The Litter Box
by Larry the SportsCat

Larry the SportsCat


(Katlama, WA) The National Football League should be dubbed the National Frequent Liars Association. Let’s focus on the word “official”. The N-F-L claims to have officials “officiate” their games. This is a bald face lie they don’t even know what the word as a noun or adjective is or does. The NFL does not employ 1 single official. They hire “rules-interpreters” or frankly tattletales. None of those in the black and white stripes ever “officiates” any of the NFL football games.

This not all their fault with the ridiculous rules passed by the so-called rules committee which are pathetic and frankly embarrassing. My bigger issue is the huge audience that follows the NFL and then come to high school football games and have no idea what the rules are and get all mad at things that aren’t even rules in High School. Then they get mad when High School officials choose to “officiate” and not simply enforce all rules all the time.

The tattletales in the NFL are not allowed to let anything go and if they do they must lie and say they didn’t see it. You see officials one and only job is to maintain control of the game and make sure neither team gets a major advantage. The game, in fact all games from football to soccer to basketball to baseball where you have officials making judgement calls on the spot knew there were going to be missed calls but as long as each team had a fair chance to win the game it didn’t matter and allowed the game to move forward.

There are 22 players on a football field and the NFL needs 7 to “officiate”. Hell look at soccer even now the most watched sporting event in the world is soccer’s World Cup and they also have 22 players on the field but 1 official and 2 side judges to see when the ball goes out of bounds for 90% of the game.

There are several examples of over officiating or rules enforcement so let’s begin with offensive holding. It drives people nuts to see an offensive holding call which they admit can be called on nearly every play is called when the ball is on the other side of the field and has nothing to do with the result.

In the NFL a flag will be dropped. In high school, experienced officials will not call it and in fact may not even be looking in that direction. If they do see it they will warn the o-lineman, “Hey 71 I saw that, no more!” If you do see a flag dropped in a varsity game in that situation it is likely after at least a couple of warnings and the player is not taking the advice so at some point they gotta drop the laundry. You see an official can look at a rule and can interpret it from the spirit of the rule, a rules interpreter is not allowed to do such a thing. 

Defensive holding, defensive illegal contact again if it’s away from the play in high school they can determine if it had any impact on the outcome of a play. For instance if the QB is flushed out of the pocket and scrambling for his life on the right side of the field near the sideline and there is some contact litearlly 50-yards away on the other side of the field a high school official can say “hey, watch the contact!” where as the Pro tattletale will drop his flag.

This is much like a basketball official not wanting to call 35 3-second in the key violations in a game but rather tells the player to get out of the key. This is based on intent. The intent of the 3-second in the key call is to not allow especially tall players to stand under the basket for an easy lob pass and lay-in. It is not to catch someone’s toe that did not get all the way out of the key in 3-seconds as long as the player is moving in and out that is what the rule wants to accomplish and allows an official to use their own common sense.

Now let’s get into some of these stupid ridiculous rules the NFL has that have no business in Football. Let’s begin with the “automatic” 1st downs. This is where I take High School every single time. There are 3 penalties in High School Football that result in automatic 1st downs. They are roughing the passer, roughing the kicker and roughing the snapper. That’s it. 

There are now at least 13 automatic 1st downs in the NFL. I thought these guys were Pro’s? Why do they need so many penalties to bail them out of bad plays? In the NFL you get an automatic 1st down for Defensive Pass Interference, Defensive Holding, Roughing the Passer, Roughing the Kicker, Roughing the Snapper, Illegal Contact, Face Mask, Illegal Use of Hands, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Horse Collar Tackle, Taunting, Lowering the Head to Make Forcible Contact, and Tripping.

Of course the absurd pass interference penalty of a spot foul is the worst in all of football and in fact all of sports. In the NFL if a defender is called for pass interference the ball is then assumed to have been caught by the receiver and placed at the spot of the foul except if it’s in the endzone then the ball is placed at the 1. I don’t know why they are not awarded a TD in this soft league it’s the only time they don’t assume the ball would be caught. 

Just think of the additional yardage the Kansas City Chiefs have gained this year on the assumption that their pathetic roster of receivers would have actually caught the ball had they not been interfered with well I can tell you they have had 16 PI’s called against defenders they have faced this year for 137 yards of penalty yardage. And this assumption is made even for receivers like Marquez Valdes-Scantling who dropped a game winning pass against Philadelphia. The Chiefs are averaging nearly 3 dropped passes a game. Pretty nice get out of jail free card for bad receivers.

