Kirk Cousins, Mike Mularkey are right about officiating

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When it comes to player and coaching errors, NFL teams have no choice but to be transparent; they regularly face the media, starting with the moments after the game in which they made the mistake about which they’ll be grilled by reporters.

So Titans coach Mike Mularkey is right. Regardless of the private accountability that comes from the grading process, officials need public accountability. In some circumstances, the referee of a crew speaks to a pool reporter. That’s not hardly enough.

Officials should be required to answer the same questions about their actions and omissions that players and coaches face, after every game. Maybe the threat of public accountability will cause them to spend more time preparing, more time studying, more time honing their craft.

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins also is right. When there’s a mistake, a private apology only goes so far. The outcomes of NFL games have real consequences. There should be real consequences for those who make decisions that affect the outcomes of NFL games.

Even better, the league should enhance and expand the effort to get calls right. From greater use of replay review to the presence of a video official who watches the game in real time and assists the on-field crew with any and all calls, more can be done to wipe out mistakes.

In Mularkey’s case, the NFL has a system in place to fix the mistake that was made, but no one realized that the fumble by Steelers receiver Antonio Brown at the Tennessee 41 that was recovered by receiver Martavis Bryant at the Tennessee 32 should have gone back to the spot of the fumble. In Cousins’ case, the officials determined that intentional grounding happened when it clearly hadn’t, since a loss of yardage wasn’t imminent.

It’s on the league office to ensure that mistakes of this nature can be fixed, and that they are fixed. Fans care deeply about the outcome of these games, whether due to rooting interests or financial considerations. Likewise, players, coaches, and everyone else connected to the team can have their careers made, or broken, by the accuracy of officiating calls.

Chalking mistakes up to “human error” simply isn’t good enough. While mistakes happen, the challenge is finding ways to spot and correct them quickly.

36 responses to “Kirk Cousins, Mike Mularkey are right about officiating

  1. Man. Go watch the Jags/Browns game. Officials were straight up freestyling out there.

    They completely just canceled an acrobatic Westbrook catch for a 1st down, then they canceled a Dante Fowler Jr. touchdown by inexplicably calling the play dead after a clear fumble. They missed blatant pass interference calls on Marquise Lee … especially the long pass down the sideline where the defender had ahold of Lee’s arm.

    I don’t understand it.

  2. Whining won’t change the outcome…I like the Redskins but if they’re going to start acting like Vikings, I won’t like them anymore.

    WHO DAT!

  3. Linking a referees responsibility to submit to a reporters questions will not make a referee more accountable. Perhaps awarding a bonus would help, but most of the refs look quite old and I would think that most of the are financially secure. We have replay for this very reason–mistakes happen. At the end of the day, still a game and it does not really matter. LeBron is not building a legacy on the court, neither is brady, and so on. 500 years from now-who, what game? Take it for what it is–entertainment. WAR raiders fans reading this post amd m reconsidering whether those brass knuckles and switchblade are realay needed at the next game.~

  4. This is a league that can’t clearly and concisely define what a catch is and you think they’re going to hold officials accountable?

  5. If the NFL is worried about ratings and improving the flow/watchability of games, more replay is not the answer.

  6. There is way too much “hometown cooking” when it comes to NFL officiating. That call against the Redskins was only thrown because of the Saints players complaining.

  7. Only on PFT. Some people realize that the speed of what we see and how fast we can see it outstrips the ability of people in real time to officiate without being blamed for missing a call. Other people not on PFT also realize that the NFL’s rules make for a lot of ambiguous situations that aren’t going to be solved on the field.

    Want to stop the problems? 1) Get Riveron out of the mix. He is terrible and has no excuse. 2) Penalize players for calling their own penalties. I am sick of it and the refs listen far too often. 3) Make them all full-time, with performance reviews. Not public shaming as the brain trust recommends, but a mid season and annual PR that can make them lose their job.

    This kind of commentary is ridiculous. And comes from people who never played the game, at any level.

  8. Officials make calls and explain them all the time during games and millions of people point out there mistakes publicly via watching film. These guys are doing the best they can watching lots of very large, fast men smash into each other all over a big field. I don’t see how subjecting them to reporters does anything other then help the media generate content.

    Solutions would be getting rid of guys that aren’t up to the task, more officials, better training or expanded reply rules.

  9. this is a good piece…

    even the Patriots dynasty began with possibly the worst officiating error in playoff history: Brady fumbled…

  10. They need to show the referees ONLY what the television viewers are seeing. No more no less. That way everyone is on the same page with what was seen.

  11. Trade Mariota away for Kirk Cousins. Both sides win, because the Redskins aren’t committed to Cousins and Mariota is garbage. Please find some way to get rid of Mariota so the Titans aren’t stuck with “almost there but not quite” for the next 5 years or so…

  12. Question….if immanent danger is required for grounding then why was Tom Brady called for grounding in the Super Bowl when he air mailed a pass deep down field against the Giants? Since it was in the end zone it was a safety. You could argue it was a key reason why the Pats lost the game because The Giants would have had to score the TD at the end rather than being allowed in. Score would have been 17-13 on last drive. I feel like if immanent loss of yardage (meaning about to be sacked) is needed this would have come up before.

