Giants vs Packers: Officials Kept Packers Alive as Long as They Could
Many people in the New York metropolitan area woke up this morning and couldn't have been happier about the way their New York Giants performed last night. The visitors dismantled the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in dominating fashion, ending the Packers' season by a final score of 37-20.
It was a great day for Giants fans. Unfortunately, the time may have come to reconsider the way NFL games are officiated, and this would have become even more apparent if New York had lost yesterday's game.
There were three calls yesterday that were downright awful and could have changed the outcome of the game greatly.
It's almost as if Bill Leavy and the rest of the officiating crew wanted to let the Packers walk into the NFC Championship Game and, with some key play calls, tried to help get them there.
The Greg Jennings "non-fumble" was the first of quite a few mistakes made in Sunday's game. Late in the first quarter, after an Aaron Rodgers completion to Jennings for a six-yard gain, Jennings lost control of the football before any part of his body made contact with the turf.
Of course, it was not ruled a fumble on the field. It is certain that every single person not wearing a green and yellow jersey yesterday knew it to be a clear fumble—a fumble that was actually recovered by the Giants. Tom Coughlin would challenge the call and would lose as Leavy determined the receiver to be "down by contact."
To top off this injustice of a call, Rodgers would retain possession and four plays later hit John Kuhn for the nine-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 10-10.
Did Greg Jennings fumble the ball?
How about the protection on Eli Manning during Sunday's game?
Were the backfield refs thinking about their postgame plans when Eli would snap the ball? He took some hard hits. Most of them were clean. The Desmond Bishop knock that was delivered to Manning well after the ball had been released was the second injustice of the game.
Yes, Eli did take some hard hits leading up to this play. Yes, this play resulted in an interception.
But do we all know what happens when you get a roughing the passer call on an interception? The offense keeps the ball and gets a fresh set of downs. But no, Bishop was clearly allowed to deliver this hit with a referee standing five feet behind him. The rules state that once the ball is released, the rusher may make one additional step before trying to avoid to passer.
Remaining of the topic of roughing to passer, is there anybody who understands why Osi Umenyiora was called for roughing on Rodgers? At this point in the game most signs were pointing toward a Giants victory, but for some reason the refs felt they needed to give Rodgers some life.
Rodgers was still holding the ball. Umenyiora cannot stop in mid-air. The hit wasn't late. The hit wasn't high to the helmet. The hit was perfectly clean.
So what happens next? The Packers get a fresh set of downs, and five plays later Rodgers hits Donald Driver for a 16-yard touchdown to make it a 10-point game.
If Leavy and his squad were to actually get these calls correct, we very well could have seen the Giants blow out the Packers by a score of 44-6 (add up the poor calls that the Packers scored on).
Overall, the Giants have to be happy with the way things turned out considering the incompetence of the officials, who were clearly favoring the Packers.
There need to be changes to the way NFL games are officiated.
Making these kind of mistakes in a game that determines who goes to the conference championship is just unacceptable and wrong.
It has been rumored that the commissioner, Roger Goodell, is planning on making 10 officials full-time for next season. As of now, all officials work part-time. Hopefully these full-time officials will learn the rules better and spend day after day going over tape, just like the players have to do.
There will always be human error, but these types of mistakes can and should be prevented.
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