So far in this 2013-2014 season, the NFL and its officials have had plenty of mistakes, questions and concerns. All of these things have the fans of the game sitting at home and scratching their heads.
This season will be one in which we actually have real, trained officials for the entire season. Last year, as most of us know, the league had replacement officials during a strike by the “real” officials. During this time, the replacement refs tried their best to get calls right, but in reality they didn’t do a good job.
However, the next week, the refs returned to a standing ovation in many stadiums. Seems like only yesterday this happened. Now, the same refs who stood on the field saluting the crowds are under the microscope, and the league is partially to blame for this with the variety of ridiculous rules that have been put into play.
There are several things wrong with the rules and the officials, but one thing that is clear is that protection of quarterbacks is not being consistently enforced.
It has become evident to me and every other NFL fan that throughout the league, many quarterbacks are treated differently. The league has put in many rules that try to protect quarterbacks. I am all for the protection of quarterbacks in the league, but it seems that some quarterbacks are treated differently based on their rank in the league.
A great example was this past week during the Tennessee Titans game. Early in the second half, Titans quarterback Jake Locker dropped back and threw a quick out to a receiver. After the ball had clearly been released, New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson took a shot at Locker. As Locker was going to the ground from the hit, Quinton Coples then hit him again. The sandwich hit left Locker on the ground motionless and grabbing his hip. He was then carted off the field, but to add insult to injury no flags were thrown.
This is where my beef with the league and the refs come into play. Had Locker been Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, there is no doubt flags would’ve been thrown all over the field. But because Locker isn’t a “top tier” quarterback in the league, no penalty was called.
Along with this, on numerous occasions this season, I have seen quarterbacks hit in the head, right in front of the ref, and no flags were thrown. It is a tad bit ridiculous in my opinion that the league wants to protect players yet they miss these obvious calls.
Now I am not saying we need to put skirts on these players and not allow them to be touched. However, I am saying that the consistency or lack there of by the referees to enforce these penalties needs to be looked at, and it needs to be done soon so that injuries, like the one by Locker, can be avoided.