Just one week into the season and we are already griping about the officiating in the NFL.
During this past weekend's game between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks, the referees made a plethora of mistakes, one of which almost cost Arizona the game. The refs seemed confused throughout the match, huddling together for long spans of time to determine the calls that needed to be made.
For the NFL, this shows poorly on their judgment. It has become obvious that having former D3 college officials call these pro games is a bit of a daunting task for them. That is why the league needs to go ahead and cough up the money to get the regulars back.
Let's look at what happened that almost sent fans into an uprising on Sunday. In the fourth quarter, receiver Doug Baldwin of the Seattle Seahawks was injured after dropping a potential touchdown pass in the end zone. The Seahawks, with no timeouts left, called one anyhow to get their injured man off of the field.
Although the clock was stopped, a timeout would have been taken from the team to get their injured player. But since the Seahawks technically had used all three of their stoppages already, a runoff should have been put into effect. Instead, the refs granted Seattle a fourth timeout. Huh?
Not only did they get an additional timeout, but the refs huddled for what seemed to be 20 minutes to figure it all out. After discussing the issue with one another, they deemed that a play earlier, resulting in another injured Seahawks player, did not take a timeout away since the clock was stopped. So, in essence, they got a freebie.
Luckily, the Cardinals went on to win the game with spectacular red zone defense, but it could have been ugly. After the game, the head referee finally acknowledged his mistake and apologized for the unjust ruling.
These are the types of things the league cannot afford to deal with. Their popularity is at an all-time high, why mess with that by not paying the normal referees what they have asked for? I understand the idea behind bargaining, but there comes a point where you have to think about the future of the league with less than qualified replacements.
One of these games, the refs will make a huge blunder and it will inevitably cost someone the game. That is when fans are going to throw a fit. And that is when the NFL is going to have a real issue on their hands.