These Are the NFL’s Best Referees?
The NFL constantly monitors and grades referee performance during the regular season and then selects the highest-rated regular season refs to preside over the postseason games.
The system didn’t look to me like it was working very well in the Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys matchup.
Davante Adams played another steady and energetic game, resulting in five catches for 76 yards. Against Adams, the only Dallas defender who got flagged all game long was Morris Claiborne, five yards for an obvious hands-to-the-face infraction.
With about a minute left in the first quarter, Adams made what has become his best play, a stop-and-go move. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick, taken in by the fake, spun Adams around and all but tore his jersey off as Adams accelerated past him, causing Aaron Rodgers’ pass to fall harmlessly to the ground several yards downfield. Adams quickly got his revenge, however, as he moved over to the left side and beat Byron Jones for a 32-yard catch on the very next play.
With 5:15 left in the half, and the Packers inside their own 10-yard line, Adams ran a quick slant toward the middle of the field – in full view of about four referees. Claiborne grabbed and held his right arm for five yards. No penalty was called and Adams went ballistic. It was a third down play and the incompletion forced the Packers to punt.
Following the game, Adams was gracious, saying that he guessed the refs decided to just let the players play. I know what he meant, but what was being allowed was just the opposite. Adams was completely prevented from running his routes. These weren’t close calls, they weren’t subtle, and they happened where the ball was going, so many sets of referees’ eyes should have observed the mayhem.
I’ve not said a word about referees all year. Until this game I hadn’t seen such shoddy work.
As an aside, fans undoubtedly saw that on the 36-yarder to Jared Cook at games’ end, the head linesman signaled an incomplete pass. Fortunately, the back judge immediately came in and overruled him. Did you see the first ref smack the second one on the butt? He realized he had blown the call, and was thanking the second official for bailing him out and getting it right.
The NFL needs to work harder on referee consistency. There should be no such thing as some crews calling plays closely and others “letting ‘em play.”
Pass interference and defensive holding calls and non-calls aren’t subject to booth review.
It would be a shame to have the conference championship or the Super Bowl decided by a non-call like the two I described above.