Category Archives: Referees

8

July

After Further Review: Fail Mary Full Of Disgrace

Lancy Easley book "Making the Call"

Former NFL replacement referee Lance Easley’s book hits the stands on August 1st

Just when we had moved on to the 2013 NFL season and were inching further away from the disaster that was dubbed “Fail Mary” last season, shock waves hit Twitter this past weekend.  OK, maybe shock waves is a bit of an exaggeration-unless you’re a Green Bay Packers fan.

It was announced that NFL replacement referee Lance Easley, who infamously awarded a game-winning touchdown to Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate at the end of last year’s Monday Night Football contest against the Packers, has written a book entitled “Making the Call” and it goes on sale starting August 1st.

While Easley’s blown call was what ultimately led to the end of the NFL’s lockout of the regular refs, it obviously came at a cost to both the Packers and the NFL.  Who knows what would have become of Green Bay’s 2012 season had the right call been made and had the Packers left Seattle with the win.

As we know, Easley had no previous experience as a professional referee prior to that game.  He had done some high school and lower division college games and no one knew who he was.  That all changed in the blink of an eye and apparently Easley intends to ride the wave of that fame (infamy, really) all the way to the bank.  Ironically, his day job is as an Executive with Bank of America.  I’m sure many are hoping that he won’t have the luxury of quitting that job and living off of the royalties from the sale of his book.

The book has caused some blood-boiling, judging by the reaction on Twitter from fans and media alike.  While there is uproar among Packers fans and around the NFL, it seems to be another story in Seattle.  A while back, there were rumors that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had invited Easley to be a guest at his celebrity softball game, which took place this past Sunday.  Those rumors were proven true when images of Easley posing with Seahawks players surfaced after the event.  Here is one in particular that ESPN tweeted:

19

October

Getting In Rhythm With The Packers Offense

In this week’s edition of “Tuesday’s with Aaron” with Jason Wilde (a must listen if you are a Packers fan), Aaron Rodgers tried to describe what is a “rhythm offense”:

“I don’t know… I think a rhythm offense is an offense that operates best in favorable down and distances and making consistent plays and not having negative yardage plays, whether its a negative run, sack, penalty…and making the plays that keep you on the field”

Rodgers is always insightful during his interviews so his response took me a little by surprise; I’m not entirely sure Aaron Rodgers knows what really is a rhythm offense because no one really knows what a rhythm offense is.  Teams either are in a rhythm or they aren’t; some teams (typically with great quarterbacks) tend to be in rhythm more often than teams that don’t have great quarterbacks, but conversely having a great quarterback doesn’t necessarily mean the offense will be in rhythm.  As far as I can tell, it just happens.

If you’ve watched any Packers games at all this year, it should be pretty apparent that the Packers weren’t in a rhythm in beginning of the season and maybe have “righted the ship” with a 6 touchdown demolition of the Houston Texans last week.  To me this seemed a little odd since the Packers managed to start off hot during the 2011 season, and that was without the benefit of having an offseason due to the CBA lockout; so if anything the 2012 Packers should have been even more ready than the 2011 Packers.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, two other great quarterbacks known for their use of up-tempo, no-huddle, “rhythm offenses” had very similar results as Aaron Rodgers in terms of struggling early in the season and playing much better down the stretch (if you can even be “down the stretch” in week 6).  Below is a table looking at the individual passing statistics of Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees during the 2012 season.  I’ve split the averages for games 1 to 3 and then games 4 to 6 (the Saints have only played 5 games since they had a bye last week):

 

Aaron Rodgers     COMP ATT % COMP YARDS TD INT QBR Y/A AY/A
1 SFO L 22-30 30.00 44.00 68.20% 303.00 2.00 1.00 93.30 6.89 6.77
10

October

Packers News: Nick Perry fined $15k for hit on Luck

Nick Perry hits Andrew Luck in the chest, gets flagged and fined

Nick Perry hits Andrew Luck in the chest, gets fined

In the latest edition of players getting fined for playing football, Packers linebacker Nick Perry was fined $15,000 for his hit on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck this past Sunday.

According to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Perry plans to appeal the fine.

