I… I have nothing to say.
How can you adequately critique your team's football game, when it was a complete circus? I watched the Lakers/Kings Game 6, and tonight's sham may have been the most poorly officiated game I have every witnessed. Tim Donaghy and Senior Referee Earl Hebner have nothing on tonight's crew. And before you start calling me a sore loser, (which I very well may be) I was saying the exact same thing when the Pats were up by 9 in the 4th quarter.
I know that bringing this up is the equivalent of beating a dead horse, reincarnating it, killing it again, and proceeding to beat it senselessly, but why do Roger Goodell and the NFL allow this replacement referee debacle to continue? Tonight's game was an absolute farce. It seems like the best these referees can do is tell if something doesn't look "right". If two guys are going for the ball and they make contact, they know to throw the flag. When it comes to actually determining what to do after that flag, they are completely befuddled. Eventually it comes down to eeni-meenie-miney-mo, rock-paper-scissors, or a whim. For example, how to you explain the offensive pass-interference call on Julian Edelman, where he was shoved in the chest by a defender who never turned for the ball, brought in the catch anyway, and was flagged?
There's only one explanation: Incompetence.
There were so many egregious calls, so many Baltimore scoring drives kept alive by phantom penalties, that it's absolutely impossible to be mad or pin this one on New England. Yeah, Arrington should've picked off that duck Flacco threw at the end instead of falling down for no reason. Yeah, the O-line might've been doing a rendition of The Great Divide on New England's final drive. But, honestly, with the way this game was officiated, they never had a chance. The defense wasn't allowed to get off the field half the time when they had the Ravens stopped. Michael Orr must've mistaken Chandler Jones for his adoptive mother, because he was holding him all night. Yeah, there were awful calls both ways, but the majority were in Baltimore's favor. Even on the call at the end where Brady got picked and they overturned it. The penalty they called was wrong, but the defender was putting his hands to Welker's throat and yanking his jersey. It was definitely a penalty.
Even then, you had the entire stadium chanting "bull sh@t" full blast on network television. You had Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth openly berating the officials and calling out the NFL. All that was missing was a folding chair and a steel cage.
Lets face it. We will never know whether that last kick actually made it through the uprights. The referee doesn't even know. At that moment, I'm sure his survival instinct kicked in and he decided he'd rather be shoved by Bill Belichick than get murdered by Ray Lewis and the 70,000 Ravens fans in M&T Bank Stadium. It's not reviewable, and so that's it.
Yes, the Patriots are 1-2 and under .500 for the first time in over 9 years. But they've lost by a combined 3 points after getting screwed 20+ by my count, thanks to these refs. Hopefully tonight's public pupu platter is enough to motivate the league to end this labor dispute and finally put this season back on track. There's 13 games to go and the Patriots still have a very good shot at earning a bye week. Until then, the NFL is a complete sham. Tomorrow night, let's save ourselves the frustration and just watch RAW. At least Vince McMahon is open about the fact that the fix is in.