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NFL When Officiating Becomes the Story

NFL 2017 Week 1 Odds and Best betting sites

A bad time for those who wear the stripes. It’s not zebras, but rather the NFL betting game officials. They generally do great work during the game, but now have come under scrutiny at high points of high-stakes playoff contests.

It’s just human nature. Same with the players.

Take the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joseph Ossai, who had a pivotal roughing the quarterback penalty on the Kansas City Chiefs’ final drive. Those 15 yards allowed the Chiefs to boot a game-winning (23-20) field goal, punching their ticket to the Super Bowl.

Ossai, who is 22 years old, even had teammate Germaine Pratt screaming, “Why the f— did you touch the quarterback?” Pratt later apologized to his teammate and his team.

AFC Championship Game

The Cincinnati Bengals and their fans were not particularly happy with referee Ron Torbert and his crew, having stopped the game to adjust the clock. That faux pas gave the Kansas City Chiefs a “do-over” third-and-9 play after the Bengals stopped tight end Travis Kelce four yards short of a first down.

A poor explanation did not help. It ended as a moot point, as the Bengals eventually forced a punt. However, some valuable game time ticked away.

Of course, the Bengals forced a turnover and had an opportunity to take the late lead. That was before the Chiefs eventually won the game, aided by the personal foul. In short, there was sufficient blame to go around.

Kansas City is currently a two-point underdog against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to Super Bowl betting odds.

Heated on Hardwood

When the Los Angeles Lakers visited the Boston Celtics this past Saturday evening, there was plenty of drama. LeBron James, on a late-game drive down the left side of the lane, had three Celtics converge on him. It did appear that Jayson Tatum smacked him on the arm.

A foul should have been called by the refs, who admitted as much after the game. Veteran guard Patrick Beverley even grabbed a photographer’s camera and showed it to the official. The foul would have given James two free throws to essentially win the game.

The no-call led to overtime (Beverley was hit with a technical foul which gave the Celtics a one-point lead to start the five minutes). The Celtics went on to win by a count of 125-121

How bad did it get? The Twitter account of NBA officials said, “Like everyone else, referees make mistakes. We made one at the end of last night’s game and that is gut-wrenching for us. This play will weigh heavily and cause sleepless nights as we strive to be the best referees we can be.”

Boston is the 4-1 (+400) favorite to claim the title, as per odds to win the NBA championship.

It’s Not Easy

Officiating is tough, and the National Football League’s hideous use of replacement refs in 2018 showed how difficult a job it is. There’s also an officiating shortage at amateur levels.

While some can quickly rise to the college ranks, it’s still tough to reach the NFL.

The National Federation of High Schools is asking fans to treat officials fairly, encouraging others to learn how to officiate.

“We are hoping to see results in terms of how officials are treated at events by spectators and in terms of the overall tenor about officials in the media and on social media,” Dana Pappas, NFHS director of officiating services, said in a statement.

“As we continue these conversations, we have to take the approach that this is a marathon and not a sprint. We are in it for the long haul.”

While the discourse over officiating will continue, people who continue to disparage officials are recommended to learn to officiate at the high school level, as there is a shortage that may impact games in the future.