Monday, January 16, 2006

Joey Porter crosses the line

I need more information on the rules' definition of "catch" before I know whether Pete Morelli got the replay review wrong in yesterday's Steelers/Colts game. My instinct is that Troy Polamalu had control, but Morelli's explanation indicates to me that he might need to hold onto the ball until he's off the ground. The NFL's explanation today doesn't help, and I can't find any relevant definitions in the NFL rulebook.

So if people want to say Morelli blew the review call, I'm fine with that. Phil Simms saying pointedly: "Well, that's [Morelli's] opinion." Reasonable, although I'd rather know the rule.

But if you're with Joey Porter, I'm not fine with that. Here's what Porter said after the game:

When they did that, they really want Peyton Manning and these guys to win the Super Bowl. They are just going to straight take it for them. I felt that they were like 'We don't even care if you know we're cheating. We're cheating for them.'

A conspiracy theorist! What a dodo. If this were true, the refs did a terrible job throwing the game. It would have been very easy to flag Bryant McFadden for pass interference on that second-down pass. It would have been very easy to throw a flag on the final field goal. More to the point, it would have been very, very easy for the umpire to whistle Polamalu's play as incomplete the first damn time!

I don't ever believe in conspiracy theories: not against JFK, not against OJ, not anybody. There are always too many people to keep quiet. Someone will always sing. They're always ludicrous.

Listen up, idiots: If any sport's referees were caught in any league-related conspiracy, the league would SHUT DOWN. The integrity of results separate sports from pro wrestling. While the NFL may have been lusting for a Peyton Manning win (off the record), they have too much to lose to do anyting as wild as Porter is accusing them of.

Porter needs to be fined six figures.

Joey Porter: A great argument that athletes should be seen and not heard.


17 Comments:

At 12:19 PM, Blogger John B. said...

“When they did that, they really want Peyton Manning and these guys to win the Super Bowl. They are just going to straight take it for them. I felt that they were like 'We don't even care if you know we're cheating. We're cheating for them.'”


Comments like that are damaging to a sport whent hey come from a player, coach or official. A LOT of money is bet on NFL football (that is why the sport is so popular and has such a large TV audience, to be honest, and the NFL knows it), and to accuse or say that there is impropriety or favoritism on the part of the game officials or that someone or the league is 'on the take' is damaging to the betting and ultimately the viewership ratings for the NFL.

All of that aside...the 2-1/2 games that I watched (all of the Colts, and Bears games and 1/2 of the Seahawks game) are all the worst officiated games that I have seen in the NFL in a long time. The Polamalu INT (or not) was blown, unless someone can demonstrate to me that the rules on a catch are different...if so then I will say that I was wrong. Several blown calls in each game, and officials that didn't seem to make a few needed calls.

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger TeacherRefPoet said...

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At 12:45 PM, Anonymous bloggingref said...

John B.:

Other examples of blown calls? I watched every game, and I'll need more examples to convince me things are going downhill.

Also, you were notably quiet about your special friend Joey T's major sins--namely, the worst broadcasting in history last week...slamming an official when Joey had no knowledge of what was happening. Cat got your tongue?

 
At 4:56 PM, Blogger John B. said...

I didn't see last week's Sunday game, so I didn't hear the commentary...but it sounds from your post as if Joe T. was overly enamored with himself...

Hell, Troy Aikman went throught he same type of thing in yesterday's ballgame...none of 'em shut up and let the action speak for itself anymore.

On to the refs:

Blown call in the Bear game, Bear back coming around right end fumbles the ball into the endzone before going out of bounds, the ball and player's hand hit the ground on the 1 yard line before the ball was fumbled into the endzone...they called it a TD on the field (after much discussion). The official was standing right there on the goal line. There was a legitimate face mask called on the Panthers on same play, so it made the TD/ touchback call moot (the booth did overturn the touchdown call into a touchback, it wasn't even close, but the facemask penalty was accepted and nullified the touchback). Could have changed the game remarkably had the facemask penalty not occurred.

Steelers / Colts...the Polamalu thing above...the damn replay official blew it...my nine year old even made the correct call. That swung a TD in Indy's favor a couple plays later, and it gave Indy (and their crowd) a definite boost of momentum.

Both of those calls were in each game Sunday and could have swung the result of the game by 6 points (7 if you count the extra point). Those were the most glaring calls. The Indy-Pitt game was horribly called for most of the second half, while the Bear Panther game was uneventful otherwise from an officiating standpoint.

Then there is the highly questionable pass interference call against Asante Samuel of the Pats in the Denver game Saturday that gave Denver their first touchdown.
Also in that game was the long Champ Bailey INT that shows that he went out of bounds at the one and also had the ball slapped out of his hands into the endzone for a touchback. Again, a possible touchdown swinging call.

