Officials in every sport are often reviled for bad calls. Sometimes the call is truly bad and costs a team a win. Other times, a call is simply human error. It adds to the unpredictability of the game.
The calls that worry the true sports fan are those that scream favoritism. The calls where one team is getting penalized for an action and the other team is not. The biased official ruins the game for everyone. Incompetent officials can be retrained – though one wonders if they ever are. It’s hard to erase bias.
Take the Michigan vs Notre Dame game from Week 1. During Notre Dame’s first possession, Michigan strong safety Josh Metellus got ejected for targeting. Video replay shows that he was leading with his shoulder, but did bump the Notre Dame player with his helmet. Incidental contact – but, in keeping with the NCAA targeting rule, an ejectable offense. However, later in the same game, Notre Dame safety Jalen Elliott plows into Michigan tight end Sean McKeon. Clear helmet contact – but the officials didn’t even throw a flag. Biased or incompetent? Considering they knew the technical points well enough to enforce targeting on Metellus, all indicators point towards officiating bias.
Other examples of officiating bias include the Purdue vs Eastern Michigan game last weekend. Running back D.J. Knox was hit with a celebration penalty after sliding in the end zone. Normally, that penalty would make sense, but in this case, the field was soaking wet from rain – and all the players were slipping and sliding. This penalty ended up costing Purdue the game.
There were plenty of other games this weekend that showed biased officiating – holding calls on Arizona State but not on Michigan State. Targeting calls on other games that were flat out ignored. Perhaps its time for independent review of officials. Time to get rid of the biased ones and retrain the incompetents. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.