What started out as a remarkable advancement has turned into a farce.
Resulting from an egregious error by the officials in a crucial playoff game; pass interference could now be challenged. The new rule was introduced with the best of intentions. Football at the professional level happens so fast that things are missed. The new challenge would give the crew a second chance to get it right. Big calls have a better chance of being made, so games are not adversely affected by another crucial miss.
As we wind down the season, it’s pretty safe to say it’s been a complete failure, not only in the application but the aftermath of a challenge flag thrown by the coaches. During the game, I estimated that only about a quarter of these challenges were successful. A helpful graphic showed that it’s actually worse. Only 23% of these challenges are successful.
What happens next is even worse. I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a bitter fan blaming the refs. What I’m about to say has affected all 32 teams in the league, and it is this; after a coach has thrown a flag, the officials spend the rest of the game looking the other way.
This was clearly evident when Carl Nassib was manhandled during the Lions TD drive. A clear hold that at least 3 officials were watching was ignored. This isn’t some conspiracy conducted in shadowy rooms with brown envelopes, but a reaction of human nature. By publicly doubting the performance of the officials and having their errors shown to a viewing public, there is no hiding place. A natural bias against the team is developed. It probably isn’t even a conscious decision by the officials, but it is certainly there.
Any simple fan watching a game can see the changing tide when penalties are committed; honestly, this was a great idea, but it is starting to create new problems in football. Human nature is such that in anyone’s employment if somebody pointed out an error and made everyone aware of it, suddenly you feel less inclined towards those individuals.
It’s time to remove this new rule, not because of incompetence, but because of human psychology.