Bad calls that swing the score by a touchdown, one each at least in all 3 of the games that I saw is just plain bad...especially for key playoff games. Sure, officials make mistakes (they are human), but all three of these games' calls weren't even close...officials were right there on two of them, and one official blew a call and the replay booth incorrectly overturned an officials correct call. I'll give you the INT return because the official couldn't have moved fast enough to be 'right there' to make the call (he ain't as fast as Champ Bailey, even with Bailey sucking wind 100 yards later), but the other two had officials right there...and they blew it (or rather, the replay official blew the one call).

Key calls resulting in scores blown in games are almost unforgivable at the professional level, people's paychecks count on it.

Officiating in the NFL has slid the last few years...they need to cut down ont he increasing number of penalties per game, and it seems as if there is more controversy than ever over key calls.

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger Blogging Ref said...

John B.:

Thanks for your response...I always love the discussion.

The blown call in the Bears game didn't turn out to be a blown call. It was rightfully overturned. That's why we have replay.

The DPI...I'm not a big fan of that call, but at full speed it looked like Samuel cut off the receiever. Only on replay did I decide it wasn't DPI. And there have ALWAYS been questionable DPI calls (SB XIII is the most notable). This bad one does not mean that officiating is getting worse.

Polamalu--sure, he blew it. That's on Morelli, though. Don't forget that the guy in the field got it right.

Three calls in four games does not mean the sky is falling. It is not evidence to convince me that there's poorer officiating. Your statement--"it seems as if there is more controversy than ever" is a reflection of complete buttheads like Joe Theismann, Boomer Esiason, and Shannon Sharpe. Louder complaints do not equate to poorer officating. Sean Salisbury complimented the Mike Carey crew last week...to follow your logic, doesn't that mean officiating is better than ever?

And what's with "They need to cut down on the increasing number of penalties"? Isn't that the job of coaches and players? How does that fall to the officials? Is it their job to ignore infractions? What exactly are they calling that you think they should let go? There's no logic to that statement.

That sounded like a rant--it's not. It's just a series of questions.

 
At 4:45 AM, Blogger tommyspoon said...

BF, do you think that refs should be held accountable for making bad calls? If so, then how?

Yes, Joey Porter's comments were idiotic. But I understand his frustration with professional officiating: there doesn't seem to be any accountability for making bad calls.

Let Joey Porter's comments go, man. What about Pete Morelli? What business does he have officiating another NFL game?

 
At 6:40 AM, Blogger John B. said...

I think that there shouldbe some public announcement of the accountability / 'punishment' of officials for obviously bad calls, especially for calls that the NFL office admits are bad.

Maybe NFL officials are removed from rotations during the playoffs, I don't know for sure, but a public announcement of what will be done to rectify the situation might help.

The increase int he number of penalties is I am sure in part a reflection on coaching and teams...but the ref's have something to do with it too. I have seen graphics on certain teams of refs and their propensity to call more penalties per game. It should be pretty uniform league wide.

A great article here:
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/print/264/
showing how the crews vary so widely in the amount of penalties called...based on the 2003 season. The article does point out that the amount of penalties has little effect on the scoring in a game...but there should be more consistency.

BTW...Football Outsiders is a great site, I have had it linked on my blog for quite a while.

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger Blogging Ref said...

There is accountability, Spoon--just not public accountability, usually.

What should happen to Jerome Bettis for his fumble? He also makes a mistake--a serious, egregious mistake. Why isn't anyone calling for his "accountability?"

It seems to me that an error in officiating should be dealt with the same as an error in coaching or a dropped pass. Repeated errors, you lose your job. Occasional errors--well, we admit mistakes and move on.

Three errors in four games is not a sign that the sky is falling.

 
At 2:56 AM, Blogger tommyspoon said...

Ok, then:

1. Why isn't it public? I'm not a big fan of secret proceedings so you'll have to rationalize this for me. It seems to me that you are suggesting that refs be treated differently because they are refs. I'm throwing a flag on that assertion, if you are indeed making it. If I made that big a mistake at my job, I could expect to be disciplined, or demoted, or even terminated. Pete Morelli failed to do his job. I don't know if he has a history of making these kind of errors, but his skill is now fairly called into question.

Let me turn this around on you, BR: if you made a similar mistake in your milieu, what would happen? What consequences would you face? What if you had a history of making bad calls? How long would you last?

2. The Bus' fumble in this game was his only one this season, I beleive I heard several heads say. So the consequences for his mistake should be minimal, if any. Now if they had lost the game because of that fumble, I suspect that we would be seeing the replay of his tearful farewell press conference for the umpteenth time by now.

