As I walked out of MetLife Stadium yesterday there were so many thoughts going through my head following the New York Jets 35-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Another fourth quarter collapse? More foolish penalties? What was Josh McCown doing with that fumble? Will the Jets ever find a punt returner? Will the Jets ever stop giving up punt returns for touchdowns? Can this coaching staff ever make in game adjustments? And lastly…. what in the hell is considered a catch in the National Football League?
I have been watching football for almost 30 years and honestly believed that I understood the basic rules of the game of football. A catch seemed simple.. control the ball, stay in bounds and on to the next play. If there was a doubt, replay would review what seems to be a simple process and away we go. Well, somewhere along the line the NFL has become a very complicated game that is beyond confusing to not only the fans, BUT TO THE REFEREES AS WELL. At this point it seems like you can show the same play to 10 different officials and will get 10 different versions of whether or not it is a catch.
A perfect example was yesterday’s Jets game where many believed that Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Current and former NFL players praised the catch and just about everyone, including FORMER NFL REFEREES, believed it was a catch…. except the replay booth.
As a fan it is becoming increasingly difficult to enjoy and appreciate the game of football when there is a true lack of consistency and common sense when it comes to the rules. Could you imagine trying to explain what is a catch to your son or daughter? The simple act of catching a football has become a ridiculously long “if, then” statement that requires a rule book being issued to every fan.
The instant replay process was supposed to be an asset to the game, but has become a hindrance due to the over-analysis of a very simple rule. As a fan you never know what to expect when a play is reviewed by the booth, and that is not a good thing.
Hopefully the NFL gets a clue and cleans up this officiating mess, because slowly but surely fans are getting fed up. When the games stop becoming enjoyable, it is time to find something else to watch.