Stripes Spell the End for the Miami Dolphins' Playoff Hopes

T.J. MorrillCorrespondent IDecember 20, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 07:  A referee stands over a yellow penalty flag during a game between the UTEP Miners and the Tulane Green Wave at Louisana Superdome on November 7, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Officiating in professional and collegiate sports has been awful in recent times. Affecting the outcomes of games by finding the lamest excuse to call a ridiculous penalty.

The latest example is the Miami Dolphins game at Tennessee. In overtime, Chad Henne had thrown an interception and as the defender took a knee surrendering himself, his teammate began encouraging him to get up and run. So to be safe Greg Camarillo ran over and put his hands on him to down him and make sure.

Sure enough a yellow flag comes flying out and a 15-yard penalty is charged to the Dolphin's receiver—putting the Titans into field goal rang for their big legged kicker Rob Bironas.

The stout Dolphin's defense stopped the Titans on three straight plays but none of it mattered, because of an insult-to-the-game call on one wide receiver making a heads up play.

Another atrocity by the officiating crew came from a lack of a review in overtime as the Dolphins clearly got the ball back as the replay showed Jason Taylor stripped the ball away from Chris Johnson on third down. Yet, instead of a review and the Dolphins having another shot with the ball, the Titans were able to kick it through the uprights and win.

There were other instances in the game where the officials screwed the Dolphins (the least penalized team in the league coming in) with such calls as defensive holding when the defensive lineman was thrown to the ground. How is that possible?

When a player is thrown to the ground usually it stands that the player who threw them to the ground should be called for holding doesn't it?

The Titans got away with several holding calls and an illegal man down field on a screen pass, the center Kevin Mawae was clearly upfield before the pass was in the air on this play.

I'm not saying the Dolphins couldn't have won this regardless because they could have, three times they turned the ball over in field goal range and just one of those would have won the game and reversed the score.

The offense needs to do a better job of capitalizing and I'm sure that's what the coaching staff will take note of.

Fortunately some slim playoff hopes are still there for the Dolphins but they are just that—slim. The Phins must win their remaining games and hope for some help with losses on the part of the Ravens and Broncos to make the playoffs at a meek 9-7.