I am officially no longer a football fan.

I haven’t seen a recent game of NFL football that wasn’t decided by penalties. It makes me sick to watch a team get three chances to make a 4th down conversion, and the icing on the cake was a 30 yard combination of penalties immediately proceeding the game-ending drive, with the clock at 0 and the ball on the 2 yard line.

Give me a break. Football is no fun to watch when penalties seem to have such a big effect on the game. So, I’m going home and taking my money with me. Your advertisers can start paying the Discovery channel on Sundays and Monday nights if they want me to buy their stuff.

It’s taken me a long time to realize what the nagging flaw of this sport is. I think we all see it. I hate being disappointed when such a good game comes down to whether some jackass gets frustrated enough to throw an official flag into the stands. Goodbye, NFL. I’m only sorry that it took me so long to realize how much I dislike you.

So it’s the officials’ fault that teams are incapable of playing a clean game, or get pissy when they lose?

What do you propose? That officials simply let a team slide on certain occasions?

  1. Don’t do anything stupid like throwing the refs flag into the stands, and a penalty will not affect the game.

  2. Isn’t the fact that penalties affect the game more than they used to just a sign of greater parity that was lacking for so long? Back in the 80s, a penalty had no real effect on a 49ers vs. Saints game. Now that teams are much more evenly matched and the games are going down to the wire, a stupid mistake like that can tip the scales. Playoff seeds, especially wildcards, are more likely to be decided later in the season. I like the NFL more because of it. I seems to me to be harder to pick games straight up in 2007 that it was in 1987.

There are reasons that the Ravens have lost twice as many games as they have won; some of that was shown at the end of this game. They shot themselves in the foot. The penalties, as far as I can tell, were all legitimate.

Bearflag70, from the conspiracists’ point of view (which I am taking for argument only), isn’t the fact that the refs’ flags all came down in favor of the undefeated team a sign that there is a conspiracy, rather than even competition? If there was parity, as you claim, then the penalties would be divided evenly between both teams. Instead, they were all thrown in favor of the undefeated team, which suggests that there is no fair parity, what there is instead is a privileged team that wins close games via referee favoritism.

Well, it could also be taken as evidence that the undefeated team is, in fact, undefeated because it is a more disciplined team, not given to doing stupid stuff like chucking penalty flags into the stands. Fair officiating does not mean that penalties are called equally - fair officiating means that the team that commits the most penalties is called for the most penalties. The illegal motion on the Patriots final drive was clearly illegal motion, and was actually called against the Pats. The holding call was called on the wrong player, but Bart Scott tackled a Patriot receiver on the play, which was a clear penalty. And Scott’s post-TD tantrum was just stupid, and required no conspiracy to draw a flag.

Put another way, if you reversed the roles of the two teams and the Ravens had scored to take a three point lead with 44 seconds to play, I can iron-clad guarantee that the Patriots wouldn’t have sacrificed field position with two stupid 15-yard penalties. 44 seconds with one time out and a decent kick return is plenty of time to get into position to tie the game. The Ravens were undisciplined, and that’s one of several reasons that they are not undefeated and the Patriots are. No conspiracy required.

That is absurd. Is it inconceivable that one team actually commits more penalties than the other? If parity ever occurs, it is a coincidence, and not indicative of the fairness of the officials.

And incidentally, if watching that game last night makes you enjoy football less, rather than more, than I simply don’t understand you. That was one of the most exciting football games I have ever seen.

The Pats had 4th & 1 late. The Ravens made a stop but the coach called time out before the snap. OOPS! If the refs were going to throw the game, that was the time to do it. Instead, the Pats got called for false start. 4th & 6. Where’s the conspiracy?

Should the refs call an equal number of penalties on each team just to be “fair” or should they ensure each team has the same number of penalty yards in a game? :rolleyes:

What he said.

Good game. Penalties should not decide a game - but the players are the ones accountable for the penalties last night, not the officials.

I would have liked to see the whole last series of plays sans penalties, but the players f-ed that up.

That being said, I never complain about officials, but one year the Dallas Cowboys went an entire NFL season with ONE holding penalty called against the offensive line. Try to comprehend that. :eek:

I ain’t complaining, and I really really try to think, “Hey, the Cowpokes were darn good that year…”, but I also think, “That can’t be right!”

Anybody that hates teams like Notre Dame and the Cowboys has to think they get the better side of most calls…and far too often. Bastards! :slight_smile:

Particular games aside (and yes, the Ravens shot themselves in the foot last night on more than one occasion), I do have a problem with one particular game-changing penalty in the NFL: Pass Interference. The NFL should really adopt the college rule of “15 yards or spot of the foul, automatic first down” here; a 40-50 yard gain is too much of a game changer on what sometimes is a very questionable call (even when receivers are wide open and standing still they sometimes drop the ball; why automatically assume every interference would have been a catch?).

