posted at 11/19/2013 5:18 PM EST
Bad call at the end or not, the Pats did it to themselves last night. Talib's two penalties in the first half led to 10 points. (Not saying that they would have kept Carolina off the scoreboard anyway, but the dumb penalties definitely didn't help things out. Smith baited him, and he swallowed hook, line, and stinker.) Then there was that Ridley fumble,a dn the inability to contain Nwton on several 3rd and long situations. Sorry, but the refs had absolutely NOTHING to do with those plays.
My concern on officiating is that, quite often, we expect way too much (can you say: PERFECTION?) from game officials. As a result, and I can say this as I'm a game official, to cover myself (baseball umpire) I sometimes find myself LOOKING to make a call, by quantifying what I just saw. I have to use the "smell". If I wanted to, I could over-officiate and make calls on every play that would have most folks scratching their heads. Example: Baseball is (as legend has it) a "non-contact" sport. But, there is, quite often, contact. Do I call obstruction or interference on every instance of contact? (Cripes! 85% of all fans can't ID the difference between obstruction and interference!!) Sometimes you just need to put teh whistle away.
A point can be made that Gronk was underthrown. OK, but if the ref divined that Gronk was never going to be able to catch the ball with the LB groping him worse than any back seat or soft prn flick I ever saw, then he must surely be able to reasonably understand the part of teh rules that says a defender can't make contct with the receiver beyond 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. (None of the ball isn't in the air stuff, as that's a new one on me!)
Refs will ALWAYS find somethuing in the rules to get themselves ut of trouble, or find a way to excuse a bad call. The NFL will ALWAYS cover for them as long as necessary.
There is absolutely no aurance that they would have scored from the 1 yard line on a free play (recall the missed 3rd and 1?), IF the call went their way. If they got the call and failed to score, where would the post game angst be directed to? The dumb penalties? The fumble? The inability to corral Newton? The missed 3rd and 1?
Bottom line is this: The Pats played themselves into this situation, having a game, or a final chance to win it, placed in a ref's hands and not their own.