Don’t touch me, you brute!


I was in vegetative state last night when I saw this penalty called on a Cincinnati Bengal defender. He reached out and grabbed the jersey of the offensive player, but not in a way that impeded his motion in attempting to catch an otherwise overthrown ball. It was probably just a hyperactive referee, but reminded me that officials control the game of football with their ability to call or not call anything on any play. This was ridiculous.

Is the game fixed? Pretty slim evidence here. I continue to believe that the owners of the league are not interested in outcomes so much as contests. They want the viewers glued to the screen watching commercials, the “mother’s milk” of the game, the right breast aside the other, gambling.

I watch for athleticism. These are amazing young men.


6 thoughts on “Don’t touch me, you brute!

  1. In answer to your question, let me ask another question:

    Why are some calls reviewable/reversable but others not?

    There is no guiding principle to sort out reviewable/non-reviewable, since certain situations have changed from one category to another across the years. It is therefore arbitrary.

    And therefore puts a tremendous amount of power in the pocket of a single referee for any given game. It could be this way only because Vegas wants it to be this way.


    1. “Vegas” is a word that implies concentrated power for a certain outcome. But there are forces in Vegas on either side of the outcome. Vegas is built on the spread, and a referee’s call can affect that, easily.

      What I see happening is a TV audience that has to be kept in the game. Blowouts, which is what this game was becoming, drive people to turn the channel, perhaps even to interact with each other. The NFL wants an audience glued to the screen.

      While in NY last year I was in conversation with another CPA, but this a guy with his stake in the ad business. He was high powered, which I am not, so I was very impressed. He said he had been in meetings and the ad people were very concerned at our ability to fast forward through ads. They were working on a way to fix this problem, which I don’t think they have done yet. He was just talking off the cuff, and not trying to impress anyone. Very likeable man.

      Which reminds me … the NFL moved the extra point out to the 20 … so that it was not such a sure thing. They did this not to make the game more interesting, or not exactly for that reason, but because when a team would score people would get up and leave the TV for a beer or to pee and ad effectiveness diminished … they watch this stuff closely. The decision to put the ball on the 20 after a score was an ad decision, not a competition committee one. That’s where my head is at on this game fixing stuff … only to keep people tuned in.


      1. Yes. But along with the week-by-week nail-biting, don’t-touch-that-dial outcomes, I have also sensed that there is something of a story arc built into football seasons now, both pro and college. This is necessary to give otherwise unimportant games a significance within a given week that the games would not otherwise have, and to build human interest in particular players as heroes or villains.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. And let’s not overlook the fantasy football phenomenon. I participated in a league many years ago and soon found myself watching teams from other cities so I could “root on MY player.” Before that I had only watched MY team (because they care so much about me, doncha know.)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I see the NFL simply as a television show, with scripted drama, a monster of the week overlaid with a story arc, just like, say, The X Files, or The Blacklist, or any number of shows that use this formula. Person of Interest.
    The refs edit in real time when called on from the producers in the booth. Injuries, real and otherwise, help shape the cast and influence the script.
    The catch by Jermaine Kearse of the Seattle Seahawks at the end of Super Bowl 49 certainly appeared legit, but had he scored on the play, I would not fall out of my chair if a late flag fell. (You just know calls from some shadowy back room were made to Pete Carroll to “fix this, but pronto!”) So, rather than hand the ball off to The Thing, who never met a defensive line he couldn’t knock over, Russell Wilson threw an interception to preserve the loss. TV.


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