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Lost in the barrage of anger and venom being directed toward the officials who made the bad call that cost the Packers a win on Monday Night Football against Seattle is the fact that Green Bay really didn’t play well enough to deserve to win.

The Packers controlled the second half, but still only scored 12 points in 60 minutes of football. And Aaron Rodgers got sacked something like 27 times. So yeah, anger about the call is justified to a point, but coaches say all the time their teams need to make sure they play well enough so the outcome of the game isn’t close enough to be affected by bad officiating.

Call was bad … really bad: That said, it was a really, really bad call. And what makes it worse is how goofy it looked. Golden Tate first pushed one defensive back to the ground for an obvious offensive pass interference. Then the Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings grabs the ball for an interception only to have Tate wisely attempt to latch on in an attempt to steal a “simultaneous possession” call.

The two officials look DIRECTLY AT ONE ANOTHER … and then make different calls. Terrible, terrible job.

And that is the latest reason why the NFL needs to work at ending this lockout. I tried to defend the replacements. They’ve been thrust into a position they aren’t ready for and up through the first week I thought they acquitted themselves fairly well.

But it’s all gone downhill since then. The officiating has gotten worse. They constantly allow themselves to be berated, abused and harassed by coaches, assistant coaches and players. Their sense of when to call and when not to call pass interference is completely warped. And then you’ve got a situation like Monday night where, for right or for wrong, the officiating plays a major role in the outcome of a game and, potentially, the playoffs.

Yes, the Packers solve last night’s problem by scoring more points earlier in the game. But regardless, it’s time for Roger Goodell and crew to get the lockout solved and get the regular refs back so officiating can go from putrid to merely mediocre.

Call overshadows good signs for Hawks: Another downside of the bad ending Monday night is that it overshadows some promising signs for Seattle fans. The defense got after Aaron Rodgers like nobody has since … they played San Francisco two weeks ago. Eight sacks in the first half is pretty good and again, Green Bay only had 12 points all night. Not bad against a team that was record-setting last year.

Marshawn Lynch also looked good, churning up 98 yards on the ground.

As is spelled out here at Seahawks’ blog 12th Man Rising, there were plenty of questionable calls all night that went against both teams, even in the drive that put the Packers ahead and forced Seattle to go for the touchdown.

Senator tweets Goodell number: Goodell may get some helpful advice on solving the officiating issues from Packers fans, thanks in part to a Wisconsin state senator. Sen. Jon Erpenbach tweeted what appears to be Goodell’s direct number after the game ended. Way to keep it in perspective, senator.

Vegas erupts after call: The last-second Seattle touchderception didn’t just affect Seahawks, Packers, replacement refs and fans. As much as $200 million to $250 million in bets swung on the game’s result, with more gamblers being angry than happy with the result, according to Sportsmemo.com.

LFL fires NFL replacement officials: The Lingerie Football League was so offended by the replacement referees in the NFL that it fired a couple of its crew members who were acting as replacements.

“Due to several on-field incompetent officiating (sic) we chose to part ways with a couple crews which apparently are now officiating in the NFL,” Commissioner Mitchell Mortaza said in a statement, according to Larry Brown Sports. “We have a lot of respect for our officials, but we felt the officiating was not in line with our expectations.”

Gotta give Mortaza some credit for finding a way to get the LFL in the news.

Good coming from real tragedy: At the end of the game last night, Jon Gruden was calling the outcome “tragic.” At that point I cringed. The word gets thrown around too loosely these days and I will never apply it when describing the end result of a football game.

What was tragic this weekend was the motorcycle accident that took the life of the younger brother of Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith. Smith took to Facebook yesterday to thank followers and fans for their support since the accident. He also announced that in lieu of flowers, his management team is starting a scholarship fund in memory of the brother he helped raise.

Anyone wishing to donate can make checks payable to: The Tevin Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund.

And Smith can be reached by mail with donations at:
Baltimore Ravens
c/o Torrey Smith
1 Winning Drive
Owings Mills, MD 21117

Impact of backed up trade deadline: We’ve been remiss in mentioning one of the changes I think could make for an interesting 2012 season. The NFL moved the trade deadline back a couple weeks so that it lands between weeks eight and nine rather than weeks five and six. I don’t expect to see a flurry of trades all of a sudden. NFL schemes are more complex than baseball strategies and, as such, it’s difficult to bring in a bunch of new players at mid-season and hope they really contribute all that much.

That said, there has been talk that the emergence of Julian Edelman in New England could spell the end for Wes Welker there at deadline time. Indianapolis moving from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense also has Dwight Freeney looking like he might be out of position at outside linebacker.

Again, don’t expect a ton of movement, but the extra two weeks will give teams a better chance to see whether or not they can be contenders and will probably add at least a few new names to the trade blotters.

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6 Responses to ZB Notebook 09-25-12

  • The Wynn sports book is doing something terribly wrong if 100% of the bettors had the Packers to win. That’s the whole reason for a point spread… to get the same amount of money on both sides. The house doesn’t bet on a team. Unless Steve did, and then bribed the officials (and also the Packers offensive line).

  • Andy:

    You’re right about the purpose of the spread. It often does not result in the desired 50/50 split though – that’s why the line moves. I’m guessing it wasn’t all people who had bet on the Packers last night, but I’d guess there was a pretty good collection of folks whose bet went from winning to losing in the blink of a bad call.

  • Andy:

    Just heard on the radio that a USA Today reporter who follows gambling said $1 billion changed hands on the play.

  • $1 Billion was going to hands no matter what the call was.

  • Tony:

    If Aaron Rodgers spent more time this offseason working on his game, rather than making terrible Pizza Hut and Insurance ads, maybe they would have won last night…

  • Andy:

    Yes, $1B was going to change hands, but the hands it was going to end up in changed in that instant…

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