  13. sb44champs says:

    November 21, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Yeah that was intentional grounding 99.9 percent of the time

    If so, then the officials are wrong 99.9 percent of the time. The passer has to be in imminent danger of losing yardage for grounding to be called, and no Saint was within 5 yards of Cousins when he threw the pass.

  14. Absolutely killing the game. I think this is having more negative impact than the political/crime crap that is going on.

    You can’t watch a game without dozens of stops. Every special teams play comes with a flag. The call on Aaron Donald with the Vikes up against their goal line was one of the worst I’ve seen in decades.

    Officiating and all the flags are killing the game.

  15. It doesn’t matter how much replay is used when only one person is reviewing it. Human error cannot be reliably corrected when only one other human is doing the reviewing. It doesn’t matter if that one person is Riveron or Socrates. Why not have at least three veteran officials involved in the review?

  16. my_old_name_was_offensive says:
    November 21, 2017 at 4:09 pm
    this is a good piece…

    even the Patriots dynasty began with possibly the worst officiating error in playoff history: Brady fumbled…

    ——————-
    Thats different though because it was not a bad call made on the field. In fact they followed the rules and called it exactly correctly. The problem in that case was that the rules were crap. I will admit even as a Patriots fan I was still incredulous when I learned that what I saw happen did not constitue a fumble according to the rules.

    I will also remind the Oakland fans that the game did not end on that play, there was still some choking involved to let NE get down the field and score. If the D had really been as good as folks like to claim it was that would not have happened.

  17. I want the refs to get better at knowing the rules. They should know where the ball should be spotted and they should know what intentional grounding is.

    But I don’t want to see more replay. I don’t care if in slow-motion, a receiver is slightly bobbling a ball as he gets two feet in bounds. I just don’t care. I will take the call on the field whatever it is. I don’t want to hold up the game for 5 minutes to watch it in replay and make sure that gets called correctly.

    Same with every single touchdown. Every single fumble. Just give me the call on the field. I can’t stand watching these games anymore. Why did the NFL decide to ruin their product with all of this replay?

  18. jxt2521 says:
    November 21, 2017 at 4:08 pm
    Officials make calls and explain them all the time during games and millions of people point out there mistakes publicly via watching film. These guys are doing the best they can watching lots of very large, fast men smash into each other all over a big field. I don’t see how subjecting them to reporters does anything other then help the media generate content.

    Solutions would be getting rid of guys that aren’t up to the task, more officials, better training or expanded reply rules.

    —————
    Good points. And also its why I struggle with the NFL complaining about the cost of employing full time officials being why they cant even as they look to pay 50 million to the commissioner.

  19. The AB fumble made no difference in a 23 point game in the end. Who says the Steelers would not have been more aggressive from the 40 and scored a TD instead of being conservative and playing the FG?

  20. They better train the announcers, too. I have seen many announcers call the play incorrectly, and then fans get all upset based on what the announcer says. Announcers need to know what the rules are, too. Their job is to inform the fans, not confuse them. If the announcer doesn’t know, they shouldn’t guess.

  21. “And also its why I struggle with the NFL complaining about the cost of full time officials being why they cant even as they look to pay 50 million to the commissioner”.

    Any comment stating that Goodell demanded or is going to receive 50 million a year should be unanimously thumbed down. If someone is gullible enough to believe that they deserve to be scorned.

  22. “Officials should be required to answer the same questions about their actions and omissions that players and coaches face, after every game. Maybe the threat of public accountability will cause them to spend more time preparing, more time studying, more time honing their craft”

    No they shouldn’t

  23. “But I don’t want to see more replay…I just don’t care. I don’t want to hold up the game for 5 minutes to watch it in replay and make sure the call is correct”.

    At your next office visit be sure to tell your doctor: “Look Doc, I don’t care if you have to run some scans and tests to make sure that I am diagnosed correctly. If you have to hold my day up for more than 5 minutes I just don’t care.

  24. We all know why the NFL doesn’t hold the refs accountable. The whole league is rigged. There is too much money at stake so of course the refs are told how to call games.

  25. cardinealsfan20 says:
    November 21, 2017 at 5:52 pm
    “And also its why I struggle with the NFL complaining about the cost of full time officials being why they cant even as they look to pay 50 million to the commissioner”.

    Any comment stating that Goodell demanded or is going to receive 50 million a year should be unanimously thumbed down. If someone is gullible enough to believe that they deserve to be scorned.

    ———————————
    Yeah, thats right. it was only 49.5 million. 50 million is fake news.

  26. When I was a kid, my dad taught me that sometimes the breaks fall your way and sometimes they don’t. But that was when salaries for NFL players/coaches and corporate executives were reasonably sane.

    Now … an official screws up a call and that bad call gets people fired from once-in-lifetime jobs paying 7-8 figures. The consequences are much greater than they were 50 years ago. Maybe it’s in their contracts, but I’m amazed a player or a coach hasn’t sued because of one of these blown calls.

    Obviously the NFL needs to step up the officiating to match the cost of the consequences of bad calls. An apology doesn’t help when someone’s bad call got you pink slipped.

  27. Wah, wah! Redskins lost! Its happened to the Saints many times. Redskins had a chance to win it in OT and the blew it.

  28. All the whining about Cousins intentional grounding. Hate to break it to you, it WAS intentional grounding by rule. Did you not see Cam Jordan coming at him?

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