Hills like white-striped elephants
So I’m reading ProFootballTalk’s Web site tonight, and I came across this article. It’s written by the site’s de facto Editor-in-Chief Mike Florio, whom you have seen on NBC Sports’ eponymous “Pro Football Talk.” I saw the headline “NFL officiating needs a complete overhaul” and became intrigued. “Well, of course it does,” I said to myself as I think back to all the of over-regulatory calls with the ball in flight, which tilt the momentum and general inertia of a game.
Florio is feeding off of Peter King’s article, commenting on the grading system that NFL officiating crews employ to gauge their effectiveness. As it turns out, NFL officiating crews, “obsess over their grades like a teenage girl obsesses over her Twitter followers.” Minus the valid but C-level joke, I find this to be vaguely revealing. It’s an accountability system. So what?
What Florio never mentioned, and what I couldn’t believe (but I actually can because he comes across as a sort of “Company Man” for the NFL) is how the 2013 NFL rule book is a milquetoast piece of garbage. It’s thick like Peter North; wading through it is an insurmountable task not unlike the Affordable Health Care bill. The book is far too complicated for any person (that includes lucrative laywers who referee part time, i.e. Ed Hochuli) to recall its contents while making a snap judgment.
How are we, as a fan, as a football community, not pushing this narrative? Why is Vernon Davis, a player pushing for a spot on the competition committee, proposing a rule about tackling players by the nut sack? Instead, why can’t the rules be simplified? Why can’t pass interference, late hits, helmet-to-helmet, etc. be streamlined into an easy-to-adjudicate guide? Morgan Burnett was called for a personal foul for what looked like a fast hit, and fast hits–regardless of whether the defender’s helmet makes contact with offender’s–are personal fouls, which often times give the offense an absurd advantage. How many 3rd downs are not only converted but given huge yardage awards on controversial calls? (Pro Football Focus, where ya at?)
Mike Pereria has hinted at simplifying the rule book. He hasn’t expanded on the helmet-to-helmet stuff, and I’m sure he won’t. The NFL is trying to change a culture. I don’t like it. I’ll try to accept it, but I don’t know if I ever will. I grew up loving the contact, the brutality that came with football. But when Drew Brees is given another bonus opportunity because he was hit like he was supposed to be (and I know first-hand how important a healthy franchise QB is), I become enraged. Who would John Lynch have been if he were drafted in 2014? What would Dick Butkus say if he was penalized for hitting a “defenseless receiver?”
I’m sick of answering my rhetorical questions. Does anyone agree with this? Or am I alone on Jack Island, shirtless, riding a unicorn drinking Miller Park margaritas out of a Crunk Cup?