I have no horse in this race, but fair is fair, and the Saints were treated unfairly.
As I walked around Atlanta this weekend, every Saints fan I met was gracious about it. I'd still be rioting if this happened to my team. It was a broad daylight robbery and I'll never forget how corrupt the sport is.
Fuck Goodell, fuck the refs and fuck the tainted Super Bowl.
You lost me there
Read no more into that than what I said.
First, if you don't know, I live in New Orleans. I went to Saints games in the days when fans had bags on their heads. I'm no disinterested party, but I tell myself that I know how to think critically with at least some objectivity.
There were four referees with a clear line of sight to the play. Two - the field judge and the line judge on the Saints' right side - had perfect and proximate views. The back judge also had a reasonable view. Lastly, the head referee, who did not have the relevant responsibility on that play, had a direct line of sight to the contact as well. And there is good footage of his eyes turning toward the action before the hit. This is interesting because he claimed that he did not see the play. This is what we in south Louisiana like to call a dirty fargin' lie.
The side judge and the field judge were in perfect position, proximate to the play, without any interference, and did not throw a flag despite it being as uncontroversial and obvious a pass interference as one will ever see. People with minimal knowledge of the game recognized it. Everyone saw it. But the two people closest to it not wearing football gear thought it was kosher?
Human error is a part of the game, just like that rat fink chode-face Goodell said. He's right. And just like in most games, there were missed calls benefiting both sides because the game is fast and sometimes views are not ideal and they're humans. We all get that. That hit on Lewis was different.
Too many people with too ideal a view of too obvious a call not throwing a flag in that instance makes the chance of simple error explaining it preposterous. The chances of it being sincere error are an infinitesimally number. Of this I am certain, and any reasonable person should be able to come to this conclusion if you see the play enough.
I don't know what happened. I have considered the possibility that it was just raw cowardice: an unwillingness to make a call that would have been that consequential. There's a screed from a retired referee that has made the rounds asserting that it looks like some alpha dominance bullshit by the more senior field judge who intimidated the side judge into not making the call (he also states unequivocally that both should be canned). I suppose that's possible. I think it's unlikely that of the four refs with a view, none could summon the courage to make the easiest call of the day.
As for alternate explanations, I just don't know. I do know that in my line of work we tend to let Occam's Razor guide our initial thinking. But we also know that when ordinary explanations do not suffice, we must entertain the extraordinary. When you hear hooves, it's almost always a horse. But every now and then, it's a pack of zebras.
The applicable ref was about ten feet away, with a perfectly unobstructed view of the play, and failed to call two obvious penalties. No playoff caliber ref is that incompetent.
On the other hand, any grand conspiracy to get L.A. into the Super Bowl would be far too risky for the NFL to try to pull off. If that ever came out the NFL would be finished.
I tend to think the ref, in the heat of the moment, thought it was a bang-bang play (that was likely but not definitely interference), so he decided to swallow his flag to not be a deciding factor in the game. Unfortunately for him, it wasn't in any way a bang-bang call, so he unintentionally became THE deciding factor in the game. And will almost certainly never referee another significant moment in his career.
"controversial" calls in the last 5 minutes of the game so as not to become "the" story. The same thing happens in the NBA.
It's bothered me for years--if it is in the damn rulebook, it's there for a reason and it's there for the whole game, not just 90% of the game.
That's the biggest driver here. As you said their biggest fear is becoming the story of the game. Swallowing the whistle at the end of a playoff game (or not pulling the flag) in hockey, football, or basketball is usually the safest bet with that fear in mind. Obviously this strategy backfired epically in this case.
of the game.” It would have been the moron who Mack-trucked a WR while a perfectly thrown ball was coming to him.
Rewarding that kind of desperate stupidity is never OK. And if you don’t want to feel responsible for the progress of a football game, don’t become a ref. Because well-deserved penalties cannot but affect the outcome of a game. Grow up.
You're a professional referee because you're expected to enforce the rules with consistency, regardless of game situation.
I've seen the theory that this phenomenon extends even more deeply into college basketball, particularly during the NCAA tournament. Apparently the number of fouls called on each team is shockingly even during March; when one team accumulates a foul discrepancy, the stats seem to show that the refs will work pretty consistently to even the playing field - so as not to make refereeing the post-game "story".
As you said, it's fucking maddening.
distributed’ mind set of bb fans.
Making the decision you outlined is still a human error. It wouldn't have been made because the NFL wanted LA in the Super Bowl or he himself wanted LA in the Super Bowl. If that isn't human error, it is at worst the stupid refereeing symptom of not wanting to call a penalty/foul at the end of a game that they would've called at any other time during the game.
The conspiracy theories are where the gripes fly off the rails and lose any sort of sympathy one might have for the Saints. I have none, so I find the whole thing hilarious.
I'd say it wasn't so much an "error", as it was a manifestation of the horrible end-of-game ref'ing philosophy that seems to be endemic in professional sports.
I think we're all agreeing here, just stating it differently. I don't think it was corrupt, but I don't think it was just a simple "mistake", either.
happens all the times in games--what is the rule for the first 55 minutes of the game changes in the last 5.
It isn't a conspiracy or corruption, however.