Cory's Corner: Perfection Doesn't Exist

Let’s get something straight: there’s no such thing as perfection. 

No matter how times a play is rewound on replay, there are things that will be missed. I understand that the Saints were rightfully upset after a non-call pass interference prevented them from going to the Super Bowl. 

“The reason that we made the proposals for DPI and OPI (defensive pass interference and offensive pass interference) was that we had data that said that these are the most impactful plays,” said Falcons CEO Rich McKay who is also the NFL Competition Committee Chairman. “And that’s what replay was designed for.”

I get all of that. However, being able to challenge a penalty that was never thrown is a big deal. It’s taking the game out of the refs hands and trusting in the angle of the camera. 

The NFL has become a passing league with 15 quarterbacks attempting at least 500 passes last year and four attempted at least 600. Aaron Rodgers attempted 597. Pass interference has gotten blurred in recent years because you could call pass interference on just about every play — just like you could call holding on nearly every play. 

But I don’t want to see yellow laundry on the field and I don’t want replay debating if laundry should be on the field. The NFL has way too many stoppages right now. Games go to commercial break after a touchdown, then they go to break after the extra point and then sometimes another commercial is played after the ensuing kickoff. 

I’m not saying that what happened to the Saints wasn’t egregious, because it was. I just don’t want to sit and wait for the game to be properly scrubbed and cleaned. 

“For us to think that we can look at a replay at super, super super slo-mo of pass interference and determine whether it is or it isn't, I think is unrealistic,” said Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. “I tried to do it in a booth for nine years. Me and Gerry Austin, who reffed in three Super Bowls. We couldn't tell if it was or wasn't. We disagreed. And I just think it's very, very difficult for any of us to see if it's that speed.”

Gruden makes a great point. How many plays do you watch at home that look too close to call? And now coaches, led by Saints head coach Sean Payton, want penalties called on flags that were never thrown?

This screams of an emotional decision. Obviously Payton is upset and probably claimed that he doesn’t want what happened to his team to happen to another team. That’s fair, but calls gets missed every game. 

And how many receivers are now going to be screaming at coaches to review a play for pass interference because the pass fell incomplete? It’s going to be dozens in the very first week. The rule that the head coaches were able to get passed will also drive them nuts. 

I don’t like watching games that are overofficiated. An abundance of penalties disrupts the flow and frankly makes it hard to watch. Now, for the first time ever, coaches will be able to challenge a penalty that was never called. 

Football is played with an oblong ball by oversized men. Half the magic of football is watching things play out — whether it’s a weird bounce, amazing catch or jaw-dropping hit. You can’t douse football with antiseptic and expect everything to be OK.

Because nothing will ever be perfect. 

-------------------

Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

3 points

Comments (37)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Jonathan Spader's picture

March 30, 2019 at 07:26 am

What is or isn't a catch?

How frustrating was it in 2018 watch Clay get flagged for roughing the passer?

The NFL needs to clean up its rules and stay consistent not murky the waters even more.

5 points
6
1
The TKstinator's picture

March 30, 2019 at 07:08 am

Nothing is, but what is not.

3 points
3
0
MarkinMadison's picture

March 30, 2019 at 08:18 am

There is a saying in the legal world: strange facts make bad law. This isn't a baseball strike zone that can simply be measured by a computer. Unless you want touch-free football in the secondary, this is just not a good idea. The NFL needs to have a committee of recent players and coaches and even some MDs sit down and talk about what makes a good game. What makes for good player safety. Set a vision. Talk about how you move to that point. Stop the one-off rule changes (eg the Farve rule). Get smart.

4 points
4
0
croatpackfan's picture

March 30, 2019 at 08:21 am

You have valid points Cory. I agree with you that over officiated games will be somewhat boring and we will lose lot of excitement of game played at full speed.

But, when you have poorly officiated games which helps clearly one side in the game, we have to ask ourselves do we want to watch that kind of games. The problems is enlarged when you play play-off games where winner are decided in that game, and only in that game.

