So why would I choose right now to go on a tirade? Well, in this peaceful setting, I feel like I can get this rant out of the way and do it with as much grace and understanding as possible. So with that said, here goes…
The NFL’s “point of emphasis” on illegal contact and illegal hands to the face is PURE LUNACY! It has been several years since I have had any real beef with NFL referees (aside from the obvious “Fail Mary”) but I’m gonna put this down in black and white right now:
- This point of emphasis will ruin the tempo of games
- It will NEVER be called fairly
- It will randomly win and lose games for teams
Through the first 22 preseason games, there have been an average of 18.1 penalties enforced (not including declined penalties)…this is ridiculous. I know, I know, the league expects players to simply adjust to this new emphasis. The problem is that the penalties will never be called fairly. In the two Packer preseason games thus far I have already seen
- An offensive illegal contact (push off) call in the Tennessee game called on the Packers. The very next series, the Titans receiver did the same thing…this time it was called defensive pass interferance. Both penalties were on the Packers and were costly.
- An illegal hands to the face call that when the replay was shown in slow motion, it was clear that both players hit the other up under the face mask.
These flags are subjective and will end up making the penalties determine the winner of games. Players are going to fight it out…the old system was better, players could use their hands and pass interference or holding was called when it influenced the play.
One of the most positive things we saw in the Packers game versus the Rams was the tempo that the team was able to play with. This locks defenses in to personnel groups and just plain tires them out. Multiple flags will destroy this tempo, mark my words. I think the Packers offense will be the beneficiary of many of the penalties but I have already seen too many calls on the Packers to think it is going to be a non-issue.
The calls already have seemed so random. Rarely is there a call that couldn’t go either way in this new scenario, with this new emphasis. It’s gonna be a crap shoot as to who gets penalized. It’s not gonna be fun Packernation, it’s not gonna be fun.
There are a couple of guarantees if the NFL carries this emphasis into the regular season. The games are gonna be longer, the scores are gonna be higher (this is why they’re doing it) and I predict the highest scoring season in NFL history. But instead of being exciting, the scores are gonna come not from the way the players play but from the random observations of the refs.
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