A year removed from the whole "replacement referee" debacle, Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss called this year's officiating the worst he has ever seen throughout his 13-year career in the NFL.
Mark Maske of The Washington Post provided the quote from the veteran wideout:
“It’s probably been worse this whole year as a total, not just this team," Moss said of the officiating. "But I’ve watched a lot of football this year. It’s been the worst that I’ve ever seen.”
The timing on this isn't exactly all that surprising, as the Redskins are fresh off a Sunday night loss that was stooped in controversy.
Down seven with two minutes to play, the Redskins were wrongly given a first down on a short completion from Robert Griffin III to Pierre Garcon. After they ran what they believed was a first-down play, the officials "fixed" their earlier mistake and indicated it was fourth down and not second down as a result.
As NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal reported, the league later apologized, saying "the stakes were moved incorrectly" and "play should have been stopped," but the damage was already done.
During the same game, Moss was also hit with questionable holding and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Of course, while Sunday's poorly officiated contest probably helped influence these comments, Moss made it clear that his frustration is with the league as a whole. The inconsistencies relating to catch/no-catch rulings, in particular, have baffled him:
You’ve got guys that’s catching balls and they take two steps and they get tackled. The ball come out after they hit the ground. It’s no good. And you have another guy do it the next week, he gets the catch. Come on. Somebody have to change that rule. I hate the calls now where you see guys — and this is mostly receivers I’m looking at — catching a ball and you fall out of bounds, and you have a [defensive back], now … you’re out of bounds and the guy is still swiping at the ball. And now the guy hits the ball and it bobbles in your hand but you still have the ball on you — no catch. Someone has to change that.
The questionable officiating has picked up pace, as of late.
During the Monday night contest between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots, there was controversy when the game ended on a pass-interference flag being picked up in the end zone. An illegal contact penalty on the San Francisco 49ers' Ahmad Brooks reversed the fortune of their game with the New Orleans Saints.
This past week, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasn't penalized when he seemingly stepped onto the field and impeded the progress of Jacoby Jones but was later fined $100,000 for his actions, per Ryan Maquinana of NFL.com
How would you grade the NFL officiating this season?
It's hard to believe these officials are worse than last year's replacement refs, who went out with a bang after the infamous "Fail Mary" touchdown call at the end of the Packers-Seahawks game, but Moss' complaints certainly hold some merit.
The inconsistency of the calls and how rules are enforced, in particular, has been frustrating across the league and throughout the year.
Whether changes are made in the offseason in an attempt to fix the problems remains to be seen.