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FOOTBALL FREAK: NFL officiating a concern

The NFL is the biggest revenue and marketing machine in professional sports, and makes billions of dollars every season.

John Turner

However, it’s about time they start putting some of this money into the on-field product – especially the officiating – after a couple of brutal calls in the Falcons-Seahawks’ and Ravens-Giants’ games. 

Teams only play 16 games, and if the officials steal a win from a team it can be the difference between making the playoffs or not. Two particular plays were missed on long passing plays – one was a non-pass interference call (Richard Sherman grabs Julio Jones arm) while in the Giants’ game Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was called for pass interference trying for an interception. 

Atlanta possibly lost because of this, and the Giants were lucky that Eli and Odell saved the day, or the officials would have cost them the game.


Fix errors?

How can the NFL clean up these pass interference errors? 

Perhaps, making officials full-time employees will help. Also, make it only a 15-yard penalty like college so it’s not such a game-changing play, or allow each team one challenge per game for these calls or missed calls on these pass interference penalties. 

Let the players decide the games – not the zebras!


Stat of the week

The Baltimore Ravens play back-to-back road games, and both will be in the same stadium. The Ravens played the Giants last week, and face the Jets on Sunday.


Bonehead play of the week

It’s not acceptable that players don’t know the down and distance at critical times. The Giants were trailing the Ravens with under two minutes to play, and on third down tight end Larry Donnell runs out of bounds when he could have easily made the first down.

Instead it set up a fourth down, and could have cost them the game. Luckily, Eli and Odell bailed him out.


Sure thing

Atlanta played very well on the road against the Seahawks’ tough D, and now host the Chargers, who battle in every game. The Falcons are tough at home, and Matt Ryan is playing very well. Take the Falcons.

The Bears, who aren’t a very good football team, play at Lambeau on Thursday. What are the chances Aaron Rodgers plays three bad home games in a row? Think he is due for a good one. Take the Cheeseheads.

Do you know what? The Browns are competitive and play hard. However, it’s tough for Cleveland playing a divisional game on the road with not a lot of talent. It’s a must game for Cincy, so take the Bengals in the jungle.


Don’t mortgage the house picks

The Rams have to travel eight time zones away to play their home game in London against the Giants. Thanks NFL! The Rams’ players body clocks will feel like 6:30 a.m., Los Angeles time, at kickoff. With the Rams being half asleep, the Giants will capitalize early. The Gmen beat the Rams.

Minnesota’s defence, which is best in the league, is coming off a bye. They have two weeks to game plan for rookie Philly quarterback Carson Wentz, and it’s a revenge game for the former Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. Need any more reasons to take Minnesota on the road?

The Bills are one of the hottest teams in football, and now get to play in the heat of Florida. The Dolphins beat a Steelers’ team that was banged up last week. I can’t see Dolphins winning two in a row. Take Buffalo.


Upset special

Houston had a dramatic comeback against the Colts, and now Brock Osweiler takes his Texans against his former team, the Broncos. 

Denver GM John Elway made comments to the press about Osweiler after he wouldn’t sign with the Broncos, and when he struggled at times during the season. 

With redemption on his mind, the Texans go into Denver and beat the reeling Broncos.

Last week: 5-for-7.

Season: 29-for-42.


John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to



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