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Don't let it get to you


Ignore the officiating, please. For your own sake, don't dwell on that aspect of professional football that has become the sport's number one Monday morning topic of conversation and angst.

To do so is highly dangerous. It will cause you to lose sleep and perspective. It may even cause you to develop paranoia and distrust for the American judicial system.

There is absolutely no gain to be acquired from becoming obsessed with the officiating. The bad calls will continue and even though the league will review those calls and will readily admit they were in error, the game will not be replayed and the same mistakes will occur the following Sunday.

It is not worth getting upset. If the league doesn't care enough to fire Phil Luckett, why should you care enough to believe the proper administration of the game's rules are important?

Try this: The next time you're watching a game and Luckett screws up the coin toss or breaks up a touchdown pass for a wide receiver, laugh. That's all, just laugh. Consider it comedy. What else could it be?

Jaguars fans are outraged by the pass-interference penalty against Fernando Bryant this past Monday night. The call nullified a Bryant interception and allowed the previously punch-less Packers to score their first touchdown of the game. Heck, Tom Coughlin is outraged by the call, but, of course, he's outraged by every call. He would also do well to laugh. It's good for the soul.

Well, there's no question the call against Bryant was in error, because there's no video evidence to suggest Bryant so much as touched Packers wide receiver Bill Schroeder. It was the worst example of pass interference since poor Artrell Hawkins was found guilty of a 38-yard infraction against Jimmy Smith a month ago, and the league later agreed with the call, which made the whole thing even more laughable.

Whatever happened to the concept of "call 'em as you see 'em?" And if it didn't happen, how could an official have seen it?

How about a week ago in the Philadelphia-Kansas City game? Replay clearly showed a catch was not made but replay couldn't be used because the officials ruled the receiver to be "down by contact." Try that one with the IRS. Sorry, you can't disallow that deduction because it was "down by contact."

You gotta laugh, folks. If you don't, you'll cry.

How about this past Sunday's Minnesota-Pittsburgh game? Steelers coach Bill Cowher challenged an 80-yard touchdown by the Vikings. Cowher claimed the Vikings player had stepped out of bounds. The replay shows the runner narrowly missing the chalk as he heads up the sideline, but at the point Cowher contends the runner's foot came down out of bounds, the TV camera's viewpoint is blocked by Cowher's head looking down at the runner's foot.

It's Marx Brothers stuff. It's pure comedy.

Pass interference calls have become the worst. A harsh look at a wide receiver will bring a flag. Defensive backs don't have a chance and fans are as much to blame as the officials. Fans scream for a flag if the receiver is so much as forced to break stride. They might as well allow wide receivers the right to a "fair catch."

Criticism of the officiating is league-wide. It's not just in Jacksonville. A bad call is made, the league offers the offended team an apology, then the same thing happens to another team the following Sunday.

Why get upset?

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