Tag Archives: National Football League

Let humans play and officiate these games

An astonishing event occurred Sunday as I watched a Dallas Cowboys wide receiver get robbed of a near-touchdown after an “official review” of a play near the end zone.

My opposition to instant replay hardened.

How can that be? It’s because we’re surrendering to technology the ability to make split-second decisions in the heat of competition.

Dez Bryant caught a pass from Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and fell toward the end zone. He had possession of the ball. The Green Bay Packers saw it differently, which is understandable, given the intensity of the game at the moment. They called for a review. Then they got the play overturned. Bryant’s catch was ruled an incompletion.

I am not going to argue here whether the Cowboys were robbed.

It’s just that because I remain a bit of a stodgy, old-fashioned kind of guy on some things, I hate that officials who call these games are being second-guessed by technology.

Hey, the game is played by human beings. Last time I looked, we humans can and do make mistakes. Do officials who run football, baseball, basketball and hockey games make mistakes? Sure. What percentage of all the thousands of calls they make during a season are wrong? Oh, maybe a fraction of a fraction of 1 percent? Maybe?

It might be that I don’t have enough of a stake in some of these games to get worked up over whether an official blows a call. Yes, I have my favorite teams. Did I mention I’m rooting huge for my Oregon Ducks tonight in the College Football Playoff championship game against Ohio State?

Whatever. These games belong to human beings. Fans deserve top-quality entertainment. The players deserve to be treated fairly. Coaches deserve respect for the tough job they do.

High-tech gadgets are fine. I’m all for them. I own a few myself and I’m getting used to operating some of them.

However, when it comes to watching athletic events, I prefer to leave the human factor alone.

Let the athletes perform to the best of their ability and let the officials call the game to the best of their ability as well. They get it right almost all the time.

How in this world did we play these games before the arrival of instant replay?

Two-game suspension? For this?

Where I come from, beating someone unconscious is a firing offense.

If you’re a National Football League running back, though, you can get off with less than a slap on the wrist.

Ray Rice has been caught on video beating the daylights out of a woman who’s now his wife. The NFL “punished” the Baltimore Ravens running back by forcing him to sit out the first two games of the upcoming season.

Gosh, I hope Rice can recover.


The so-called punishment makes a mockery out of the NFL on a couple of levels. It virtually gives Rice a pass for committing an act of violence against another human being. It also suggests the NFL has an arbitrary and totally uneven policy regarding players who commit serious wrongdoing.

The quarterback Terrelle Pryor received a five-game suspension for getting involved — while he was attending Ohio State University — in a memorabilia scam.

Ray Rice beats his then-girlfriend senseless and he is booted for two games?

What in the world is going on here?

As Mike Lupica writes in the New York Daily News:

“Now Rice gets two games. One of the things we hear is that he had no priors before this incident. Good job, Rice! Only point-missers think that is relevant in the case of a man taking a hand to a woman.

“No one cares whether Rice was a first offender with this incident or not. The offense at hand — and by his hand — is enough. Goodell had the chance to set a proper and strong precedent here and chose not to. Maybe the problem here is that being The Enforcer has turned out to be this kind of job, even as Goodell’s league gets more prosperous and more popular than ever.”

Commissioner Goodell, you’ve got a big problem.