Flag On The Play—Excessive Flags in the NFL

Mack BonnerCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2009

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 11:  A penalty flag is thrown as the Cincinnati Bengals face the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Staduim on November 11, 2007 in Baltimore, Maryland. Cincinnati defeated Baltimore 21-7.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

There used to be a day when the players were the most important guys on the field, or so I've heard. They dominated the landscape with their jukes, stiff arms, leaping, and incredible playmaking abilities. Those are the days of the past.

Now there is a new guy in town and he's wearing stripes—okay, maybe he's not new—but we sure see a lot more of him these days. It seems as though he's in on most plays of today's game, strutting his stuff like some crazed ostrich protecting it's nest.

He runs up and down the field, keeping an eye out for any funny stuff like holding, pass interference, roughing the passer, or non-matching socks. Yes, it's the referees.

I'm not sure what's happened to the game of old, but it's sure taken a turn for the worse. Watching this year's preseason games, the refs seem more strict than ever.

The wide receiver and defensive backs just seem to be going through the motions of running routes and sticking to their man while avoiding contact at all cost. It seems as though any contact on the receiver while running his route is now off-limits, (even when the ball is uncatchable). Yes, I saw it happen in preseason play.

It also seems that it is now a penalty to sack the quarterback. Watching one of the games this year, I was shocked (well not really as I've come to expect it) that a "roughing the passer" call was made on a totally legal hit on the quarterback.

If I could remember which game it was I would say, but I can't recall at this point.

What is our game coming to when the players aren't the most important guys on the field anymore. Your guy gets beat by a DB on an all-or-nothing jump ball on third down, don't sweat it because it was most likely pass interference. Ya refs.

Your defense is dominant and has got to the quarterback all day, but late in the fourth quarter your team gets a "roughing the passer" call that keeps the opponents drive alive. Ya refs.

You know it's gotten crazy when teams have plays that's designed to draw a pass inteference call. Yes they have them.

When will we get back to letting the players play the game? How long do we have to wait for some football not dominated by flags and penalties and crazed ostriches? I say let them play, and let the best man win.

Oops, flag on the play...excessive rambling.