In high school football defensive P-I is a 15-yard penalty period. If it’s enough for a 1st down you get it if not you get the down over. So in high school if a defensive back is burned and he can catch up and interfere to prevent a long reception it’s actually a great defensive play. If it’s 3rd and 20 and P-I is called then it’s 3rd and 5 not an automatic 1st down.

Another example of stupid rules in the NFL is too many players on the field. The purpose of this rule is not to line up against 12 players when you only have 11. In high school most side judge officials no longer count a player on the field if they have run past the official on the field knowing if the player is still on the field say a yard but headed out of play he no longer has any impact on the play and it is not in the spirit of the rule to care about a player no-longer in play whether they are still technically on the field or not.

In the NFL, not only is this not the way they interpret too many players on the field it is the exact opposite. In the NFL the tattletales will call it even if they literally have the heel of their shoe still on the field at the snap of the ball 50 yards away. The idiots at the NFL have decided not only is this egregious but if the official misses it they can go to replay and zoom in to the grass blades to see if any 1/2 inch portion of the shoe is on the field and then it’s a penalty. Aaron Rodgers was called a genius for catching so many players still on the field, my hunch is he was making a mockery of the excessively stupid rule the morons of the “rules committee” have determined.

But what was called in the Dolphins vs Titans game Monday night sent me over the edge. Tennessee had the ball deep in Miami territory and during the count the Dolphins shifted down the defensive line and a Titan offensive lineman jumped. It’s a false start right? WRONG! They called delay of game against the defense for,…wait…get this….and I am not kidding….delay of game for shifting too quickly! The defender did not jump into the nuetral zone, did not do anything but shifted to another position. I don’t get it. I really don’t. 

This is much like the stupid rule that allows the defenders to jump offside but can get back before the snap of the ball but if an offensive player moves its now a penalty on the defender. So of course the offense jumps all the time when this happens. It is so stupid.

In high school it’s simple, if you jump offsides either offense or defense the play is stopped and it’s a 5-yard penalty. The kicking rules in the NFL if you kick it into the endzone they get the ball at the 25 yard line, in high school it’s the 20. If you kick the ball out of bounds in the NFL you get the ball at the 40, in high school it’s the 35 or where it goes out if it’s in front of the 35. I thought these were pro’s why do they need an advantage over what high school teams get?

Then there’s replay. let’s slow it down to frame by frame and take literally 10-15 minute breaks to decide if a fumble is a fumble or a catch is a catch. I hate it and it’s making me lose interest. The NFL officials and rules will ruin this game. 

I know this is long but here are my suggestions that would make this a lot more fair and appealing in my view:

  1. Replays. Officials are not allowed to view a slow-motion view of the play. They get up to 5 looks at real time speed. If they cannot determine from that view if a call is right or wrong it stands, move on and play. It is supposed to be an obvious miss not one that the naked human eye cannot see. 
  2. Automatic 1st downs. Should be drastically reduced. OK if not 3, like in high school no more than 5.
  3. Defensive pass interference, I hate this is an automatic 1st down so 1st thing is if the foul occured where it would have given the team a 1st down then give them a 1st down. 2nd, no more spot foul I would favor a 15-yard penalty but am willing to compromise say half of the spot yardage. In other words if the foul was 40 yards downfield they get 20 yards, this way it is not so overwhelmingly unfair based on an assumption the receiver would have caught the ball.
  4. Call offsides on both offense and defense. If the offense moves it’s a false start, if the defense jumps into the nuetral zone it’s offsides. Stop with the fake offensive line moving and pointing as that was the reason they moved. And if a defender jumps offsides then the rules interpreter has to make a judgement to blow the play dead or not if they feel the defender is unimpeded to the QB. STOP IT! How do you turn a simple offside into a judgement call? Just call it offsides and move on.
  5. Last thing is for the NFL to include in their TV contracts that a former NFL Tattletale is not allowed to be part of the broadcast. They are useless and there is no need for their input that we already see for ourselves. 

This is at least a start but instead I’m sure the “rules committee” will pile more and more inane rules to their rule book and many will scream for “full-time” officials which is another stupid idea, for what? Ok, I will stop that will just send me down another rabbit hole I don’t need to go down. 

In the end, give me the high school rules and the veteran officials in high school that know how to “officiate”. Yes, I know they are going to miss calls and I know some throw too many flags and a lot of that is because there is still a huge need for more and new and younger officials and those officials need time to get it all figured out.

It is still much better than the garbage we’re being sold on Sunday’s, I’ll take the high school game every single time.


By paulb

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