Throwing a Flag at the Clueless NFL

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The NFL is a multibillion-dollar league with 10-cent officiating.  Baffling calls are so normal that games would feel weird without them.  Labeling regular poor calls a disgrace insults disgraces.  A sport becomes useless if administered unfairly.  But at least professional football has no other problems, except for like 30 other things.

The league knows what fans want.  Hardcore football junkies tune in hoping officiating slobs halt action to nonchalantly discuss if anyone knows the game’s rules and if they were violated.  Those watching like believing they could do the job better than those on the field; since most players are rather gifted athletically, useless refs fulfill aspirations.

Spinning the Wheel of Justice is far more random than a game with set rules should be, and far less entertaining.  The league’s centennial approaches, which means they should probably settle on guidelines.

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How the NFL got to the point where nobody knows what catch is reminds us of Post Malone’s career: there’s no explanation for something so nonsensical.  Teams like throwing the ball, according to scientific statistical research.  Perhaps it would be good to know what constitutes a successful attempt?

Making it up as they go along is more fun in jazz than officiating.  Infamously forgetting to call interference during the NFC Championship offered a nice distraction from a dud of a Super Bowl.

The emblematically obvious example was particularly odd to not call in a league dedicated to treating the ball like a javelin.  If NFL overlords would prefer fans not spread ridiculous conspiracy theories about wanting certain teams to win, they could stop being inept.

The only certain rule is summary execution for any defender who dares scowl at a quarterback.  Present precedent seems like a dare to see how ridiculous roughing the passer calls can get.  Next, Jerry Hughes will be flagged 15 yards for the thoughtcrime of wanting to crush Tom Brady’s spleen.

Gee, why are fans ticked?  I’m sure customer resentment has nothing to do with the Kafkaesque ordeal whenever the ball is near the goal line.  Roger Goodell thankfully has a contact through 2384, as life would be boring without a capricious villain changing rules based on mood.  

Putzing zebras seem to be an argument for keeping replay.  But the league would have to hire people who are good at watching, which is clearly impossible.

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A chance to stop the game and review ample footage means getting it right, right?  But no system will be failsafe as long as humans are operating it, especially considering the particular humans who work for the NFL.  This is the shrewd entity that uses tablets to review plays in stadiums that feature television screens large enough to affect the tides.  Let the refs who screwed it up in the first place fix it.

Tell the Sabres that the opportunity to watch what happened ensures justice.  Also, recall the Music City Misdemeanor was reviewed.  Mostly, looking at each frame like it’s the Zapruder film takes away joy.  Replay has become a way to rule our favorite plays never existed.  Throwing out exciting results based on maddening technicalities is exactly the intention, right?  Monitor the take a penny tray for theft while criminals wheel out the ATM.

Let cyborgs help humans.  Why not use technology to help oafs who need help with Velcro?  Cameras lined up with the grid would make ball placement more precise, as would sensors inside the game’s namesake object.  For now in these primitive times, spotting resembles quantum physics where we can’t be certain about position.

The official contrives a solution that ignores written logic.  Deus ex refereena creates an unsatisfying conclusion.

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The worst part is how everyone knows.  It’s a catch if it looks like one.  The standard should be based in common sense, which is why the league can’t manage.  

Trying to enjoy the product despite the best efforts of the league gets harder every game.  Taking customers for granted is why monopolies never last.  Football injustice will get to the point where it outright ruins enjoyment.  Is anyone in New Orleans eager for next season?  Meanwhile, the AAF lets us hear what replay officials are thinking, which makes up for letting Marvin Lewis do color commentary.

Diminished interest brings to mind a crying baby: it could be for many reasons.  The Patriots winning every damn championship comes to mind.  But capricious rules are a huge factor in alienation, even when it’s something fans are desperate to love.  With all the focus on internal battles, the NFL forgets it’s competing with other sports.  Or ticked fans might just skip games to watch the next Marvel movie, as there’s bound to be a new one today.

I’ll be fairer than they are and note it’s incredibly tough to officiate football.  Try to notice every infraction committed by 22 violent men competing at superhuman speeds with thousands of lager-soaked ticket-holders shrieking at you about how lousy your ancestry is and see if you don’t feel frazzled.  That’s why there are a gang of them assigned to each game.

But that’s their job.  The group might get calls right 99 percent of the time, which means they’ve failed.  Holding part-time unfit game cops as accountable as the players whose livelihoods they control doesn’t seem like too steep of a request.  So, expect it to remain ignored.

Editor’s babble: As always, thanks to Anthony Bialy for providing some jollies as we make our way through the latest appearance of the polar vortex. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.