Scoot: Saints game - blown call - it happened AGAIN!

Scoot
September 16, 2019 - 8:55 pm
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The injury to the thumb on the throwing hand of Saints QB Drew Brees was a freak accident and injuries are part of the game.  Another atrocious mistake by an NFL official, that had a negative impact on a Saints game, was not a freak accident and should not be part of NFL football.

In the first quarter of the game between the Saints and the Rams in Los Angeles, Saints QB Drew Brees’ hand connected with a Rams defensive player as Brees was following through on a pass.  Cameras followed Brees as he went to the sidelines and when he tried to grip a ball, Drew seemed to throw it down in a moment of disgust.  At that point, it was obvious that Drew Brees had a serious injury.  The pensive stare of Drew on the sidelines seemed to confirm Drew knew his injury was serious.

Sports journalist Ian Rapoport reported that Brees will undergo surgery to repair ligament damage to the thumb of his throwing hand and will miss the next 6 games.  As bad as that is - it could have been worse. 

Back-up QB Teddy Bridgewater came in to replace Brees and his performance was very inconsistent at best, but it is fair to note that the team lost its collective will when Brees was injured.  Can the team rally around Bridgewater and win enough of the 6 games Brees will miss to stay on pace to win the NFC South?  Beginning today - that’s the challenge facing the Saints and the coaching staff.

While the injury to Brees’ thumb was the result of playing the game, the NFL official, who was quick to blow the whistle on a play that was a fumble and not an incomplete pass, should not have been part of the game.  That whistle calling the play dead negated a “scoop and score” touchdown by Saints defensive end Cam Jordan.  That proved to be a 10-point turnaround favoring the Rams at a point in the game that seemed to leave an emotional scar on the entire Saints team.

It is unspeakable that an NFL official would blow another key call that negatively impacted the Saints…and ironically, it happened again in a game against the L.A. Rams.  

What are the “chances” that two NFL officials would make grievous calls that benefited the L.A. Rams in two different games?  The “chances” are not good that would happen, which brings us to the painful truth.  

Is it possible that NFL officials are biased against the Saints?  As unbelievable as that seems, there is mounting evidence to support the claim.  However, it is nearly impossible to prove.

Last season, an official blew an obvious interference call against the Rams in the NFC Championship game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which arguably ended the Saints chances of getting to the Super Bowl.  The NFL admitted the official was wrong by not calling interference against the Rams’ defender.

Yesterday, in Los Angeles against the Rams, another NFL official was quick to blow the whistle on an extremely close call between a fumble and an incomplete pass, that negated Cam Jordan’s 89-yard touchdown after he picked up what was actually a fumble and not an incomplete pass.

It is incomprehensible to believe that there was another blown call in a game between the Saints and the Rams.  Here’s what I think happened.

The NFL was desperate to get a team back to Los Angeles.  A state-of-the-art stadium is being built for the Rams in the nation’s 2nd largest market.  The Rams do not have a strong fan base and that is something the NFL would like to change.  The Saints have a strong, unwavering fan base.  The NFL has more to gain from the team from Los Angeles doing well than the team from New Orleans - one of the NFL’s smaller markets.

NFL officials are human beings.  Human beings have a conscious and a subconscious self.  More realistic than the idea that the NFL meets with officials and plans to sway games through officiating is the reality that officials can be victims of their own subconscious bias.  Countless calls are close calls and could go either way. What is it that led to two terrible calls favoring the Rams over the Saints?

We have a tendency that allows our subconscious self to reflect our biases.  The official blew the play dead in the game yesterday because he was leaning toward giving the advantage of a close call to the Rams, when even the neutral network announcers reprimanded that official for an obviously missed call.  If you have to make a judgment call in your work or personal life - that judgment call can be altered by whether you like or dislike the target of the judgment.

In a game where the NFL had every reason to prove its unbiased officiating - an official showed blatant bias in favor of the team the NFL is trying to build up in the 2nd largest market in the country.

The Saints would probably have lost the game even if Cam Jordan’s touchdown counted, but it is impossible to ignore the reality that at that point in the game with a 10-point shift - that the already Brees-less Saints suffered an emotional setback that may have altered the outcome.

The two mistakes made by NFL officials benefiting the Rams over the Saints last season and yesterday are reasons to believe that biased officiating is now an acceptable part of the NFL.

And that’s sad - but the NFL is such a dynasty that is seems willing to allow certain biases in the name of what is in the best interest of the game.  But it’s hard to argue that the best interest of the game is integrity.

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