Seahawks versus Cowboys: A Thriller due to the incompetent officiating
Although Dallas prevailed against Seattle in a high-scoring game that did not feature a single punt, the contest was once again overshadowed by a parade of yellow penalty flags, which occurred during prime-time in the National Football League.
The National Football League does not have any games that are rigged. There is no current fix.
That being said, games such as the one that took place on Thursday night are the reason why the conspiracy theories never seem to cease.
However, in contrast to other games, the game that took place at AT&T Stadium between the Cowboys and the Seahawks did not have a lopsided distribution of flags. However, the talk on social media was primarily about the irritation over a constant parade of yellow laundry cluttering the field, despite the fact that Dallas won 41–35 in a hugely entertaining back-and-forth contest without a single punt.
Between the two sides, there were a total of 19 penalties that were accepted, which resulted in an incredible 257 penal yards. Additionally, three flags were thankfully picked up by the authorities.
Despite the fact that there was a scoring bonanza, how horrible was the viewing experience? Between the Cowboys and Seahawks, there were a total of sixteen drives that did not end in a three-and-out. The staggering number of eleven of them had at least one penalty that was accepted, which included multiple jaunts that resulted in significant gains for pass interference.
In the event that this was a one-time occurrence, it would be excusable. Quite the opposite has been true.
Officials have repeatedly overshadowed competitive games during prime-time games throughout the 2023 season. This has occurred on multiple occasions.
Jawaan Taylor, the right tackle for the Chiefs, was the topic of discussion both before and after the football game that marked the beginning of the season. This was due to his alignment and his ability to get off the snap. It was four nights later when the Jets defeated the Bills on a game-winning punt return in overtime. The return should have been called back on an evident tripping penalty, which was courtesy of linebacker Chazz Surratt.
After the play was over, Surratt was given a fine.
During the fourth week of the season, the setting was once again at MetLife Stadium. Kansas City was able to avoid a potentially game-changing turnover in the fourth quarter when New York corner Sauce Gardner was controversially penalized for pass interference against Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Two weeks later, the Bills defeated the Giants in a humiliating game by a score of 12–7. This victory was largely due to the fact that slot corner Taron Johnson was not called for an obvious holding in the end zone, which was a terrible decision. It would have been possible for New York to have the ball inside the 1-yard line with one untimed down if a penalty had been called by the appropriate authorities.
During the seventh week of the season, the Eagles defeated the Dolphins on Sunday night. The Dolphins, who were traveling to Philadelphia, were called for ten fouls, while Philadelphia experienced not a single penalty.
However, despite the fact that the games are more difficult to enjoy, there is also the potential element that was discussed earlier that is lurking over all of this.
As a result of the growing liberalization of gambling across the United States (37 of the 50 states currently allow sports betting), there is a greater amount of money riding on the outcomes of these events than there has ever been before. For the officiating and the question of whether or not each game is played in accordance with the rules, there is also increased scrutiny, both rational and otherwise.
Despite the fact that there is not a single plausible thought of game-fixing throughout the history of the National Football League, the league must be extremely sensitive to the concept. Given that the general public has a lack of faith in the product, this is the biggest challenge that a sports league could ever face. Because of this, athletes like Calvin Ridley, a receiver for the Jaguars, and Isaiah Rodgers Sr., a cornerback for the Eagles, amongst others, have been served significant punishments for gambling on National Football League games.
Over the course of Thursday evening, there was not a single individual who benefited from the deluge of penalties. Nevertheless, as was mentioned earlier, this is not always the case. It is an issue, and the National Football League (NFL) should take the following four steps to fix it:
Can we really stop with this catch/no-catch nonsense? When a player has possession of the football and both feet are planted on the ground, it is considered a fumble if the ball is then lost within the confines of the field of play.
In the event that the ball is underthrown, leading the receiver to stop making substantial movement, there is no possibility of a defensive pass interference call being made. Now is the time to put an end to offenses gaining an advantage from poor throws.
