Skip to comments.Games at Work on Super Bowl Officials
Posted on 02/17/2013 4:39:26 AM PST by 1rudeboy
The Super Bowl officiating has generated a loud buzz of activity, much of it centered on the “no-call” of holding against the Ravens on the 4th down from the 5 yard line. From my seat, 49er fans probably have some legitimate complaints over that call along with a no-call on Ed Reed for offside on a player near the goal line in the first half, which was particularly glaring in that an offside call on the 49ers setup the first Ravens’ TD.
Beyond the advantage gained or lost by either team, however, the big 4th down play summed up the entire game — officials, whether on their own or by directives by supervisors — kept their flags tucked away on many discretionary calls penalized during regular season games. This kind of reluctance could be seen throughout the playoffs, but especially in the Super Bowl. From the outset, post-play activities that could be penalized as personal fouls were overlooked. When these antics reached their peak with the mini fight/scrum in which at least one player had his helmet ripped off and one shoved an official (normally automatic ejections), both teams received an inconsequential offsetting penalty. Even though both teams’ secondary players aggressively used their hands all game in ways normally penalized, I don’t remember a single defensive holding call.
The NFL playoffs and Super Bowl in particular resembled the shift that annually occurs in the NBA between (most) regular season games and playoff games (and some bigger regular season ones). Players ratchet up the physical play, knowing that the league doesn’t want the “game decided by the officials.” Some analysts laud this “the them play” approach, not seeming to realize that it doesn’t permit many other players to “play their game.”
It’s a very difficult strategic game for leagues. In pro basketball playoffs as well as in college basketball in the late 1980s and 1990s, coaches and players figured out that leagues and officials prefer not to foul out more than one or two players in a game. If a team commits 25 acts that could be whistled for a foul, maybe 20 would be called. However, if a team commits 250 punishable acts, then only 25 would be called. That’s a small price for a big increase in defensive aggression. Now, NBA playoffs, particularly the deeper rounds, and NCAA games devolve into wrestling matches as ESPN’s Jay Bilas, a former Duke player who enjoys defensive play, observes in this Sportstalk Chat.
The NFL faces the same issues with pass defense. As passing offenses of the 1980s and 1990s became more effective, the best NFL defenses adopted, essentially, a holding everywhere and all the time policy. The league responded with a crackdown in the early 2000s, increasing the number of holding penalties. On occasion, one can observe holding penalties on back-to-back plays during regular season games. However, the Super Bowl illustrates the difficulty of maintaining a hard line. Players step up their aggressive tactics which gives officials two choices — call a load of holding penalties early or permit a teams to engage in tactics that are usually penalized. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS’ announcing crew, seemed oblivious all night to this, with even the 4th down play with the two-handed bear hug by the Ravens’ defender only drawing a “close call” comment from Simms.
Ironically, in spite of the defensive wiggle room permitted, both teams scored over 30 points. This reflects the development of offensive skills and exploitation of offense-spurring rules, particularly in the passing game. At one time a 28-6 deficit in the second half would have been a yawner but not in this era.
For your list.
“This reflects the development of offensive skills and exploitation of offense-spurring rules, particularly in the passing game.”
Welcome to the “new” arena football.
And the referee was an affirmative action assignment as documented many places.
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS announcing crew, seemed oblivious all night to this . . . .Since when did announcers and commentators become advertising agents for the League? Can we just have somebody call the game?
Good point! And yes, I suffered through the game until halftime. It’s all about ratings anyway. Sure they’re oblivious! Like we are to them...
Here's an idea: tell us it is a meaningless game between two worthless teams, and proceed to rip on the players and coaches for fun.
;D! No kidding~
Commentators were oblivious to any non-calls made by the regular refs ALL SEASON LONG, but were super critical of the "replacement refs". I saw many non-calls made by regular refs that were or would have been made by replacements. It showed their support of what ever union wants.
It is all fixed to begin with. Look at the soccer games being fixed in Europe. You think America is any different, no way no how, the entertainment industry has the results already achieved whom will win. the other team will make some attempt to make it look different but all in all professional sports are fixed by who will win and who will lose.
But, I can’t keep from watching hondact! ;)
Frankly, I do not enjoy the Superbowl anymore. The team that is willing to violate the rules the most wins, because the refs will not call the game in the normal fashion. It is almost like one rulebook exists for the regular season, and another for the Superbowl.
The worst part of it was the thuggish preening of the Baltiomore Ravens, a team that is more that slightly inclined to thuggish preening in ordinary circumstances. In the Superbowl, there were at least three incidents that should have lead to personal fouls, and one straight-up, no-questions ejection. A player cannot be permitted to lay hands on an official.
There is a word for breaking the rules to win. It’s called cheating. And cheating is how the Superbowl is won, these days. Both sides did it. There was a SF defensive back who held on pretty much every play, for example. But the Ravens pushed it further, and thus they won the game.
Next year, I will not bother to watch. It is too frustrating to watch the Cheaterbowl, and I hate to see cheaters profit. Even if they are not named Belichick.
They’ve been advertising agents for the league since everybody found out TV networks are willing to spend a lot of money for the games. The announcers job is to keep the audience engaged and interested for the entire game so they see all the commercials.
That's why I miss Cosell.
I get that. I just wonder if what I propose would make it more entertaining.
Problem is what is “just announce the game”? Where’s the line? At what point does not pointing out bad calls change from having more interesting things to talk about to being a league mouthpiece? What’s the difference between praising players and being biased for one team?
The fact of the matter is that even with the complaints the NFL is clearly doing it right. Their all star game, the most boring pointless football played all year, gets better rating than the trophy awarding game of every other league. The other leagues are constantly trying to figure out how to do what the NFL does in their league. Nantz and Simms might annoy us, but we keep watching. And the fact that they annoy us is actually part of why we watch, Americans love to complain about stuff.
This permeates pro sports. I remember Michael Jordan pushing a defender with his forearm, then hitting the winning “open” jumper against Utah in the playoffs. In the nba there is a lot of accommodation to the star players.
>>That’s why I miss Cosell. <<
Madden is still alive — I always liked his commentary.
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