Is It Time for the NFL to Fine Itself?

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 12:  An official picks up a penalty flag during a game between the St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field December 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle won 33-13. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)
Jay Drowns/Getty Images
Michael SuddsCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2011

We’ve all seen it, haven’t we? You know, that moment during every NFL game when we scratch our heads and go, “Penalty? What penalty?”

I had two such moments during the Monday Night Football game in San Francisco when two chop block personal fouls were called that were bogus, to say the least.

It occurred to me—as I watched helplessly while my fantasy-football playoff run was brought to an end by only one measly point—that the NFL expects players to be held accountable for their on-field transgressions, but steadfastly refuses to hold itself accountable for their game official’s equally egregious transgressions perpetrated upon players.

Every week, the NFL sends out a pile of FedEx letters informing the guilty parties of the fines levied upon them for personal fouls of every nature, other than crimes against animals and excessive Tebowing.

Once in a while, the league office will issue a “My bad…” statement, in which they reluctantly admit to an official’s gaffe and promise a quick and decisive review of the officiating, along with the equally tepid promise that further education will be considered in order to correct the problem.

Now, we seldom—if ever—hear of the NFL's taking punitive action against game officials who blow obvious “no-calls.” Obviously, the NFL feels that it is above real accountability in this respect.

What tripe!

Wouldn’t it be novel if the NFL not only “fessed up” to their wrongdoing, but added money to the aggrieved individual’s paycheck? A fine, of sorts, that would stand as tangible evidence of the mea culpa, and mitigate—to some small extent—the negative effect that the wrongful penalty had on the player, his team and his fans.

Yes, it’s high time for the NFL to fine itself when the alleged miscreant is found innocent of the infraction for which he was penalized.

This would give the term “upon further review” a whole greater meaning.

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