December 17, 2001

If you're not a football fan, or you're bothered by foul language, skip this one.

It's a simple fucking rule: No play can be reviewed after another play has been run. Ever. Under any circumstances. In fact, before the NFL instituted the red flags, a lot of coaches got burned by that rule because the signaller to issue a challenge was broken. But if you're a dumbfuck asshole referee, apparently the rules don't apply to you.

In the fourth quarter, a Cleveland player was given a key reception on a fourth-and-two play. The Browns ran up to the line of scrimmage and downed the ball. Now, if I understand correctly, Tim Couch was guilty of intentional grounding -- he didn't spike the ball right away. So the refs reviewed ... the previous play!

That's completely illegal. A play had run. Any previous play is gospel, even if the original call was wrong. So these bribe-taking ass-fucks review the play, and say the Browns player didn't have posession and that Cleveland lost the ball on downs.

Needless to say, all hell broke loose. Every fan in the stadium started throwing shit onto the field -- bottles, cans, you name it -- trying to hit the Jacksonville players and coaches. And that's where the fans were wrong -- I don't think any of the people on the sidelines were directly responsible for buying off the head referee. But if anyone can conclusively prove to me that he hit that fucker right in the goddamn melon, I'll give him a hundred bucks.

Anyway, the game was forfeited because of the danger to the players. Here's what I think ought to happen:

Fine and/or suspend the referee. He blatantly and wontonly disobeyed one of the simplest rules imaginable. There's no way that he should be allowed to continue without getting bitch-slapped hard by the League.

Finish the game. It'll probably have to be a neutral site with no fans due to what happened, but since a malicious call by the referee led to this game being called, I think the game should be finished as it should be finished -- with Cleveland being assessed an intentional grounding penalty with 48 seconds left.

On second thought, fire that crooked son of a bitch. There's no way he could have simply made a mistake. Somebody had to have been interfering with him and he should be banished for life from the game. And not with one of those cushy "paid leave" deals. He should forfeit the remainder of his salary for gross incompetence, negligence and potential reception of bribery.

If you haven't figured it out, I'm just a little pissed over this.

OK, I think I need to clarify. But I'm not going to edit anything out, just so everyone knows what I'm referring to.

The fans in Cleveland did a Bad Thing by throwing the bottles and cans and such. There's no excuse for that. It's also not just a Cleveland thing -- Eagles and Steelers fans, among others, have embarassed themselves in similar ways. Now, what happened?

Well, the replay official supposedly hit the buzzer to begin a review before the next play started. I find that difficult to believe, because the referee should have made a very obvious effort to stop the play from happening. Instead, he nonchalantly walked into the middle of the field and whistled the pass incomplete. Not exactly what one would expect.

So I still think something's rotten here. I think the referees and replay officials acted improperly and are trying to cover their asses now. But to everyone calling the actions of the fans an embarassment, you're right. And I hereby officialy retract my offer of a hundred samolians to anyone who conked the ref. But I still think there ought to be some discipline on the guy.

December 15, 2001December 18, 2001