I do not want to put here any doubts in referees' or NFL's honesty. I'm just saying that we need to find solution to avoid unnecessary pauses during the game as well as to avoid unfair outcome because of the blatant mistakes from officiating.

I believe this may be more constructive approach to this problem than just deciding for or against new rule change.

This looks like "Gordian Knot" to me. And of course that I have no solution regarding problem

5 points
5
0
wildbill's picture

March 30, 2019 at 08:21 am

Life is not fair, get over it. Mistakes are made by all people involved, players/coaches/refs, and that’s the human element which should never leave the game. The more I have seen of Payton, over the years, the happier I am we picked McCarthy over him

-3 points
0
3
4thand1's picture

March 30, 2019 at 08:30 am

look at the picture, how close is the side judge to the play? 4 maybe 5 yards? What the hell did he see that didn't warrant a flag? He's looking right at the players, no excuse other than he is blind as a bat. Maybe the Saints are still being penalized for bounty gate.

5 points
5
0
Since'61's picture

March 30, 2019 at 10:13 am

4th - it looks like he is only 3 yards away! Ridiculous, should never happen.
Thanks, Since '61

0 points
1
1
Since'61's picture

March 30, 2019 at 08:43 am

Cory - I agree that nothing will be perfect. We should keep in mind that the league is trying this for one season. It may not become permanent.

I think the league would be better off to add an "eye in the sky" official who is part of the officiating team and who can call down to the referee and have an egregious call or non-call reversed. The eye in the sky official and the referee can review the replay together and make a final call. This process would leave the call in the hands of the officials.

The goal is to get the egregious game deciding calls correct. It will never be perfect but it would be better.
The technology exists to have the eye in the sky but my guess is that the league does not want to pay for another 16 officials. Penny wise, pound foolish as usual for the league.

It will never be perfect but if they try they might at least achieve excellence. Thanks, Since '61

2 points
3
1
RunToWin's picture

March 30, 2019 at 09:50 am

Completely agree here. Coaches challenges in these cases would be the wrong approach. That non call was so egregious- a miss like that when it costs a deserving team a win with no chance to recover is not acceptable. Perhaps limit it to last x minutes of a game. Get it right at least at the critical times.

2 points
3
1
Since'61's picture

March 30, 2019 at 10:11 am

RuntoWin - Exactly. I would limit it to the last 4-5 minutes of each half.
The league needs to understand that unless and until they get this correct there will suspicions of corrupt officiating especially as legalized sports betting brings more fans and money into the games.

The entire playoff tournament becomes suspect. How do you legitimize the Pats as the league champion when they should have played the Saints in the Super Bowl? I won't even go into the number of calls which go the Pats way season after season.

The games need to be fair, otherwise there is no value in the outcomes and no sense in watching. Thanks, Since '61

1 points
2
1
jeremyjjbrown's picture

March 30, 2019 at 08:47 am

" It’s taking the game out of the refs hands and trusting in the angle of the camera."

That's just nonsense.

We spend over 3 hours watching a 60 minute football game. To say the NFL and the Officials don't have enough time to get calls right, or at least reasonably correct is just narrow minded and stubborn.

If there is a call that needs to be reviewed they can immediately go to a slot form thier TWO hours of commercials and have the refs use whatever reasonable tech is available to get the call correct, or close to correct.

The NFL officiating system is idoitic and needs a complete overhaul. Not some stupid incremental change where the coach throws a flag for another reason.

-1 points
3
4
Leatherhead's picture

March 30, 2019 at 09:02 am

If you chase perfection, you will catch excellence. Bonus points if you know the origin of that quote.

Officials will always make mistakes. Coaches will always make mistakes. Players will always make mistakes.

1 points
1
0
4thand1's picture

March 30, 2019 at 02:12 pm

maybe Vegas will always call the shots.

