Anyone interested in the NFL must notice the increase in penalty flags thrown by the referees this season. Most football fans want to see the game played on the field by the actual players but the referees seem to be making us watch them more than the actual players on the field.
Of course, we need the refs for blatant fouls and cheating players to make sure the game is played within the rules, but most will agree that this season they have taken it to a new level and possibly a ridiculous level that is taking away from the game itself.
Indeed, more flags make for more breaks between plays and can take a team out of their rhythm on an offensive drive. It can allow the defense and offense to rest more between plays which more likely benefits the defense. It makes players less likely to play hard or to play with indecision which is everything when playing a competitive sport like professional football. We as fans want to see more running plays, passing plays and scoring. This practice of throwing excessive flags certainly goes against any of the things we like.
Of course the argument is that the penalties are to protect players. Really? Are we seeing any less injuries? Less players on injured reserve? Less quarterbacks injured? I think anyone who has watched football this season so far knows that these penalties have not protected players any better.
So what are the possible reasons that the league has allowed this increase in penalties? Run more commercials because of the increase in breaks from the actual game? That means more money for the networks and the league. Allow gamblers to now bet on penalties, penalty spread, penalty over/unders?
Whatever the real reason or reasons for this huge increase for penalties called this season, we as fans may never know. What we do know is that it has taken away from the game instead of enhanced watching it. Let's get back to the all-American football game that we all love to watch!
Let's end the Year of the Flag!