NFL's Worst Calls of 2009…So Far

Greg RiotAnalyst INovember 6, 2009

I had to write “so far” in the title of this article because there’s about a half a season left to play in the NFL, but, man, this is bad.

I don’t know what we NFL fans will do if the calls get worse than what we’ve seen so far.  I mean, some of the stuff has been ridiculous.  Calls can actually cost NFL betting fans money. 

So, to say that referees make mistakes and that they’re all human is one thing, but to flippantly write off a bad call is another.  One call leads to a change in the game.  Any change in the game can lead to a non-cover against the spread or a flat out loss.  Changes build upon changes in the NFL, after all.

Bad calls cost money.  That sucks for the guy who loses dollars because of some ridiculous Zebra whistle.

Top Five Worst Calls in the 2009 NFL Season...So Far

1.) Pass Interference Turns to Taunting in the Patriots vs. Broncos Game — The Broncos needed a touchdown to tie, remember?  Of course you do!  Former Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels versus his mentor Bill Belichick?  Kyle Orton vs. Tom BradyRandy Moss vs. Brandon Marshall

Well, needing a TD to tie, the Broncos get a pass interference call on Pats’ safety Brandon Meriweather, no, make that a taunting call on the Patriots at the 11 yard line. 

Okay...wait...I’m confused!  Of course, I wasn’t the only one.  The ref threw the flag before the taunt, which was a simple stand over and look down taunt, not a kick you in the groin taunt, occurred.  So, my thinking is that the ref thought it was pass interference realized it wasn’t and then changed it to the taunt.

Or, he had money on the Broncos who won the game in overtime 20 to 17.  Whatever.


2.) S.F. Gets Hosed No. 1 — In a terribly close game against the Minnesota Vikings, you know, the one where Brett Favre sent that magical pass to back of the end zone for what turned out to be a game winning touchdown, Minnesota kept a drive alive when S.F. defensive end Justin Smith hit Favre a split second after the ball left Favre’s hand.  Whistle blown.  15 yards.  Keep the drive alive.  But...the drive wasn’t over.


3.) S.F. Gets Hosed No. 2 — Because to make sure that the drive wouldn’t end, S.F. defensive back Shawntae Spencer was called for a 15 yard taunting penalty on a third-down Favre incompletion.  Hey, when the refs want you to lose, you lose, right?  Spencer's unspeakable infraction?  Waving off the incompletion, a la a referee, to signal that the pass was, well, incomplete.  That is just amazingly unsportsmanlike.


4.) Calling for excessive celebration when players are just praying —  How many times has the flag been thrown on a guy that scores a touchdown, points to the sky, and thanks the all mighty one in 2009?  I don’t know, but it’s been quite a few times.  Maybe, it happens when his teammates rush into the end zone to hug him. 

Maybe, it happens in a city where praying to god is frowned upon.  Maybe, it just happens because the ref is trying to get the damn whistle out of his throat and the other ref is doing the Heimlich maneuver on him and all of this occurs as soon as the player bends down and points towards the sky.

Maybe, the NFL is just mad because they thought they had stolen Sunday from god for good.


5.) You Mean, We Can’t Go Back in Time? — In the Oakland Raiders versus San Diego Chargers game, where the Chargers won 24 to 16, Raider QB JaMarcus Russell lost the ball as his arm moved forward, which is an incomplete pass. 

Russell was afraid that the refs might call it a fumble—the ball ended up in the hands of Chargers’ LB Shaun Phillips—so he hurried up and called a play.  The ball was snapped, the Raiders were stopped, and everybody could have moved on.

But the refs, understanding the rules better than regular fans, blew the whistle and looked back on the incomplete pass play, which, of course, isn’t allowed because Russell and the Raiders had already snapped the ball.

Ah...that’s why the NFL is angry at the Lord.  They can go back in time and he can’t.  Now, I get it.