Thursday, October 08, 2009

Beyond a reasonable doubt refs affected outcome of Ravens @ Patriots


"I want the penalty called. I want 15 yards. I don't care if they hit me or not. That's an advantage for our offense. You just want to make sure the refs . . . I go hug the refs before the game, and ask about his kids and stuff like that. I'm trying to get him on our side."

These are the words of Tom Brady shared on Wednesday as the media dug a little deeper into the alleged favoritism towards the league’s reigning Miss NFL. Let’s hope the league’s officials read his quote. Now that the secret is out Tom, I wonder if your pet zebras will now see your feigned chumminess for the phony gamesmanship that it is…

You can’t really fault Brady for his Oscar-caliber performances but you can call him stupid for admitting to them. Yet the real fault here lies with the officiating. I get the rules – like them or not they are the rules. If you need to protect quarterbacks then do it – ALL QUARTERBACKS. There’s a reason that the league chose not to fine the Ravens’ players this week – they were right to voice their frustrations!

And for those of you that want to criticize the Ravens for complaining about the officiating, how about YOU get over it! By voicing their opinion the Ravens just made the NFL world a better place for all future 2009 opponents of the New England Patriots and that could be a could thing for the purple and black.

If you are among the many that take Ray Lewis’ and Ed Reed’s complaints as whining then try and place yourself as close to their shoes as you can. Imagine for a moment that you put in a week’s worth of work and preparation for a big presentation only to have unfair subjectivity keep you from the success you deserve. Might you complain a bit about the sequence of events leading up to the failure just moments after the said failure occurred?

And if you didn’t complain, maybe your employer picked the wrong person for the job.
Some might say this topic is old but let’s break out the wrench and dial back the hands of time just a bit here and revisit a few key calls…

Call No. 1: The Patriots are facing a third and 9 from their own 37 down 7-3. Brady short-arms a pass to Ben Watson that falls incomplete yet the drive is kept alive thanks to a ticky-tack penalty against Haloti Ngata whose forearm grazes Brady’s helmet. Brady falls to the ground like he’s been hit by a bus. Yellow laundry flies and the drive remains alive.

Call No. 2: Five plays later the Patriots fall well short of a first down after a failed third and two conversion attempt. The mark on the field is so clearly short of the marker that Stevie Wonder (with all due respect) could have been in the crowd signaling fourth down. Yet the officials grant Bill Belichick’s request for a measurement.

Neither Belichick nor Brady even watches the measurement. Both obviously know they are short but they successfully bait the officials into what amounts to a free timeout during which they collect their thoughts and opt to go for it on fourth down. They convert. Two plays later it’s Patriots 10 Ravens 7 after a questionable touchdown by Brady who was arguably short of the goal line.

Call No. 3: Ensuing drive – the Ravens first of the second quarter. After three plays that gained 4, 22 and 12 yards respectively the Ravens face a first and 10 from the New England 38. Joe Flacco throws a deep post to Derrick Mason which was defended by rookie Darius Butler. Clearly Butler interfered yet there was no call. Want proof of the interference? Look at the picture above.

The Ravens were forced to punt.

Do you think if that had been Domonique Foxworth climbing Randy Moss’ back in Boston that laundry would have littered the goal line?

Call No. 4: Fast forward to the 5:16 mark of the second quarter. The Patriots face a second and 11 from the Ravens 43. Terrell Suggs beats his man but gets hit by a second offensive lineman. His momentum carries him towards Tom Brady’s knees yet through pure athleticism he redirects his body in a way to avoid a serious lower leg collision with Brady. Unfortunately he still grazes the quarterback’s knee. The referee staring right at the play does nothing until the Golden Boy throws a mini tantrum and then gets the desired flag. Two plays later, Sammie Morris carries it in for the score – Patriots 17-7.

Four calls resulting in a 21 point swing.

And let’s not even drill down on the Illegal Contact call against Chris Carr despite contact being initiated by Wes Welker and then later in the game Derrick Mason collides with Leigh Bodden in a much less violent collision than the Carr-Welker confrontation – a collision which by the way was initiated by Bodden more than 5 yards down field. Yet Mason is flagged.

Oh and then there’s the terrible spot after the failed fake field goal giving the Patriots a first down before the penalty essentially giving them a free pass to kick a field goal – another 3 point swing.

So for those of you who say get over it, stop whining, the referees didn’t make a difference – SHUT UP!

They did make a difference and none of these pivotal calls went the way of the visitors – calls that added up to 24 potential points.

These calls weren’t the only reason the Ravens lost because despite it all they still had control of the outcome near the end.

