Hold officials accountable
In the last few years, I believe the officiating of football games have become very questionable. Although I have been blaming officials for not enforcing the rules as explained in the rulebook, it is not all their fault. Should rules be followed as written?
It seems like every few years there is a different movement in how the rules are interpreted and enforced. For example, holding as defined in the dictionary is “the illegal obstruction of an opponent”. I believe most people would think if an opponent grasps another with their hands, it would be a holding penalty. That is not correct. Offensive linemen can hold (grasp) an opponent inside the framework of their body.
One of the recent areas of contention is how defensive backs grab receivers as they come off the line or are in the first steps of running routes. So, what is holding? How can officials be held accountable for not enforcing the rules when the rules in the book are not exactly written to explain how the officials are expected to enforce them?
I understand the difficulty officials have in being consistent when the rule book and interpretations are not the same. Officials are good people trying to do a job. I believe they want to do right and be good at what they do. I also understand that when officials make a mistake costing a team victory, there is basically no consequence for them. The consequence usually falls on the coach of the losing team.
Should coaches have the ability to question a call and have it reviewed? With all the technology available today, most schools could provide a system to have calls reviewed. If officials knew their call or even their lack of a call could be reviewed would this improve the game?
Have you noticed there are not as many calls made in the playoffs as compared to the regular season? I have literally witnessed linemen grasping their opponent in headlocks in front of the official and nothing was called. Everyone makes mistakes but nothing happens to an official when they obviously will not make a call?
Several years ago, Jimbo Fisher was not pleased in a game when his Florida State team lost a tough ACC showdown to Clemson 37-34. During the fourth quarter, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook broke loose for a 50-yard run. The Seminoles were clinging to a 28-26 lead. However, the lengthy gain was negated when a chop-block penalty was called on the fullback. The call caused the team to lose momentum.
Fisher was extremely upset and said the call was ridiculous. He told the reporters it was not a chop and explained what happened. He made a true statement when he said coaches are held accountable, players are held accountable and asked why officials are not held accountable.
Regardless of how the rules are enforced, coaches must adapt and play to the style of how officials are enforcing the rules. I really believe if coaches had the ability to question calls or even the lack of calls, the game would be better for the safety of the players.
Thought for the week, “You don’t notice the referee during the game unless he makes a bad call.” Drew Curtis