
Complain About NFL Officiating While You Can
The lockout of the NFL officials has been a hotbed of controversy that gets hotter and hotter as each week passes. The replacement referees - pulled from a pool of smaller college officials, the Arena Football League, and even some retirees - have made an indelible mark on the 2012 NFL season.
During the preseason, they were almost excused, and most of the talk heard around the league and over the airwaves seemed to indicate that nobody felt like these replacement refs were going to be around for long, and even if they were, they wouldn’t have much of an impact on the games.
Oh how wrong we all were.
Now through three complete weeks of the regular season, the cries for the lockout to end have moved into a deafening roar from players, coaches, broadcasters and especially fans.
Complain now folks, because this lockout will eventually end. When it does, the regular officials had better not hear one peep about missed calls.
Have these replacement officials blown calls and had an impact on the games? Of course they have.
News Flash – The regular referees did too. Often.
So if players, coaches and everybody else under the sun want to vent their frustrations about the replacement refs, they need to keep in mind how many times they lost their cool with the regular refs.
When and if the regular officials come back this season, everyone should just sit back and give thanks.
And when Ed Hochuli inevitably blows another call and hands the game to the team you love to hate, just soak in his quality dissertation, admire his guns, and take a sip of your adult beverage.
No more whining.
If you think I’m crazy, well then take a gander at just a few examples of game changing calls by “regular” officials.
The Tom Brady "Tuck Rule"
2001 – The “Tuck Rule” game, when New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was sacked by Oakland Raiders CB Charles Woodson, and appeared to fumble the ball. The turnover would have been huge for the Raiders considering the Patriots were nearing field goal range during the fourth quarter of a 13-13 playoff game. Replay officials cited the “tuck rule”, saying that Brady’s arm was moving forward, not noticing it was moving forward because of being hit by a defender.
The Thanksgiving Day Coin Flip
1998 – A Thanksgiving day game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions went into overtime, and players from both teams met at the fifty yard line for the coin toss to determine first possession. Before the flip, referee Phil Luckett asked Steelers running back Jerome Bettis for his heads or tails call. Bettis said tails, but apparently, Phil Luckett heard “heads” instead. The flip came up tails and the ball went to Detroit who kicked a game winning field goal on the first possession.
Ed Hochuli, and the Cutler Fumble
2008 – The Ed Hochuli debacle. Down by seven points with 1:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Denver Broncos had moved the ball to the San Diego Chargers one yard line, when former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler clearly fumbled the ball. Hochuli inexplicably called it a forward pass. The Hochuli-hatemail ensued.
The Big Ben Lateral
2012 – In the playoff game between the Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, Ron Winter’s crew wrongly called a Ben Roethlisberger lateral pass that was not caught to be a forward pass. The ball was clearly tossed backward, and should have been ruled a fumble.
Pass Interference or Facemask?
2010 - The Broncos held a 20-17 lead over the New York Jets, when on fourth down, Jets QB Mark Sanchez heaved a desperation pass to receiver Santonio Holmes. The pass fell short, but the ref called Broncos DB Renaldo Hill for pass interference. It was clear that Hill inadvertently grabbed Holmes facemask while attempting to catch the ball, but there was no interference. The difference between a 5-yard penalty and a spot foul gave the Jets the game.