On the play, the official referred to Luck as a “defenseless player,” which is usually a term reserved for a receiver attempting to make a catch with no way of shielding himself from an coming collision. Luck, however, was standing in the pocket with five competent offensive linemen in front of him.

So in essence, labeling Luck a “defenseless player” is perhaps the biggest slight one could possibly give to an offensive line. Watch the play again, and see exactly what Perry was flagged, and fined, for.

Luck clearly didn’t see the Perry coming, and as a result, he was smacked by a 270-pound freight train. Perry does something that players nowadays are taught not to do, which is leading with the helmet. However, Perry hit Luck directly in the acceptable, yet constantly shrinking region to hit quarterbacks–square in the chest. The ball popped lose, and Packers linebacker D.J. Smith recovered.

The nine-yard sack was Perry’s second of the season, but a 15-yard penalty negated the turnover altogether. But if there’s a bright side to the story, it’s that Perry finally flashed his massive potential.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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4

October

CheeseheadRadio News 10-04-12: With Ty Dunne

Weekly Green Bay Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Amanda Lawson (As heard on Cheesehead Radio – 10/04/12 ). Special Guest was Ty Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and soon USA Today).

The show can be downloaded from itunes here, or just click on the play button below:

Listen to internet radio with Cheesehead Radio on Blog Talk Radio

 

CheeseheadRadio News 10-04-12:

Al:  Well, the Packers survived a scare from the Saints and Jeff Tripplette to persevere and hang on to an  important home win. The Saints were a desperate team, not wanting to go 0-4, and played like it. The referees performed more like their replacements did the week before, missing some obvious calls that almost cost the Packers a win. Fortunately, they pulled it out and evened their record to 2-2.

Amanda:  Speaking of the replacement referees, seems their still in the news. Wayne Ellliot, crew chief during the Packers Seahawks game, admitted this week that they made the wrong call on the last play of the game, even though the NFL upheld the ruling. I appreciate his honesty, but confirmation that the NFL handling of the matter was a sham  just adds insult to injury.

Al: Two more interesting things from Elliot. First, he revealed that during their training, the replacement officials were instructed not to call offensive interference on Hail Mary passes, but rather to just let it go. Elliot also said that Mike McCarthy called him and left a voice mail with some kind words, commending him on his handling of the situation, regardless of whether it was the right call or not.

Amanda:  Returning to the Packers this week was Mike Neal, who has completed his four game suspension and returned to practice this week. The Packers can add him right now or have the option to wait a week before deciding whether to put him on the active roster. According to Mike McCarthy, neal retuned to the team in outstanding physical condition and showed no signs of getting winded in  practice. Neal said this is the best he’s felt in 3 years.

Al: Not feeling so good is Greg Jennings, who re-injured his groin during the Saints game. Jennings expressed his extreme frustration this week and vowed he would not come back until it was 100% healed, whatever the timetable. Between this recurring injury and a preseason concussion, Jennings has missed significant time in what is an important year for him, contract-wise.

1

October

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 28, Saints 27

Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy

Rodgers and the offense got back on track while McCarthy’s red flag nearly cost the team a win

Not even Jeff Triplette could deny the Green Bay Packers this time.

The Packers hung on for a wild 28-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints in a game where offenses ruled the day as both defenses gave up a combined for 895 yards and quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees both had stellar days and were able to move the chains almost at will.

The Packers go to 2-2 with the victory after their heartbreaking “loss” to the Seattle Seahawks last Monday evening and will move into second place in the NFC North behind the surprising 3-1 Minnesota Vikings should the Chicago Bears lose to the Dallas Cowboys tonight.  The Saints fall to 0-4 as the team struggles to get going without head coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for the entire season for his part in the Saints’ bounty program.

The Packers offense finally appeared to find its rhythm against the hapless Saints defense that ranked dead last in the NFL entering the game, allowing an average of 477 yards per game. Rodgers picked apart the Saints secondary and Cedric Benson had another solid outing.

So who stood out and who stood down?

Game Balls

QB Aaron Rodgers

All eyes were on the reigning MVP this week after last week’s debacle in Seattle and Rodgers’ strong comments during his weekly radio show on ESPN 540. Many were expecting Rodgers to come back with a vengeance and he didn’t disappoint.

