Football is life, and like life, football sometimes pees in your lemonade while you’re not looking.
Or, more likely, while you are looking, like I was looking last night when football didn’t just pee in my lemonade. Oh, no. Football just about peed right into my mouth and told me it’d run out of ice.
That’s why it was so warm.
In case you’re wondering, world: yes, Wisconsin Still Rules the World, but Wisconsin is currently pissed. Metaphorically, this time. Oh, yeah. There’s revolution in the air around here. I am not exaggerating.
Brief recap: a pair of befuddled replacement refs looked at this:
…and called it a Seahawks touchdown. Actually, I take that back: one befuddled ref called it a Seahawks touchdown. The other befuddled ref appeared to be calling it a touchback. The befuddled Referee-In-Charge sided with the first befuddled ref, probably because the second befuddled ref is black.
It was racism, natch.
And here I’ve been sticking up for these replacement referees all this time. Because, really, how much blame can we heap on them? Last year they were officiating games played by glorified teenagers in half-filled stadiums. Now they’re surrounded by millionaire players, terrifyingly overbearing coaches, intensely zealous fans. On national TV.
Plus, it’s not like the regular referees don’t blow calls. Okay, so I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to think of a call as bad as this one. Or as bad as the pass interference called on Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields during Seattle’s second-to-last drive – the one where Seattle receiver Sidney Rice grabbed Shields’ arm and even got fingers into his facemask…
…and the referees penalized Shields.
That was a 1st-and-25 play. The drive didn’t result in any points for Seattle, but the penalty gave them 32 yards and a brand new set of downs from Green Bay’s 25. They finally gave the ball up by failing a 4th down play on the Packers’ 7-yard-line, which resulted in Green Bay’s punt from the 4, which resulted in a Seattle drive starting in Green Bay territory. Which resulted in:
But let’s be honest: the Packers have to take most of the blame. Why was Aaron Rodgers sacked 8 times in the first half? Could it have had something to do with the Packers rushing the ball a grand total of twice? Play after play, Rodgers lined up in shotgun formation. Play after play, it was obvious the Packers were throwing. And play after play, the Seahawks’ defensive line pinned their ears back and rushed an obviously overwhelmed Green Bay offensive line.
Let’s ask ourselves: how do you slow down a pass rush? Draws? Screens? Rushing plays? Duh. But Green Bay didn’t even try that until the second half, when: viola! No more sacks!
Except that one cheap one that should have counted as a rushing attempt.
The Packers could have succeeded on their 2-point conversion try, which would have made the score 14-7 at the time. They could have gotten one first down on their last possession, which would’ve allowed them to run out the clock. They could have scored one lousy field goal in the first half, which would have put the game completely out of reach before…
Point being: the Packers should have prevented the officials from ever having the chance to beat them like that. I’m looking at you, Coach McCarthy. Play-calling counts.
But, hell, these two teams could have both played outstanding ball, with excellent coaching, and the game could still have come down to the final play. Seattle looks to have a pretty good team this year, with that rabid defense and Marshawn Lynch and former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Nike Adidas Wilson.
This bad call could have happened even in a well-played game. It could happen in the playoffs.
Or in the Superbowl.
Let’s hope that thought is keeping Roger Goodell up nights. Let’s hope it’s keeping the owners up nights, too. Because…hell, I’ll never boycott the NFL. I love it too much. But I said it last night: what’s the point in watching when you never know what these refs are going to do?