Sorry Pittsburgh Steelers, No Apology From NFL…. Again.


It’s a play that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Steeler Nation won’t forget for a long time.  If this were not the holiday week, it would have been the hot topic at the water cooler all week long.  Instead, most of us are controlling our rage as we finish off our plate of ham and candied yams while listening to Uncle Donnie give his sympathetic opinion of the officials during that game.  And, maybe that’s why it’s so easy for a topic like this to go away while most of us are in food comas or still trying to unbury ourselves out of a mound of shredded wrapping paper.  But as of Thursday afternoon, the NFL has released no apology of the action of the officials for the series of events that took place during the blocked field goal attempt against Green Bay on Sunday.

tumblr_m3h97gaBiq1rs9ie3o1_400Unbeknownst to many of us, the NFL quietly snuck under the radar the few days leading up to Christmas.  Did they have anything to say to the Steelers regarding the play?  Only a virtual flip of the bird.  The only thing that has been said thus far about the play is that the VP of officiating, Dean Blandino, said the officials got the call right about the batting of the ball forward, AND that the officials were right that the play could not be reviewed for possession. :slow applause:

That may be all well and good, but if the NFL.com report has any indication, it’s that the NFL is willing to let the rules from the Competition Committee evolve at the natural rate and the ways it is so used to.  Look, I’m fine with Blandino coming out and defending that the rules were interpreted correctly.  But what I needed to hear, what Steelers Nation needed to hear, and what any football fan needed to hear was that the challenge system has numerous flaws and that the committee needs to be fully committed to perfecting that system or doing away with it entirely.  Someone from the NFL also needs to quit defending the officials in such a way as Blandino did in his statement,

Had this been reviewable, I think we could have overturned it. Again, (it’s) not reviewable. The officials are looking at that action at full speed, live. It’s very difficult to tell at full speed.

Yes.  They are payed to make sound judgement calls on plays that are happening at full speed.  Well here’s a penny for your thoughts – How about using full time officials and training them in vigorous ways so that we don’t run into situations like this?  I really want to know what happened in that huddle of officials, and I really want to know if the official who threw the blue marker – the one that signifies a change in possession – when Ryan Clark had the football was overruled.  Why wasn’t that explained to us either from the field or after.  You can clearly see from replays that an official from the sidelines threw the marker.  Why didn’t he speak up?  Why wasn’t that part of the conversation?  Why hasn’t the Steelers even come out and say something?  To many, it’s all in the distant past already, but I’m sick and tired of having a system of officiating that allows for bad calls, a porous challenge systems, and no one out there within the league stating it needs to get better.

This is just like when the Steelers faced the Ravens on Thanksgiving, and Le’Veon Bell got his clock cleaned and blacked out for a few minutes.  The officials should have penalized the Ravens for the helmet to helmet – there wasn’t.  The players involved in the hit should have been fined – they weren’t.  Bell should have been awarded the touchdown because of his natural momentum of a limp body in motion, not one that was trying to extend the play with the helmet off – he wasn’t awarded anything but an escort off the field.

The system needs a vast revamp, and it would be ‘nice’ for the NFL to acknowledge that a little more than just “something the (NFL) Competition Committee has looked at in the past, and I’m sure it’s something they will continue to look at.”

 

 

 

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  • melly

    The reason? The NFL refs–and the league–have turned this game into a joke. At this point in the proceedings, it’s probably time to admit it’s all a fixed farce and move on to baseball season.

  • leowalter

    Great column Craig. The ridiculous calls and non-calls are very Much at the heart of what is wrong with the current NFL.

  • Rick Aucoin

    Whut? The helmet to helmet vs. Bell in the Raven’s game wasn’t illegal. He’s a running back running with the ball, it’s perfectly legal for that hit to have taken place according to the rules of the game.
    How can anyone not know this and yet be writing articles about NFL officiating?