I’d love to be writing about the Denver Broncos this morning. About how their starters looked as good as I could have hoped for, about how the depth is… non-existent, and how if anyone gets hurt on this team, the Broncos will be left to wander though the desert with Moses and Tebow.
I’d love to talk about the team playing with an actual gameplan and looking great. I’d like to talk about Peyton Manning looking like the Peyton Manning of old, slinging the ball all over the yard and throwing receivers open en route to 10/12 passing for two touchdowns and getting out of the game before the end of the first quarter. I’m itching to praize Jeebus for ERIC FACKIN’ DECKAH, the recipient of both of Peyton’s TD passes, but that might just be the ol’ Saigon Rose flaring up.
In any case, DECKAH is the new WELKAH for a new GENARRAYSHAN. NO ONE DENIES THIS!
We could talk about the upcoming cuts for the Broncos, some of which aren’t going to be as tough as I initially thought since our backups look absolutely abysmal.
I’d love to talk about any of this. But I won’t. I can’t, because I have to get something off my chest first.
/removes sports bra
There, that’s better. Now, we’ve GOTTA talk about this replacement referee situation, you guys.
I’m not one to bitch about the refs costing my team games; I don’t live in Baltimore and the Ravens aren’t my team. Frankly, if The Wire is to be believed, your correspondent would last approximately .0009 seconds in Bawlmer before being shot and having his dead body dissolved in lye in an abandoned row house.
But these refs, you guys. Holy fuck. They’re terrible. They’re terrible all the time, in every game. They’re sitting on whistles, slow to react, and don’t seem to know what they’re looking for.
I’m sincerely wondering if they’ve ever seen a football game before. They simply do not know what they’re doing.
In the first quarter yesterday, Denver receiver Brandon Stokley was getting absolutely manhandled in coverage. Two hands outside his shoulderpads, rag-dolling him from left to right, blocking his route about 10 yards deep in coverage and leading to one of Manning’s two incompletions and a field goal. No flag. It was so blatantly obvious that, if it wasn’t pass interference it was at LEAST defensive holding, and… nothing.
Later in the game, in the fourth quarter, the 49ers fumbled the ball, recovered it, and John Fox wanted to challenge the spot of the recovery. The officials, morons that they are, thought — without asking, mind you — that Fox was challenging the recovery of the fumble, which is not a challenge-able call, which means if you try to get it challenged, you’re guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct and assessed a 15 yard penalty.
What happened next was very telling.
The referee, Bruce Hermansen, announced the penalty, marched off the 15 yards, ALL WITHOUT ASKING FOX WHAT HE WAS CHALLENGING. That is incompetence, plain and simple, and was so egregious that I will now link to The Denver Post, which is something we just don’t do here. Fox is right, of course; there’s no communication.
Finally, at nearly the end of the game, San Francisco punted and Matt Willis ill-advisedly took the punt at the one, bobbled it, had it bounce straight back up to his hands ran to about the five, was tackled, HAD HALF OF HIS FUCKING BODY ON THE GROUND when he tossed the ball back to a teammate who was then tackled at the one. Willis was laying on the ground when he tossed that ball; the refs spotted the ball at the one and the Broncos took over.
It’s that kind of slow reaction time, or waiting and depending on instant replay to get it right, that is going to cost teams games. And that’s exactly what’s going on in these games. Refs are sitting on their whistles, hoping that a coach will challenge any close calls, and then going to the video tape.
A perfect example of waiting on the tape to make everything okay happened last night in the Panthers/Jets game in New Jersey, when Cam Newton slipped on the artificial surface and fell, then got up, clearly had the ball knocked out of his hands by Jets rookie Quentin Coples. The ball was subsequently recovered by New York but and the refs marked it as a sack in the backfield until Sexy Rex Ryan pulled out his challenge flag. The play was reversed and New York was given possession, but the Jets had to waste a challenge to get possession of the ball on a play that could not have been more clear.
These referees either don’t know where to look, or they don’t know the rules of football. Either way, the product absolutely sucks, and it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Otherwise, the product known as the National Football League is going to be in some serious and embarrassing trouble this year.