Another option would be to extend the illegal contact penalty (5 yards, automatic 1st down) to cover more of the penalties that now fall under PI. My understanding is it’s illegal contact if the receiver is interfered with more than 5 yards downfield and (1) that receiver isn’t thrown to, or (2) touch occurs before the ball is in the air. Expand it to cover incidental cases of what is currently PI, and I think you’ve got a fairer game.

Several years ago, the NFL broke “roughing the kicker” into two separate penalties because it seemed unfair that the punting team could get a free 15 yards and first down for just the slightest contact with the kicker. Adding the “running into the kicker” penalty–which nets only 5 yards and no automatic first down–seems IMO to have been a great change for the better. Doing the same thing with PI makes similar sense.

Thirded. That was, quite simply, the best football game I can remember in the last two or three seasons. I wasn’t dozing by halftime or wandering off to play on the Dope, no. I was locked onto my seat with an empty beer can rooting for both teams. I don’t know that I’ve ever done that before in my life.

Yes! That was exactly it. I’m a Giants fan, so my rooting interest in the AFC is pretty limited. But going in I was kind of rooting for the Pats, since the idea of a perfect season is interesting. But then, by the fourth quarter, I was rooting for the Ravens, because they were playing so aggressively and with so much fire. But then, after the Rodney Harrison interception, I switched. Then, after the Gaffney TD, I was rooting for overtime, just so the game wouldn’t end.

Great, great game.

I’m not saying that the officials made bad calls. I’m saying that the game of football is flawed on a fundamental level, because unlike other sports (baseball, boxing, racing, etc) penalties have an enormous ACTUAL effect on almost every game.

Theoretically, baseball “penalties” can ruin a game, same as football. But we don’t see this in actual practice. Unsportsmanlike bullshit comparable to throwing an official flag into the stands ends up with one player/coach ejected/fined, and no change to the state of the game. Can you imagine how nonsensical baseball would be if having 4 outfielders when the pitch is thrown gave the other team an extra baserunner? The game would be completely illegitimate, but for some reason we keep flocking back to this stupid game where precisely that nonsense happens a dozens times a game!

I’m not even saying football would work if penalties were less common. The game likely wouldn’t work, which is just another sign of how lopsided the importance of penalties is in football.

Or if the outcome of literally every single play, indeed, every single pitch, was determined by the completely subjective evaluation of a referee. That would be nonsensical and… oh, wait.

Ball and strike calls have a bigger effect on the outcome of any baseball game than penalty calls have on the effect of a football game, and are even more reliant on subjective judgment. Foul calls can completely change the course of a basketball game, which is why Dawyne Wade has a championship ring right now and Dirk Nowitzski does not. Hockey requires a team that is penalized to play shorthanded for a period of time, which has a tremendous actual effect on gameplay.

What you are decrying is a necessary aspect of all sport, not just football. If you want to give up sports altogether because of it, that’s your right, but I really can’t see a way that penalties affect football more than they do any other sport (per the above).

I can see it now…

[The Ref]
“False start. #62 Offense. Player Ejected. Still second down.”
[/The Ref]

Or are you saying that players committing fouls should have to sub out for a number of plays instead of awarding yards?

As a Ravens fan, I found last week’s game (Eagles vs. Pats) to be just as thrilling if not moreso. AJ Feeley is, like Boller, a backup quarterback who is regularly criticized for being inexperienced and/or jittery, but damned if he didn’t lead an almost-perfect offensive formula against the Pats. The Eagles’ defense shut Randy Moss out of the game almost entirely, and came up with sacks (sacks!) against Brady forcing those medium-long passes on 3rd down. It was great to watch two teams play such disciplined, technical, almost mechanical football against each other. When Feeley got greedy (or jumpy, or spooked) in the fourth quarter and threw those two INTs, you could chalk it up to a QB thinking tactically (“They won’t expect us to go deep, and a quick strike now can put away the game”) and ignoring the strategic picture (“If we stretch out this drive with runs and put at least 3 points on the board we can lock down a win with a boring but smart strategy”). When Boller made the same mistake last night I cursed a blue streak at him.

Last night the Ravens obviously took a cue from the Eagles: McAllister and Rolle worked the old Ravens pass-defense mojo (but not as well as Philly), and Boller mixed up his passes and runs (but not quite as well as Feeley). It will be interesting to see how the Ravens do against the Colts – a more versatile offense, IMHO – next week.

Do you not understand my point? I’m not saying that there’s any alternative to the current penalty system in football, and that’s exactly why football sucks. It’s unredeemable. There is no way to keep any recognizable version of the game while reducing/eliminating the effect of penalties. That’s exactly why football is flawed, and why I will never be satisfied with how a game turns out.

So how do you feel about other sports?