Aside from one interception, Rodgers was surgical against the Saints defense, going 31-41 for 319 yards and throwing four touchdown passes. His offensive line kept him upright and his knack for extending plays was once again on full display.  He finally looked the part of NFL MVP, though again it was against the worst defense in the NFL.

WR James Jones

What kind of bizarre NFL season is this when Jones makes the clutch catch of the game?

Aside from making an incredible catch with a defender literally on top off him late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory, Jones had his best game of the season.  He caught two touchdown passes and finished with five catches for 65 yards.

27

September

NFL, Referees Reach Agreement

Ed Hochuli Touchdown

Ed Hochuli’s arms: coming to an NFL stadium near you THIS WEEKEND!

Like Jason Wilde said on Twitter, we figured this is how it would happen. Just not against the Green Bay Packers.

Regardless, the NFL and NFL Referee Association (NFLRA) have come to an agreement on an eight year CBA to lift the lockout of the regular officials as confirmed by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. A regular crew will be in place for the Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens game Thursday night.  Officials will meet Friday and Saturday to ratify the agreement.

From the official NFL statement:

“Our officials will be back on the field starting tomorrow night,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We appreciate the commitment of the NFLRA in working through the issues to reach this important agreement.”

It’s unfortunate that it had to cost ANY team a game for this to happen.  It stings more because it happened to the Packers, but wouldn’t you be just as angry if it happened to any other team?  Judging by the amount of support seen from fans of the other 31 franchises, it’s likely that Packer fans would have expressed similar thoughts.

So now the criticism can get directed at the real officials.  Will there be more bad calls? No doubt.  Let’s also be clear about this as well: the replacement officials were put into a ridiculously difficult position by the league.  They did the best they could in a situation in which they were way over their heads.  They should be commended for accepting such a daunting task. I personally wish them all the best in the future.

That said, there are wounds between the fans and the league office that will take time to heal.  Will this increase pressure on the regular officials? Time will tell.

But for now, enjoy a rare sight at stadiums all over the league this week: standing ovations….for the referees!

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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26

September

September 24, 2012: The Day The NFL Died

RIP NFL: 1921-2012

My friends, we gather today to mourn the passing of a close friend.

It was a friend that many almost considered a big brother.  It was a close friend of millions of people in multiple countries around the world.   While it was a product of the United States, it transcended nationality.  It truly was a universal language.

Of course, it had its flaws.  Nothing and no one on this earth is perfect.  We accepted those flaws and figured that those in charge of its caretaking would always keep its best interests at heart when trying to fix those flaws as well as any other urgent need that would arise.

Sadly, around four weeks ago, many of us saw trouble ahead for our dear National Football League.  The regular officials were locked out by the league under the leadership of Commissioner Roger Goodell.  We were told a deal would be coming and that the replacement officials would not be used more than a couple of weeks.

So the games went on and we as fans continued to watch.   As the young season progressed, warning signs began to emerge. Players were taking blows to the head and defenders were not being flagged for it, despite the NFL allegedly cracking down on such hits.  Holding and blatant pass interference ignored, giving quarterbacks a kicking ball, forgetting which teams are playing (“Holding, number 93 red”), awarding extra yardage and timeouts….the list goes on.

Finally, this past Monday night the fatal blow came and personally it hurt more than any of the other botched calls because it cost my beloved Green Bay Packers a game.  M.D. Jennings clearly had the ball on the final Hail Mary and Golden Tate only had one arm on it after throwing Sam Shields to the ground in yet another blatant pass interference non-call.

Chaos ensued as one official signaled for a touchdown and the other signaled a touchback.  The subsequent review somehow confirmed the ruling.  The official in the booth was a full time NFL employee and he got it wrong, probably to save his league more embarrassment.  It’s a shame.

Commissioner Goodell has always said he puts the integrity of the NFL above all else.  He said it last year when the players were locked out and he repeated the same thing this year with the referee lockout.  You know what defines someone as insane? Repeating a lie or fantasy so much that the person becomes convinced that it is real.