September 25, 2011

Some Thoughts On The Worst Officiating I Have Ever Seen: Syracuse/Toledo

     Just when I thought I had seen every kind of horrible call in a game, the referees at today's Syracuse/Toledo football matchup proved me wrong.  For those who haven't heard:

     Syracuse had just scored a touchdown to go up 29-27 with 2:07 left in the 4th quarter.  Their kicker then went on to miss the extra point, but the referees ruled that it was good.  The play was then reviewed via instant replay, and despite the fact that even the TV footage showed the ball crossing in front of the goalpost rather than behind it, the officials ruled it a successful extra point.  Toledo was able to kick a game-tying field goal, but ended up losing in overtime, 33-30.

     The first issue that comes up is whether or not the refs cost Toledo the game.  My opinion is that no matter how bad the officials call a game, within reason, a team should be able to overcome it.  For every play in which a referee hurts a team, there are five or ten plays in which that team hurts itself.  Toledo had 1st and goal at Syracuse's 4-yard line in the first quarter.  They failed to score three times and had to kick a field goal.  That's 4 points they cost themselves right there.  Toledo also threw an interception in the end zone and missed a 4th down conversion.  Had they performed better on any one of those plays, Toledo could have won the game.

     The next thing people bring up is whether or not the NCAA should change the official score of the game to a 30-29 Toledo victory.  The Big East head of officiating has issued an apology for the incorrect ruling, so there's no dispute that the game should have gone differently.  While it's easy to get behind the idea of "correcting" the outcome of the game, there's not really a good way to do so.  Just subtracting a point from Syracuse's regulation total is an awful fix, because the play in question happened with two minutes remaining, and that single point completely changed the way those two minutes were played.  A Syracuse defense that can't afford to give up a field goal is going to play a lot differently than a Syracuse defense that can.  They're going to be more aggressive, and maybe they get a key sack by blitzing a couple more guys, maybe they give up a touchdown, maybe they force a turnover.  We'll never know.  If it was the last play of the game that was in question, I could understand a simple changing of the score.  But doing it here is just not right.

     Finally, let me end with a rant.  I feel this is necessary.

     Seriously, how do you blow this call?  This is the simplest thing ever.  Is the ball crossing on the correct side of the goalpost?  Yes or no.  This is not a Calvin Johnson kind of judgement call.  Just watch the broadcast angle.  It got to our homes in 5 seconds!  How did you not get this video, guys?!??!  It was so clear!!!

     Okay, I feel better now.  Thanks.

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