1 points
1
0
The TKstinator's picture

March 30, 2019 at 12:25 pm

Saint Vincent!!!

1 points
1
0
Since'61's picture

March 30, 2019 at 12:29 pm

Origin of the quote is Vince Lombardi. Don’t need bonus points but a slice of blueberry pie will do very nicely. Thanks, Since ‘61

1 points
2
1
Swisch's picture

March 30, 2019 at 09:17 am

Why do plays in the last two minutes count for more than plays in the first 58 minutes?
Why do coaches have to decide whether to review a play so quickly that it's hard to make a good decision?
Why do teams lose a precious timeout if they are wrong about a review, even if the replay is inconclusive (meaning that the call on the field stands just by default)?
Why, if a team runs out of reviews, it can't challenge a play even if it's obvious that it was a terrible call?
Why, if reviewing a play, isn't there a review of all the other possible penalties that happened on the field during that play?
Not only is perfection elusive and even non-existent, but a misguided pursuit of perfection actually results in more imperfection.
I'm getting to the point where I want there to be no reviews during a game -- which seemed to work well in the past, and much better than today.
As I recall, on the same day as the controversy in the Rams-Saints game, the other championship game between the Patriots and Chiefs was marred by the disruption of too many stoppages for reviews.
We're diminishing the game of football, if not making it miserable -- and largely ruining it -- by the ways in which we're trying to make it perfect.

2 points
3
1
Demon's picture

March 30, 2019 at 09:22 am

What is frustrating about the NFL is it takes a major catastrophe for anything to change. ie the fail mary play got the league to bring in the regular refs. The Saints in the playoffs, the CM3 roughing the passer. It takes a team getting royally screwed to get change.

5 points
5
0
PAPackerbacker's picture

March 30, 2019 at 09:23 am

When it's an obvious infraction of the rules then a play should be able to be overturned and reversed. Players should determine the outcome of a game by following the rules, not by an official missing an obvious penalty.

4 points
4
0
TheBigCheeze's picture

March 30, 2019 at 09:38 am

"I get all of that. However, being able to challenge a penalty that was never thrown is a big deal. It’s taking the game out of the refs hands and trusting in the angle of the camera"-------WHICH IS E X A C T L Y WHAT WE WANT!!!!.......AN ACCURATE PLAY CALL....they need to do as much as they can, to take the human element OUT of the game.....that way.....the better team wins....and not the one that didn't get screwed by the refs.......

4 points
6
2
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 30, 2019 at 02:15 pm

Well said. I am a little worried that holding occurs on every play. I'd definitely want to hold on to the ability to call for a review of a non-call for as long as possible.

2 points
2
0
Matt Dicob's picture

March 30, 2019 at 09:57 am

We are in the day and age of technology that is faster and more accurate than the human element when it comes to referees at the professional level. I believe ALL questionable plays should be reviewable. No call should EVER only be up to the determination of the human eye in real time.
That's why I say, let the ref in the booth use replay for any questionable call or no-call that is made (or not made) to get it right. If it causes a game to go from 3 hours to 3 and 1/2, I personally don't have an issue with it.
That no-call in the Saints-Rams game left a bad taste in my mouth to where I felt I was cheated, and it wasn't even a team I care for. I love the game of football, and it's history. But, just like everything else in this world, it's evolving. Things change, and I believe this is a step in the right direction to get bad calls corrected.

2 points
2
0
Ferrari Driver's picture

March 30, 2019 at 10:26 am

I think William Shakespeare was thinking of NFL referees when he wrote the words "to be or not to be".

0 points
0
0
Handsback's picture

March 30, 2019 at 10:30 am

To me the last few minutes of the game and the team with the ball is going to pass, if they are behind, to score. The most devastating play is for a defensive PI call for a ticky tacky touch on the DB. Penalty at the point of the foul and game over.
I hate that and I think it will get worst with the new rules.

