The NFL’s officiating problem

Referees are an important part of any sporting event, but they can also become the center of attention. This is evident in far too many NFL games each week, to the point where some of their calls are completely ridiculous.
NFL officials are constantly throwing game-changing flags when they should be stepping back and letting the game play out. Officials fumbled two big plays in Sunday night’s game between the Giants and Commanders, both of which had significant playoff implications.
With Washington trailing by eight points, the Commanders drove down the field and had a chance to score inside the one-yard line on the game’s final drive. It is heinous for the official to call an illegal formation on this play that resulted in a touchdown for Washington. Terry McLaurin of the Commanders looks to the ref before the snap to make sure he’s lined up properly and gets what he thinks is the OK. Calling this a penalty is nitpicking to the smallest detail, which is fine in some situations but not in this. McLaurin had nothing to do with the game’s outcome. What makes this call even more egregious is that the next play should have been defensive pass interference in the end zone on New York, but the officials decided to keep their whistles silent on this one. The Giants’ defender is hugging the Commanders’ receiver well before the ball arrives, indicating pass interference. This was obvious in real time. Forget about instant slow-motion replay. It stinks to lose a game because of two bad ref calls and then not be held accountable for your actions. At least not in public.
On Saturday, another blown call nearly cost a team the game, but the Vikings were able to overcome the official blunder. Even in that scrum, Colts running back Deon Jackson was still standing when the ball came out of his arms. The ref behind the line of scrimmage should have been able to see it, but his view may have been obstructed. Because the ball cannot be advanced on an overturned play that resulted in a touchdown, the game may not have even gone to overtime. This is yet another example of the zebras making mistakes and costing teams points and victories.
Each official is evaluated by the NFL after each game, and they can be written up for bad calls or being out of position on plays. This should be made public so that refs can be held accountable when they make such egregious mistakes. The work of players and coaches is scrutinized in public, as is that of the media. Officials are allowed to hide after making bad decisions and are never required to apologize when they make obvious mistakes. The NFL will issue a statement regarding some of the egregious calls, but the referees are immune from criticism.
Football games are fast-paced, and there is always room for human error. But, with the stakes so high in the NFL, you want to make the correct call as often as possible. Over the last few years, it appears that officials have blown more calls than we’ve seen in a long time. We’re requesting that the league clean that up and hold refs accountable after the fact. Making some calls that cannot be challenged but are eligible for a challenge would be a good start. Something must be done because the refs are destroying these games far too frequently.