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger John B. said...

Players are certainly disciplined for their transgressions...at worst they are let go or traded because of singular or repeated mistakes, depending on the sport; they are crucified by the media and ripped apart; and coaches have their ways of discipline (more so on the college or high school level, running, etc.). Players are benched when they don't perform...ask most NFL QB's, who are usually benched at one time or another. All of this is public knowledge.

Ask the Packer defensive coordinator from a couple of years ago, he turned the 8th rated defense in the league in for that regular season, but his defense gave up a game losing 4th and 26 play to Philly in the playoffs, and the guy lost his job.

Referees are rarely 'benched' or suspended for a bad call, or asked to sit out a game for a bad or several bad calls. It is a live and let live attitude.

blog ref: I don't want to sound as nearly harsh on refs as you think that I am, they have a rough job, but there needs to be more accountability, public and private, these guys' decisions can and do change the outcomes of games, and thus the livlihoods of coaches and players.

 
At 7:04 AM, Blogger John B. said...

Three errors in four games is not a sign that the sky is falling When each error concerned a TD or a key game changing turnover that led to a TD, yes, these are major mistakes.

I wouldn't say the sky is falling, what I said was that these three games had some of the worst officiating I have seen in the NFL. The replay booth actually overturned a correct call on the field...a call that anyone watching on replay plainly saw was an interception/catch.

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger tommyspoon said...

Allow me to echo the sentiment that CPF has made: I'm not harshing on you or your fellow ref bretheren and sisteren. Refs do an outstanding job 99 times out of 100. But that doesn't mean they should be held above criticism. That's all I want to say. And now I'll shut up.

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger TeacherRefPoet said...

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At 10:04 PM, Anonymous bloggingref said...

John B.:

I just don't see how the one critical mistake in three games means "worst officiating I've ever seen." You're guilty of hyperbole and only remembering three plays, ignoring the rest. What else did you see? Was call selection poor? Was positioning off? I'm not going to give you the Champ Bailey call as bad...replays were hardly conclusive, and Jeff Triplett did a hell of a great job getting as close as he did.

Spoon: If I made a terrible, game-changing call in a game, and I were evaluated that game, it'd hurt my chances of playoff ball (and playoff money). If I were not being evaluated, the coach could ask not to have me back for their games, and I might get a talking to by my assignor. I would not be fined, benched, or otherwise.

Every move these guys make during the regular season is scrutinized big-time, with playoffs on the line. Like it or not, Morelli and his crew earned their spot there this week. It simply means they're in the 7 top crews in the league.

Do either of you favor Mike Vanderjagt or Jerome Bettis being fined or benched? Vanderjagt's kick was every bit as bad as Morelli's call, and while his team was benched, he has no consequence beyond what his innocent teammates have. Is that just? Jerome Bettis' fumble was every bit as bad as Morelli's call. Why isn't he being held accountable? Shouldn't he lose a game check or be suspended too?

And--more importantly--what's the difference between Morelli's mistake and Bettis/Vanderjagt's?

 
At 6:37 AM, Blogger tommyspoon said...

I believe I already answered your question regarding Bettis' fumble in an earlier comment (see point #2 somewhere above).

Vanderjagt's kick was a 50/50 proposition. Missing that kick was terrible, but not an un unexpected result. Which leads me into your last question...

And--more importantly--what's the difference between Morelli's mistake and Bettis/Vanderjagt's?

Morelli had time to review the play, and even had access to technological aid to make that call. He blew the call anyway.

But you haven't answered my original question: "[D]o you think that refs should be held accountable for making bad calls? If so, then how?"

 
At 8:54 PM, Anonymous bloggingref said...

I believe this should affect Morelli's standing and perhaps his future playoff assignments. Is that enough?

Vanderjagt had several minutes to prepare for his kick.

You said that Bettis should have minimal, if any, consequences for his error.

Let us assume that Morelli is as good at his job as Bettis is at his (I have no evidence to prove this other than his playoff assignment). If that's the case, should he also have minimal, if any, consequences for his error?

How about a coach who makes a bad mistake after a time out? Immediate consequences for a terrible call?

 
At 7:02 AM, Blogger tommyspoon said...

I believe this should affect Morelli's standing and perhaps his future playoff assignments. Is that enough?

Yes. But I also want a public announcement stating what those consequences are.

Let us assume that Morelli is as good at his job as Bettis is at his ... If that's the case, should he also have minimal, if any, consequences for his error?

Yes.

How about a coach who makes a bad mistake after a time out? Immediate consequences for a terrible call?

I don't know.

 

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