The Saints-Titans game was ugly. I know someone in Lafayette whose father is an NFL official, and she posted a plea tonight on Facebook to stop the criticism because they're doing what they have to do, not necessarily what's popular. And I understand that.
But that was still some of the worst officiating I've ever seen. At first I was saying that as a Saints fan, but I still felt it when the zoo crew began piling on the Titans as well. Both teams did indeed play sloppy, but as my dad says, "You could call holding on every play." The frequency of the flags smacked of corporate directive, as if someone said the officials prior to the game, "we have to crack down on all this subordination and make an example of them."
Did Darren Sproles officially have any yards during the game? It's hard to tell, because literally every major gain he had came back. Timing is everything. Cough.
Jimmy Graham's end zone catch, which was ruled incomplete because of literally a single blade of grass, makes me wonder if the technology has surpassed the spirit of the game. I understand that a catch is supposed to be inbounds, and rules is rules, but something seemed wrong about that. Had a Titans receiver made a catch like that with the same call, I would have gasped at what a bullet the Saints dodged. And I would understand fully why Titans fans would be bitter over that.
So of course I was pissed when Jake Locker leapt over the pylon in the next series and got a score that took about two seconds to review. Reggie Bush made a similar dive two years ago against the Dolphins, as have others, so I'm not saying that it wasn't a score. But it does seem strange that a player can be halfway out of bounds in midair and score, and yet one blade of grass when your entire body is inbounds nullifies the catch.
Also, the Tuck Rule is the Suck Rule.
Ironically, the refs let plenty of blatant infractions by both teams go throughout the game. All in all, I thought it was a poor performance by Mike Carey and his crew, who are usually the best in the game. Maybe they were more on the ball than usual against two sloppy teams. On the other hand, it still seems wrong somehow.
I'm just glad the Saints pulled it out. Though now some Titans are apparently accusing New Orleans of using whistles on the sideline late in the game. I don't see how a whistle would logistically help the Saints on the field, or not get noticed by the real officials. I hope it isn't true. But given the sheer weirdness of the game, would anyone be surprised about it?