Penalty Shouts: When penalties go extinct

Credit: Anna Boyle/Visual Editor Credit: Anna Boyle/Visual Editor

This is Penalty Shouts, The Tartan’s sports column inspired by the The New Yorker’s column Daily Shouts. This satire-fueled column will focus on anything and everything funny in the sports world that is deserving of our comedic attention.

To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind of New Orleans Saints’ fans to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous non-calls or to take arms against a sea of referees and by opposing do nothing.

It’s a rough week to be a Saints fan, and frankly, a rough life to be a Saints fan. The NFC Championship against the Los Angeles Rams last week exemplified that. After the should have been pass interference call in the red zone, the Saints settled for a field goal, which allowed the Rams to get back downfield to tie the game and send it to overtime. If the Saints converted on third down, they would keep the ball inside the 10-yard line. They’d run down the clock. They’d hit a last-second field goal, or score a touchdown, to put the game out of reach, sending them to the Super Bowl. Instead, the Rams won in overtime.

After the game, the league called Saints head coach Gary Payton to say, “yeah, the officiating crew actually missed two penalties on that play.” Sometimes, fact is a lot funnier than fiction. The ineptitude of the officiating crew aside, the NFL keeps shooting itself in the foot, and some fans are starting to catch onto the officials’ gambling habits. Brad Puskar, resident of Pittsburgh and professional home football commentator says, “The NFL is the most rigged sport there is.” I asked him about basketball, and he told me that he doesn’t believe basketball is actually a sport. Maybe someday the NFL will realize that it is losing its most important fan, Puskar, to the league’s inability to control the vices of the least important people on the field: the referees.

Hopefully, the NFL learns a lesson from this and allows every single play to be reviewed, actually forcing every single play to be reviewed. It only makes sense. There will never be a mistake from a referee again, and the people, like Brad Puskar, will be able to tell the referees the exact right call on Twitter. Our favorite game will be even more interactive and responsive to the desires of the people, and someday, we won’t even need to have referees on the field. We’ll be able to vote on our smart devices for the right call. It will be a true democracy.

Hopefully, the referees don’t ‘blow’ a call against the Patriots, or there will be a riot of Bostonians, a truly terrifying bunch, against the league offices. Their accents will scare anybody, Roger Goodell included.