If you watched football on Sunday, you'd have thought that the refs were blowing the whistle an extraordinarily high number of times. No matter the game, there were flags all over the field with situations exacerbated by terrible judgment calls. Ticky tacky holding calls, bad pass interference plays, not knowing when a lineman is reacting to a player in the neutral zone, you name it and it was called. And this is ignoring bad spots and determining whether a player is in or out of bounds.
The refs were extremely lucky the Patriots were blowing out the Ravens, or else there could be fair concern about the state of the game. No team was really receiving favor- the Ravens had 9 penalties for 83 yards, while the Patriots had 7 for 58 yards, along with an additional 3 declined penalties- but the game turned into a stilted snorefest due to all the whistles.
Let's ignore the fact that I totally predicted the illegal touching penalty by Marquice Cole. The refs weren't making bad calls, so much as they were just making inconsistent calls. Almost all of their calls could have an argument for being correct, even if it took a gross amount of deliberation to determine which team was at fault, which is all we can ask for.
But if you're going to call offensive holding three times on one set of downs against the Patriots, and have those be the only offensive holding calls all game? That's not consistency. You might want to start calling when Chandler Jones is getting held. Or when Terrell Suggs is held. Because it's happening. But the calls and non-calls are what makes it the most maddening.
The refs lost all of their confidence and didn't know when they could or couldn't blow the whistle. On the kick return at the two minute warning, where Jacoby Jones' foot is out of bounds, the back judge runs parallel with the line, heading towards the spot the foot was out of bounds, whistle in his mouth, yet does nothing. He clearly saw the foot out of bounds, yet didn't blow it dead.
And when Julian Edelman draws a pass interference call, he's contacted at the five yard line, not in the end zone, so the Pats shouldn't have had it on the goal line. Or the fact that Jimmy Smith was turning his head to find the ball and had right of way as Edelman tried to cut through him and shouldn't have been called in the first place. Or that Steve Gregory's contact at the stem of the route was totally allowed because the defensive player has right to the positional uphand and he was playing the ball.
Neither should have been called. Both were and it resulted in some ugly umping. There will always be mistakes, but all I want to see is a confident and consistent team of referees. Is that too much to ask for?