NFL Officiating is broken, and The Shield can’t ignore it any longer.
The examples of errors aren’t hard to find, they happen in nearly every game. Some don’t affect outcomes of games, but others have, and those errors cost wins and jobs in a league where wins are hard to come by and each game is important.
Forget flag kneelers, domestic abusers and punkish behavior, more than CTE and more than the sport hemorrhaging youth players, this is the league’s biggest problem. It’s not just that the officiating is bad but is plainly visible for all to see.
Poor officiating makes the game unwatchable and will ultimately affect TV viewing audiences. That is what has league officials most worried fearing that some point there will be a price to be paid for the level of incompetence.
Complaints about officiating are nothing new. However, the speed at which the game is now being played is certainly a factor but that’s why replay is now a tool. Part of the problem players and team and league personnel now say is that many officials see themselves as stars of the game and try to insert their own personal style and personality into the game.
The NFL has taken some steps to improve, raising the number of full time officials from 21 to 24 this season. This is a positive step but given the performance this season there is a long way to go.
Many close to the game are suggesting more steps to clean up officiating. The first being adding more full-time officials. This helps the crews work more cohesively and communicate better with the teams
Secondly, more accountability. Making officials available for press conferences after the games like the league requires of coaches and players to answer questions surrounding penalties.
Third, more consequences. Officials whose calls are overturned by replay on a regular basis in multiple games to be demoted. Now the only price paid for poor performance is that maybe the official doesn’t get chosen to work playoff games of even the Super Bowl.
Hopefully with more attention paid to this growing issue the 2019 season can be more enjoyable than 2018 has been.