New York Giants: NFL to blame in ongoing officials’ ineptitude

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 07: Landon Collins #21 of the New York Giants reacts after a hit on Devin Funchess #17 of the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 07: Landon Collins #21 of the New York Giants reacts after a hit on Devin Funchess #17 of the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

NFL officials incurred the wrath of New York Giants fans several times this season.

Two close losses by the New York Giants, against the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles, caused the most scrutiny. Now we can debate from now until doomsday the merits of calls and non-calls in those games, but few outside of the Big Apple really care.

In fact, Panthers fans may say they were screwed the week before, so whatever serendipity they received was well deserved. In spiritual matters, I suppose there is no right or wrong viewpoint, which makes it just like voting (that’s a subject for another day).

Yet poor officiating has become a perpetual debate around all 32 NFL teams.

In the NFC Championship game, most fans saw an obvious pass interference call ignored. A call, quite frankly, that cost the New Orleans Saints a win against the Los Angeles Rams, and a trip to the Super Bowl.

Just like society in general, there will be two camps: all officials suck camp, and the one call doesn’t decide the outcome of a game camp.

Now, let’s be clear, neither side is 100 percent correct, and the reason the latter side exists comes from the fact that some fans and analysts will go over the top. I’m looking straight at John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats fanbase as the prime example of society gone wrong.

Saints fans have every right to be upset, but they also have to let it go appropriately. Some will, but mark my words, some won’t.

I appreciate those defending sports officials. Most are or were sports officials themselves, and don’t want their brethren scapegoated for the Saints loss. Their heart remains in the right place, but their actions actually make things worse.


Because the officials who missed this pass interference call, notably Patrick Turner and Gary Cavaletto, should be suspended immediately for incompetence. It’s that simple.

Sure, there are ways to make to the top of the sports officiating tower, apparently being good isn’t a top consideration. If it were, then this obvious non-call would not be the subject of a lengthy column.

We see it in the last names that continue to populate the sports officials’ community in each and every sport. Give me a sport, and I will name a generational legacy, as if certain genes are bestowed to certain families that make them better at officiating than the public at-large.

It’s ironic that the general public holds amateur and youth sports officials to a higher standard than those who ply their craft in the professional leagues. In reality, the outcome of youth sports games mean nothing, even if the kids are playing in a “championship game”.

Officiating in youth sports should focus primarily on rules application and safety. There are so many nuances when children are playing a game, that getting a call right falls far down the list of priorities.

In youth baseball, a nervous 13-year old flinches on the mound, and parents scream for a balk.  Was he deceiving the runner? Or was he just an antsy youngster pitching from the stretch for the first time?

These same folks watch television and millions who don’t normally watch, tuned into the NFC Championship game to see Nickell Robey-Coleman intentionally interfere with Tommylee Lewis.

Per USA Today:

"“I did my part,” Robey-Coleman said with a smile. “Referee made the call. We respect it.”"

And before you think that professional players coaches are not to blame, they are. Robey-Coleman all but said he was beaten in coverage and challenged the official to make the call in a tie game with time winding down. He didn’t make a play on the ball but instead focused on hammering the receiver.

In actuality, Robey-Coleman bought a lottery ticket and won.

And Robey-Coleman’s remark about respect the call was his way of throwing salt into this gaping wound. Truly, there are very few players and coaches respecting “the call”. They complain when a foul is called on them, and they complain when something isn’t called.

And how may time previously have we heard that players should be the ones deciding the contest?

Letting the boys play got the New York Giants Odell Beckham injured against the Philadelphia Eagles, because it was the final game of the game. Allowing an illegal play to occur, like the officials did several times in the second Eagles – Giants matchup, circumvents the rules of the game, and can get people injured.

In the Beckham case, it did exactly that.

A penalty is a penalty on the first play, or the final one.

More from GMEN HQ

Stop complaining about penalties, because when one is richly deserved, it may just get ignored. Embrace the rules and fair play, that’s what competition is all about.

Society has emblazoned a loathing and an obsessive disrespect for officials for a long time now, yet none of that should wash away the fact that at least two NFL officials got it very wrong.

In light of this event, the talking heads and ex-players will advocate for replay to be utilized for every play including penalties. These guys will obsess about how hard they worked and how things can’t be taken away.

It’s complete garbage.

My retort is simple – did you ever drop a pass? Did you ever fumble the football? Did you ever miss an assignment? Did you ever miss a kick?

They all did, but their egos won’t allow them to even suggest that happened. Which brings us to the answer to this vexing (really not) issue. When players blow too many assignments, or drop too many passes, they get cut.

The same dynamic should apply in officiating.

And I don’t want to hear about real time versus slow motion replay. If an on-field official could not in real-time determine pass interference on that play, he or she does not possess the skills to be out on the field in any professional contest, let alone a championship game.

Yet in the world of sports officiating, having years under your belt is synonymous with proficiency. The NFL, and all professional leagues, should start to implement a grading system.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Blown calls come in two forms: 1. Calling a foul that didn’t happen; 2. Not calling a penalty on an obvious foul. If the NFL had a legitimate grading system, then chances are the officials who were on the field and missed the call, wouldn’t have been.

New York Giants safety Landon Collins got flagged for a phantom personal foul against the Panthers this fall. It’s a basic tenet of officiating that you call only what you see. How then does an experienced official throw a flag when a foul doesn’t occur?

In that case, the official should get a failing grade for the game.

How these problem continue to arise clearly seems to be a management issue. Either the NFL continues to hire incompetent officials, and/or fails to train and properly monitor said referees. Expanded use of replay becomes a band-aid solution to a problem that shouldn’t occur in the first-place.  It will elongate games where time is already trending in the wrong direction.

Nick Foles to New York Giants should be a real option. light. Related Story

Longevity, nepotism and last name shouldn’t be the primary criteria for being rewarded in the NFL. But commissioner Roger Goodell and his owners continue to run a billion dollar enterprise like a country club. Sadly, there isn’t any responsible oversight forthcoming. So the NFL will lay low until the storm blows over.