As explained in Game makers, the NFL was initially alarmed by the NBA’s Tim Donaghy scandal. In the end, the NFL decided that it is impossible for one official to influence the outcome of a game enough to be truly concerned that what happened to basketball could happen to football.
I generally believed that too. While it is difficult for one official to win or cover, there are ways individual officials can steer things in a certain direction.
The arrests in particular provide the opening. Roughing up the passerby. Pass interference. To hold.
We all discovered another one last night, thanks to the way-of-the-ball, insignificant illegal formation error on the commander’s receiver Terry McLaurin. Anyone who pays a fair amount of attention to football, at any level, knows that wideouts routinely communicate with officials to get into position, to confirm whether or not they’re lined up, on or off the ball.
“Obligation” or not, the nearest official will generally assist with the process. And for good reason. The players want to be well lined up. And the umpires don’t want to bog down the game with hyper-technical errors regarding the pre-snap positioning of players on the edge of the game.
Also beyond whether the pattern and practice one de facto obligation to assist is the question of whether officials should ever be allowed to deceive receivers in the affirmative, by pretending that everything is fine when the player is out of alignment.
watch the video from last night. There’s something very strange about it. McLaurin is looking for input and he pretends to have gotten the input he was looking for. (We can only see the interaction; we can’t hear what was said.) Meanwhile, at one point, the umpire puts his hand on his flag, waiting to nullify the outcome of the game.
And this was not a first and 10 in midfield. This was a close-range goal-line situation. The flag that the umpire seemingly couldn’t wait to throw took the potential tying goal off the board.
Is it ultimately up to the player to be in the right place? Yes. But an official with a history of helping can be expected to continue to do so. At the very least, the umpire should not be expected to give the false impression that the player is properly seated – while resting his hand on the flag like a cowboy getting ready to sign and fire his six-shooter.
Whatever the explanation, it looks bad for the NFL because it shows that, yes, Virginia (and Maryland and DC), there is a path for serious on-duty shenanigans.
I continue to believe that the NFL is not manipulated in the sense that the NFL never wants specific teams to win or lose. I worry that given the prevalence and ease of legalized games of chance, any given official may be drawn into it enough to corrupt objectivity and fairness.
And, frankly, it’s exhausting being on the front line trying to tell fans who think, say, the league office doesn’t want Daniel Snyder’s team in the playoffs.
The competition office does not have to fight that battle. There is no public accountability. It does not make any of its employees available for meaningful questioning. The pool reporters usually ask the right questions, but the league official interviewed immediately after the game says all that needs to be said to resolve the issue while the league waits for the next bright, shiny object to be off topic. change.
At some point there will be a controversy big enough to prevent the subject from being changed by the next game on the schedule. I hope the NFL wakes up and cleans up its backyard before that happens.
Penalty on Terry McLaurin is a very bad look for the NFL that originally appeared on Pro Football Talk