Sunday, October 09, 2005

Redskins 22 plus Officials -3 versus Denver 21

Yes, I know that if clinton Portis didn't fumble, the Redskins would have won;

Yes, I know that if three players didn't miss tackles on each of Bell's touchdown runs, the Redskins would have won;

Yes, I know if Novak elevates his FG kick six inches, the Redskins would have won;

I know the Redskins were not perfect. If the Redskins could only be perfect, they would break the 1972 Dolphins' record. But, perfection should not be required in a game in which the Redskins clearly outplayed the Broncos. All that should be required is adequate officiating.

Having watched a ton of NFL football, I am more convinced than ever that there is momentum in officiating. If you have a fairly consistent record of winning, you will get the benefit of the doubt on the calls from the officials. In fact let's give this momentum a name. Let's call it "Referee's Enlightened Altering Momentum" or REAM.

So, for example, if you were in the playoffs in the prior year, I think you get the majority of the calls when you play a team that had a losing record. It's sort of like in boxing, where the challenger has to clearly defeat the champ to get the title belt; or like in baseball where Braves pitchers get the called strike even when the pitch is three inches off of the plate. The loser gets REAMed. How else do you explain Glavine getting that call when he's a Brave and not when he's a Met?

Well, today the officials REAMed the Redskins. It's either that or I don't understand an NFL rule.

Trailing Denver by four points, the Redskins punted the ball and pinned the Broncos at their three yard line. On third down, Plummer pulled a pass down when defensive end Wynn got in his face. Yes, Plummer's arm was moving forward...until it wasn't. There was a point early in the attempted pass that it was clear that Plummer had no intention of releasing the ball. Plummer, who throws with his right hand, started to raise his left hand up to greet the ball. Plummer pulled the ball down and did NOT release the ball. He started to draw the ball back towards his body. In other words, the ball was no longer moving forward, but backward. The ball made contact with his left hand just in front of Plummer's left hip and he started to take a step to run with the ball. Plummer's left hand could not get control of the ball and it fell to the ground. Plummer frantically chased the ball into the end zone, he almost swatted it out of bounds for a safety, but at the last second he decided to pick it up and try to run out of the end zone. That was when Ade Jimoh leveled him for a safety.

The referees on the field correctly called it a safety. It was clear that Plummer thought he had fumbled and given the Redskins two points. The Fox announcers reviewed the replays and decisively called it a fumble and a safety; there was no debate, hesitation, or qualification in their pronouncement that it was a safety, even after seeing several replays from different angles. The Redskins celebrated that they pulled within two and were going to get the ball back in good shape. That's when Shanahan challenged the call and argued that plummer's arm was moving forward when he fumbled.

The Broncos, who were in the playoffs last year, inexplicably won the challenge and the Redskins, who won six games last year, lost their points. How important were those points? Later in the game the Redskins scored a touchdown to make the score 21 to 19. If the Redskins were not REAMed out of those two points, the game would have been tied with about a minute to play and the Redskins would have kicked an extra point to win the game 22 to 21. Instead, they had to attempt a two-point conversion and failed.

Some analysts during and after the game referred to a replay referee's call when Tom Brady fumbled in the playoffs against the Raiders and called it the "Tuck" rule. According to a story on, Brady's arm was moving forward and the replay refs overturned the ruling on the field that Brady fumbled. However, it seems to me that the comparison of Brady's fumble to Plummer's is flawed. Brady's hand was moving forward, but Plummer's had was no longer moving forward, it was going backward, and his non-throwing hand was trying to control the ball to allow him to run.

So, the Redskins got REAMed. The NFL's message is: "Be perfect and you won't have to worry about bending over."


At October 23, 2005 2:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Ever-infamous cry of the Redskins Nation

When things don't go your way, blame it on the refs. Good plan!!



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