The NFL (National Flag League)

Ballet Dancer in a Tutu Dress

The NFL is of course, known as the National Football League. However, another  description of the acronym is the No Fun League, a nickname well earned in my opinion, given  the recent enforcement and penalization of meaningless celebrations after a score or great play. Geesh! What else can they do to screw up a good thing? How about this? I give you yet another accurate description; The National FLAG League.

It snowed last Saturday night here in Prescott, AZ. so on Sunday and I stayed in, lit the fireplace, made my almost famous chili and watched football from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.  (life is good). I saw the entire Miami game and parts of every other game, thanks to DirecTV’s NFL Ticket Game Mix. Never in my life have I seen such pathetic officiating! Are these guys getting paid “per penalty” or what? The zebras had more camera time than Kim Kardashian on her wedding day. The stop and go of actually playing the game was frustrating to me as a viewer.  I can only imagine how bad it was for a HC or player!

Every game I saw had it’s share of poor calls. What lacked in quality was made up for by large amounts of quantity of poor quality. Huh? lol The Pats lost their game to the Giants with a questionable PI call at the goal line. Replays showed the players got their feet tangled up, but only the defense was penalized.  On Monday night, the Eagles had a “roughing the passer” penalty called at a crucial time in the Chicago game when the replay clearly showed the defender was pushed in to Cutler. The head ref ignored HC Andy Reids’ plea to look at the jumbo-tron above the field and consider over turning the call. Chicago went on to score and eventually won the game.

The league, in trying to protect players and emphasize offense has reached a new low. The game has lost all of its’ continuity and the teams must be frustrated by the fact it is almost impossible to sustain any type of momentum. Between penalties, scoring reviews, challenges and advertisements the game has become an afterthought. In short, the league is ruining the sport that I love. I am a life long NFL fan and find this “penalty” trend most disturbing.

Particularly bothersome are the penalties called for pass interference and illegal hits. The receiver has every advantage while the defender must play the position like he is walking on egg shells. Not only will this “so-called interfering” with the receiver bring a flag, but often it is a game changing penalty. Worse yet,  the defense must be careful on “how they tackle” a ball carrier or QB. Even an incidental slap to the head of the QB brings “yellow rain” and changes the game and extends drives. ABSURD!


Even more absurd, a hard hit often brings a penalty even though the defender did not lead with, or hit the ball carrier in the head. Huh? Yes! During the 3rd quarter of the KC game Yeremiah Bell was penalized for hitting ball carrier Dwanye Bowe and expects to be fined….again. Replays showed the tackle was a clean hit and even the announcers were in disagreement with the call. The ever so outspoken Tony Dungy has even commented on the “wussiness” of the NFL. I am not even sure what penalty was called. I assume it was either an illegal “helmet to helmet,” “unnecessary roughness,” or “I had an itch in my pocket and felt like throwing the flag” penalty. The last conclusion makes the most sense.   What a friggin joke! Let’s go ahead and put tutus and dancing shoes on these guys and call it a day.

To be fair, the players themselves are equally disturbed by what the league has done and what the refs choose to emphasize. I have been watching the NFL all my life and have never seen such poor officiating and horribly strict rules. For the Fins, this past week it was Bell, the week before it was Marshall. Next week it will be someone else. Simply put, the rules are to strict and lopsided toward the offense and the quality of officiating has never been worse. No fan wants to see their team lose in the final seconds by a call made by a lawyer or airline pilot on his weekend off.

What can and should be done:

  • Review questionable calls: The league allows for review of several type of plays, why not review a “questionable officiating call?” How about allowing the coaches to challenge officiating calls such as PI?
  • Review of Rules: The competition committee and Roger Goodell need to review the rules during the offseason, particularly the PI and illegal hit rules.
  • Full time referees: Refs are currently part – time, weekend warriors. Take Head Referee Ed Hochuli for example, considered one of the best of the best head refs in the NFL (cough, cough). I mention Ed because we all know how much camera time he demands every week. Ed is a partner in an Arizona law firm and claims to work as an attorney full time AND a NFL referee full time. Hmm. Click here for details. Besides his two full time jobs, he even pushes merchandise on his  web site pertaining to his healthy lifestyle and exercise regime. Maybe the NFL should hire, train and develop ” only refs,” similar to umpires in baseball. Umps are required to complete a rigouris school and work so many hours in the minor league before ever stepping on a MLB field. Click here to see what is required to become a MLB umpire.  The requirements of becoming a NFL ref pales in comparison. Click here for details, including the address where you can send in your application.  Perhaps it is time for the NFL to take a page from MLB.
Maybe it is just me, but clearly the bureaucrats and leadership (Goodell)  is ruining the integrity of professional football as we know it in the NFL. Games now take longer than ever and more and more battles are decided by the yellow cloth rather than on the field of battle. It is time to call back the dogs and let the players play. Stop hiding behind the premise of safety and make the rules fair for the offense and the defense. COME ON MAN, LET THEM PLAY!


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