Report: NFL teams increasingly unhappy with officiating
Some fans might argue that NFL officiating is worse than it has been in a long time, but apparently even some within the league are starting to feel that way as well.
Executives and coaches within the league believe the NFL needs to reevaluate how it chooses and trains officials due to what is considered a falling standard of officiating, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Executives were particularly upset with the Week 18 game between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams, in which the Seahawks benefitted from multiple controversial calls in an overtime win that helped them reach the playoffs.
One team executive said there has been “a real groundswell of unhappiness with officiating that is much deeper than I’ve seen and frankly, I haven’t seen in this league in years,” and that the Seahawks-Rams contest was “the worst officiated game of the year.” The NFL’s competition committee was “frustrated” by the officiating and both the Rams and Detroit Lions were upset with how the game went, as Seattle’s win eliminated Detroit from playoff contention. Had the Seahawks lost, the Lions would have had a chance to clinch a playoff bid with a win over the Packers on Sunday night, a result they ultimately did get even though they were not playing for anything but pride.
The Seahawks benefitted in the fourth quarter when the Rams were called for running into the kicker on a punt, which extended Seattle’s game-tying drive. Replays showed that Rams special teams player Jonah Williams had been blocked into punter Michael Dickson, but officials did not see that. Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf avoided a penalty despite poking Jalen Ramsey in the facemask late in the fourth quarter, and safety Quandre Diggs was not flagged despite blatantly taunting the Rams’ sideline after a vital overtime interception.
It is easy to complain about referees, but more difficult to propose changes that would be beneficial. That said, if so many teams are clearly upset by the way things are trending, the league might have to act.