Sunday was a sad day in the history of competitive, organized athletics.
Let's say you are an NFL official. Do you want to just call a game fairly? Or will you make favorable calls to certain teams and against certain others?
Consider a Brett Favre pass to Visanthe Shiancoe in the end zone. Under the NFL rules, as clarified after the famous Bert Emanuel play in the NFC Championship game, the play remains a catch even if the ball hits the ground, as long as the receiver controls the ball. Shiancoe's touchdown should have stayed on the board.
Shiancoe, who did the same thing as Bert Emanuel, makes the catch. The ball touched the ground, but Shiancoe had possession of the ball throughout the act of making the catch. Initially, it is ruled a catch. Nevertheless, on a challenge, which requires incontrovertible evidence, it is reversed. No catch. The Vikings settle for a field goal. There are only two explanations. Either the referee was drunk, or he was not a referee.
In the words of Dennis Green, then-member of the Competition Committee, "A receiver has to have possession of the ball and control of the ball. Then, if his knee hits the ground and the ball hits the ground, as long as he maintained control of the ball, it's a catch."
It's so simple, anyone can understand.
On top of that, the referee explained the reversal by saying the receiver "used the ground to help make the catch." As everyone knows, that is not an exception to the rule. The referee's explanation can be explained in very simple terms. It was a bald-faced lie. The only reason he would lie to the world is because he wanted to achieve some result, or perhaps he was drunk or insane.
Then there was the face mask call on Loadholt. That was not a legitimate face mask penalty. Loadholt was blocking the upper chest of Clay Matthews. Despite the complete lack of contact, and the minimal effect that it would have had if it were face masking, the five-yard variety of the penalty was not called. No. Instead, this fake 15-yard penalty kept the Vikings away from the red zone. It wasn't holding either, as Loadholt did not grab hold of the jersey.
The Shiancoe catch should have been a touchdown. That would make it 28-28 going into the last few minutes of the game. Take away the fake penalty on Loadholt, and the Vikings are in excellent position for a field goal.
It gets worse. The NFL now has a special "Jared Allen rule." This means it is legal to hold Jared Allen on every play. This rule does not apply to any other player, just Jared Allen. Let's just say the Packers took full advantage of this rule.
The officials did call offensive pass interference on Moss correctly. At least they got something right. Curiously enough, they made the right call when the Vikings committed a penalty.
After the game Childress called this the "worst-officiated game I've seen." (Greg Coleman interview.) An official apologized to Childress for not calling a hold on a scramble by Rodgers. Childress continued to rake the officiating over the coals in his official post-game interview.
The officials botched the call on the Quarless touchdown for the Packers. Clearly he dropped the ball. Yet the officials called that a touchdown.
The bottom line is, the Vikings defeated the Packers. Unfortunately, the Vikings didn't count on the referees joining forces with the Packers.
It's true that Favre needs to play better. He could start by listening to the head coach for a change. It's true that Childress should have challenged the Quarless catch in the end zone but did not. On the Vikings' last drive, Childress should have thrown out his playbook, as brilliantly conceived and executed as it was to that point, and just have Brett throw passes to Adrian Peterson, just because he was hot and he is AD.
That is all true. It is also true that despite these mishaps, the Vikings still deserved to win. The Vikings played better. The Vikings were better. The Vikings are better. The difference in the game was cheating by the Packers and the refs.
It's pretty sad how Green Bay Packers fans celebrate this victory. They know their team did not earn this victory. Yet they celebrate it anyway. It was not a football game. If I wanted to watch pro wrestling, I would have. This was just a waste time for real football fans.
It appears that with the labor dispute, the relentless parade of bad and partial officiating, some of which has even affected the sacred Packers earlier this year, the NFL is sliding into irrelevancy. What was once a fine sporting event is fast becoming a sickening joke.
How is the NFL going to explain this? Perhaps they should adopt a new strategy, stop telling bald-faced lies, and just admit what really happened on Sunday night.