NFL officials under fire after controversial rulings

Photo courtesy of Referee Jefferey Beall, Flickr

The NFL season has gotten off to a rocky start, mainly because fans are growing tired with the officiating and the ridiculous rules that have been put in place.

One of the bigger issues the NFL has had to face is the new roughing the passer rule, which has caused an insane amount of flags to be thrown on tackles that were once considered legal.

Beyond that, however, is an issue that has plagued football for the past few seasons, which is the fact that officials are absolutely botching calls on the field that decide the outcome of games.

For example, during the Week 4 matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns, the officials blew two calls during the game that had a major impact on the Browns' loss.

The first missed call was when Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled the ball. The official didn’t realize the ball was on the ground and blew the play dead. Even though the Browns came out of the pile with the ball, the Raiders were awarded the ball because forward progress had been stopped.

Later on in the game, Browns running back Carlos Hyde appeared to get a first-down on a third-down run with less than two minutes to go. The replay showed that Hyde did indeed get the first down, but the officials somehow overturned it and said that he was just inches short.

This call allowed Carr and the Raiders another possession, where they were able to tie the game and eventually win in overtime.

Another issue arose from the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers Week 5 matchup, where Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was awarded a first-down on a play where he was visibly short of the first-down marker.

On television, the replay continued to show that McCaffrey was just short, but the head official, Jerome Boger, and the league officiating office, decided not to look at the play because the office determined that he got a first-down and no review was needed.

Because he was given the favorable spot, the Panthers were able to spike the ball and preserve time for the eventual game-winning 63-yard field goal by Graham Gano.

Every football fan knows that when a play is too close to call, especially towards the end of the game, the officials halt play for a considerable amount of time to make sure they get things right.

How could the league officiating office have reviewed it and communicated back to Boger in such a short amount of time, given that Panthers quarterback Cameron Newton hustled to the line of scrimmage and spiked it? Once the next play is run, the previous play cannot be reviewed. There’s no way they adequately looked at the play in the minimal time they had. 

These two instances are few among many, and because there have been so many ridiculous outcomes of games due to officiating — it’s time the league starts fining and disciplining referees like they do with the players. 

People pay a lot of money to see these games and players risk their bodies every single game. It’s not fair that they continue to get screwed over because the officials continue to mess up and face no repercussions.