3 points
3
0
Archie's picture

March 30, 2019 at 10:52 am

We all get that that there is no such thing as perfection in football reffing but to catch/correct the most flagrant violations seems doable to me. Evidence has to be unrefutable to reverse a call or a non-call. However, since there could be multiple non-calls on the same play, what do they do then? So I say gives coach a fixed number of red flags to control how much the game is slowed down.

btw - IMO, best part of the new league is the shorter time clock between plays.

0 points
0
0
JohnnyLogan's picture

March 30, 2019 at 10:55 am

The eye-in-the-sky ref should be able to reverse a call or make a noncall without coaches having to request. It's just an added ref with better eyesight and angle. Shouldn't take much time either. If there's a questionable call everyone will jump around flailing their arms, but if eye-in-the-sky hasn't made the call in 15 seconds, move on.

2 points
2
0
4thand10's picture

March 30, 2019 at 11:18 am

I keep thinking about that no call face mask on Rodgers in that Arizona game. Obvious face mask...everyone who is not blind had seen it.

2 points
2
0
RWood832's picture

March 30, 2019 at 01:05 pm

It is nice to know that I am not the only person that relives that play and believes it one of the worst non-calls in Packers' post-season history. The only other one that I cannot let go is 4th and 26 in Philly, but that was the Packers' screw-up, not the officials. A fan since 1963.

0 points
0
0
ILPackerBacker's picture

March 30, 2019 at 12:13 pm

strange to hear time outs are precious while we are still this close to the MM era

0 points
0
0
gmeyers1's picture

March 30, 2019 at 01:07 pm

The games aren't too full of replay stoppages. They are too full of commercials. Remember when you had to hurry out to the refrigerator while the offense was in the huddle.
The nfl solution is to run the clock more. Lord knows, we can't have fewer commercials.

1 points
1
0
Jonathan Spader's picture

March 30, 2019 at 02:31 pm

How else would I know what truck or beer to buy? ~~~~~~~~~~~~

2 points
2
0
RWood832's picture

March 30, 2019 at 01:08 pm

My biggest question is what is going to happen on Hail Mary plays at the end of half/game? I was at the Fail Mary game in Seattle and will never forget watching the pushing and outright shoving that occurred in the scrum. Conventional wisdom says that the officials never call penalties on those plays. Will that change under this new rule? To whose benefit?

0 points
0
0
Lare's picture

March 30, 2019 at 02:53 pm

I’m in favor of increased review of officiating, and I think there must be some way of having an eye in the sky official reviewing missed calls that wouldn’t have to slow the game down.

But frankly, I’m more concerned with non-calls that can lead to serious injuries of players. In every game I see facemask infractions and blatant helmet to helmet hits that aren’t called. Is the NFL more concerned about player safety or are they more concerned with placating disgruntled teams & fans?

0 points
1
1
ricky's picture

March 30, 2019 at 04:20 pm

No such thing as perfection? Obviously you haven't met my wife. A ideal of femininity and a shining example of the highest level of humanity.

1 points
1
0
Lare's picture

March 30, 2019 at 04:45 pm

Mine too, at least that’s what she tells me several times each day.

0 points
0
0
Johnblood27's picture

March 30, 2019 at 05:31 pm

You take a lot for granted stating that I haven't met your wife...

1 points
1
0
4zone's picture

March 31, 2019 at 07:59 am

'An' ideal, not 'A' ideal. . .

0 points
0
0
4zone's picture

March 31, 2019 at 08:06 am

The NFL is one of this era's gladiator games. It is violent and fans feed off it. Players pay a high price for our entertainment and a few million/billionaire's profit. It ceased being a sport long ago and has become a product to be sold at any expense. The rules come from perceived public perception and how they will effect the bottom line. Twenty years from now, will the game be recognizable at all, or will the NFL pile drive itself into the ground and just be the dust of a distant memory?

0 points
0
0