It is recommended that the “full body weight” component of the roughing the passer penalties be removed.
Microchips should be placed inside of both ends of the football. It is up to science to find the ball.
Take into consideration how big of an improvement those four adjustments would bring to the game. Only a few flags. There were fewer calls that were contested. The game is made simpler to officiate as a result of these changes, but the yards that are the least expensive in the sport are eliminated.
There comes a time when the National Football League (NFL) needs to take action to address a developing issue. The crowd have been complaining about the officials ever since the beginning of sanctioned athletics. It is invariably going to be present.
However, the league is putting itself in a vulnerable position by being unwilling to hire officials on a full-time basis. This would allow for more continuous training for the officials, which would be beneficial to the league. Part-time employees have been chosen by the National Football League (NFL) to handle the determination of billions of dollars in wagers.
What’s the bottom line? It is the responsibility of the National Football League to ensure that it is not only putting forth the best product but also providing the best possible officiating.
But games like what took place on Thursday night are why the conspiracy theories are never-ending.
Unlike some contests, the tilt between the Seahawks and Cowboys at AT&T Stadium wasn’t one-sided in terms of flags. Dallas won 41–35 in a wildly entertaining back-and-forth affair without a single punt, and yet the discourse on social media was overwhelmingly about the frustration over an unending parade of yellow laundry littering the field.
All told, there were 19 accepted penalties between the teams for an unspeakable 257 yards. There were also three flags mercifully picked up.
How bad was the viewing experience despite the scoring bonanza? The Cowboys and Seahawks combined for 16 drives which weren’t three-and-outs. A whopping 11 of them had at least one accepted penalty, including multiple jaunts with massive pass interference gains.
If this was a one-off problem, it would be excusable. It’s been anything but.
Throughout the 2023 season, prime-time games have time and again seen officials overshadow competitive games.
In the season opener, the conversation both during and after the game was about Chiefs right tackle Jawaan Taylor, both for his alignment and get-off on the snap. Four nights later, the Jets beat the Bills on a game-winning punt return in overtime, which should have been called back on an obvious tripping penalty, courtesy of linebacker Chazz Surratt.
In Week 4, the scene was again at MetLife Stadium as Kansas City dodged a potentially game-changing, fourth-quarter turnover when New York corner Sauce Gardner was controversially called for pass interference against Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Two weeks later, the Bills won a hideous 12–7 affair over the Giants, largely because of an egregious no-call on slot corner Taron Johnson for a clear holding in the end zone. If a penalty had been properly called, New York would have had the ball inside the 1-yard line with one untimed down.
In Week 7, the Eagles beat the Dolphins on Sunday night with visiting Miami being called for 10 fouls, while the whistle wasn’t blown on Philadelphia once.
The examples are constant, and that’s only highlighting prime-time games.
And while the games are tougher to enjoy, there’s also the darker, aforementioned potential element looming over all this.
With the United States rapidly legalizing gambling across the country (37 of 50 states now permit sports betting), more money is riding on these outcomes than ever before. There’s also more scrutiny, both level-headed and otherwise, for the officiating and whether each game is above board.
While there’s zero credible idea to game-fixing throughout the NFL’s history, the league has to be very sensitive to the notion. It’s the worst problem a sports league can have, with the public having distrust in the product. This is why players such as Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley and Eagles corner Isaiah Rodgers Sr.—among others— have been given lengthy suspensions for gambling on NFL games.
On Thursday night, there was no overall beneficiary from the avalanche of penalties. But as outlined above, that’s not always the case. It’s a problem, and here are four suggested steps for the NFL to remedy it:
- Enough with the catch/no-catch nonsense. If a player has possession of the football and has both feet on the ground, it’s a fumble if the ball is then lost in-bounds.
- No defensive pass interference may be called for a ball that is underthrown, causing the receiver to stop meaningful progress. It’s time to stop offenses from benefiting from bad throws.