But make no mistake about it, those calls absolutely contributed to the loss.

Photo by Sabina Moran

6 comments :

Jerry B said...

Spoken like a true, "ersatz" lawyer, TL! All you have to know about the officiating Sunday was that is was so blatanly one-sided and egregious, the league has eschewed the heretofore obligatory fines! I understand owners attempting to protect prized "assets", but football is a violent contact sport and continuous attempts to protect participants interferes with the integrity of the game. "Incidental contact" needs to be differentiated from intentional acts! By the way, whatever happened to, "in the grasp", which seemed like a reaasonable compromise in protecting the QBs?

Richard in Dallas said...

Hello Tony,
Excellent observations about those "napoleon-complexed" arbiters of the rules! And, yes, props to the "complainers" - if more players manned-up and took the potential $25K hit (based on their salaries, a drop in the ocean), perhaps change (where is PresObama when we need him?) would be a possibility.

I have believed for Y E A R S that the refs are generally incompetent on calls more difficult/subjective than illegal procedure or offsides, and can unfairly but easily influence game outcomes with just 1 or 2 flags - will I go so far as to accuse them of being on the take: would not surprise me.

The only thing I can say in their defense is that the rules, even if written with the best of intentions, ie: protecting QBs, are such that uniformity of enforcement is impossible and interpretive favoritism is a constant factor.

AND, as to the rule-writers' obvious goal of more offense, I say this: do you see all those D+fense signs; do you hear the crowd maniacly screaming defense during opposing teams' drives; do you remember those fabulous defensive games in the cold&snow of yesteryear in Green Bay or Foxborough (the tuck rule game - semi-yesteryear) or Baltimore or ...?!?

I dare say fans love great D as much as a drive kept alive by a dubious "contact past 5 yards" call on the opposite side of the field that has no effect on the play which culminates in an eventual TD on a QB sneak!

Let 'em play...even if it's just a little bit more!!!!!!!

Fran From Glen Burnie said...

Brady and the Patriots have been getting those calls for years. Remember the infamous "phantom fumble" in the Raider game in a driving snowstorm? It's still going on. They will always get those calls in Gillette Stadium, right or wrong.

That said, I will pay closer attention to future Patriots games played in NE to see if your theory is correct.

My point is that, despite the bad calls and bad placements, if the Ravens had a more balanced game plan with more running and less passing, we keep the ball out of Brady's hands and win the game. Mc
cain doesn't get a touch all game and is absent as a fullback when we needed him most. Joe Flacco can't win a game by himself - yet. He's not in Manning's class.

IMHO, the Ravens badly underutilized our best asset - the running game - and it cost us.

Harryos29 said...

Harry os 29 OCT 8th
.. JUST let the FOOTBALL players Play football.
... Money has ruined the game that I started watching at MEMORIAL Stadium back in 1956 when I was a youngster with my DAD. Baltimore getting bad Calls is nothing new! I still have a copy of the news American, where
Green Bay beat the COLTS 13-10 on a Call that was the worst one I'd seen...up until this year. That Call caused the NFL to add about 12 feet to the height of the Goal posts the following year. As a casual OBSERVER, wouldn't ya think that action by the NFL was admitting the Zebras blew that call? As a Fan, all I want is some accountability to the FANS. There should be a 10 minute interview with the Zebras after the game to ask them about calls that were made in the game; and what did they see different from the MILLIONS on TV everywhere? What I'm asking for is accountability from GAME OFFICIALS, I guess that would open a bigger can of worms???

A Man in Reisterstown said...

That F'n idiot Drew was spouting off again about the claim that the refs affecting the outcome was ridiculous again, and even took it to the level of calling the Baltimore fans whiners.

I wanna drive down Hart Rd right now and choke his fat neck.

What is so hard to understand about how penalties affect the outcome. From Dictionary online;
the disadvantage, suffering, handicap, etc. imposed upon an offender or one who does not fulfill a contract or obligation, as a fine or forfeit; specif., a forfeit paid for withdrawal before maturity of invested funds any unfortunate consequence or result of an act or condition.

Sports any disadvantage, as a loss of yardage.

It's like playing golf against someone and when you hit the ball out of bounds, you are assessed a stroke and have to re-tee, and when he hits it out of bounds, it gets put back in play, no stroke and no distance penatly. Then after you lose, people say, well if you would have made more puts you wouldn't have lost.

Speaking of strokes, this kind of thing is going to lead me to have one.

Ben said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIiUqfxFttM

This seems like the theme song from this game....like the song says "Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race"