By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens lost a tough game against the Philadelphia Eagles (24-23). The Ravens didn’t play well on Sunday, but they certainly played well enough to win that game. And while many factors went into the loss, one factor stands above all others.
The replacement refs affected the outcome of the Ravens’ game against the Eagles.
It’s an undeniable fact. No doubt about it. The Ravens lost a football game because of poor officiating. The players know it. The coaches know it. The media knows it. And the fans know it. But the saddest part about this entire debacle is that Roger Goodell knows it.
For starters, Cary Williams and Desean Jackson should have both been ejected from the game. The refs sat by and watched the two perform their best rendition of “Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots” on national television. This gave both teams the idea that they could get away with anything on Sunday. And boy did they ever! Dirty shots and questionable penalties would tarnish a matchup between two very good teams.
A surprising amount of people will tell you that the regular officials make mistakes, too. And that point is valid. Players and coaches have complained about officiating for decades. It’s just the way it is. But while their point is valid, it’s also without substance. The officiating may have been bad for years. Does that give the league permission to make it worst?
No one is saying the Ravens are being picked on, either. Every single team in the NFL is feeling the effects of this ongoing battle between the officials’ union and the league. This situation has become nothing short of embarrassing for the NFL. Larry King appeared on ESPN’s The Herd and spoke of the league being “laughed at.” He also described the league as “cheap,” referring to their inability to pay the refs and get them on the field.
Hear that Roger Goodell. The league is being laughed at. The so called “integrity of the game” that Goodell holds so dear has been “compromised,” according to Giants LB Mathias Kiwanuka. However, fans shouldn’t expect this sitcom to end anytime soon. There are still plenty of episodes left.
The truth is the NFL is an addictive drug. No matter how bad it is, no matter what we do, we will continue to use it. The Monday Night Football game between the Broncos and the Falcons was viewed by an estimated 15.5 million people. The league knows that as much as we complain, the players are going to play and the fans are going to watch. The NFL will get paid, regardless of how bad the officials are.
But the circus that took place in Philadelphia can not be ignored. The brawl that took place between Williams and Jackson was just the beginning. The worst is yet to come. There has been little improvement in negotiations between the officials’ union and the NFL. It appears as though the league is willing to wait until someone gets seriously hurt before settling this issue once and for all.
Of course by then it’ll be too late. The NFL shield would be stained and the integrity of the game would be lost.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.