Monday, September 22, 2008

The Objective Is To Be Objective

There has been a lot of attention given lately to NFL officiating. Last week, we had the now infamous Ed Hochuli blown incomplete pass call in the San Diego/Denver game. This past Sunday, there were a few questionable calls in the Indianapolis/Jacksonville game.

The call getting the most attention was made late in the game. Facing 4th and 1 with :28 seconds left, Jacksonville QB David Garrard threw a short pass that went incomplete. However, Colts LB Freddy Keiaho was called for pass interference. You can see the call at the 1:57 mark of the video below:

In breaking down the call, Keiaho makes contact with Williams after the ball was thrown (and more than five yards from the line of scrimmage, but that's actually a moot point). Williams was making a play on the ball; Keiaho was not. That, by all definitions, is pass interference. Period. If Keiaho was somehow making a play on the ball when contact had happened, it would not have been interference. But he wasn’t, and it was.

Almost all members of the Indianapolis media have been crying bloody murder over the call. Bobby Kravitz calls it a "garbage call," Anthony Calhoun and the knuckle-dragger doing analysis on Sunday night's WISH-TV Sportslocker implied the officials made the call despite knowing it was wrong, and WRTV-6's Dave Furst and Kip Lewis both questioned what the officials were looking at. And none of them used any kind of reasonable analysis to argue why it was a bad call; it was simply a bad call because it went against the Colts.

How can all of the sports media people in Indianapolis think it's a bad call, when other media analysts think it was a good call? It's easy: the Indianapolis sports media allow their rooting for the home team to get in the way of their objectivity. That's unacceptable.

This isn't about rooting for your team. You can root for a team and still be objective in your analysis of your team's play or of the officiating. As a fan, it would be ideal to not let your enthusiasm get in the way of objectivity when it comes to officials' calls, but that's probably too much to ask of the normal fan. And that's okay--we're fans, after all.

But sports anchors and reporters shouldn't be rooting for the home teams to begin with. I understand why they do it (ratings), but it really brings their credibility into question when their biases prevent them from doing any meaningful analysis. This goes beyond the games themselves--what happens when the story becomes more like real news (for example, Ed Johnson's arrest and subsequent release)? How can you take a reporter seriously when he or she can't be objective about a relatively simple call in a football game?

That being said, the biggest issue though is just simple accuracy. A reporter's main goal--whether he or she focuses on news or sports--should be getting the story right. And the Indianapolis sports media have failed in this by allowing their misinformed opinions to get in the way of accuracy.

And to conclude, in my opinion the interception returned for a touchdown by Rashean Mathis earlier in the game was definitely pass interference. Replays clearly showed Mathis grabbing Marvin Harrison's jersey, which helped in making the play. Those in the media who have used the replay as evidence on this bad "no call" are doing exactly what they should be doing. They just need to apply that standard to good calls that don't go the Colts' way.

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Blogger Zinglebert Bembledack said...

I still have not seen the replay on a real TV yet, but the league says the right call was made, so I will defer to Slut on this one. I would be curious though to see what would have been said if no call had been made on the play and Jacksonville was up in arms about it.

The bigger issue should be with why the hell the DBs were playing five yards off the line of scrimmage on a fourth-and-one? If Kieaho had been paying attention, he should have either had an interception or knocked the ball the down. Game over, Colts win!

Our DBs seem to play way too far off the line on short yardage plays on third or fourth down. I know you don't want them to get burned for big yards, but we give up the first down much too often. The crossing play Jacksonville ran was a great play. They only needed one yard. Hell, I would have been open on the play with Michael Coe (#25) on me. He's five yards off the line and starts running backwards immediately after the snap. THEY ONLY NEEDED ONE YARD! Yes, they could have gone for a longer play, but you have to be prepared for that quick strike for one or two yards.

This is why the Colts are 1-2 this year.

September 24, 2008 at 2:51 PM  

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