Monday, December 8, 2008

No Time For Whining About Officiating

Not too long ago, I used to mock the Vikings and Viking fans who would wail and gnash their teeth over some call that was made during their game against the Packers that "caused them to lose". Oh, certainly, there always seemed to be some questionable calls in some of those games, both ways, but listening to those cries from across the river always bugged me. It didn't come down to one call or one had an entire game to assert yourself and make the big plays that would assure a win, and you didn't. Quit acting like you needed one call from the officials in order to win.

After yesterday's game, I am irritated that there are many media types and fans (and possibly some Packers) pointing a finger at the phantom holding penalty called on Tony Moll late in the game that, in their minds, put us in a position to lose the game.

News flash: the Packers are the defending division champs, and just a play away from the Super Bowl last season. The Houston Texans are, well, the Houston Texans. Eternal expansion ne'er-do-wells who can just never seem to get out of the bottom half of their own division. They came to our own field with a 5-7 record and a quarterback who was on a month's hiatus.

The Packers lost that game. I'm glad to see that most of the coaches and players are seeing it as such, and not getting worked up about one call, no matter how critical it was at the time. Both coach Mike McCarthy and OL coach James Campen have come out and stated it was a bad call, though.

“He did exactly what he was taught to do,” McCarthy said.

Added Campen: “I think he blocked it well, yes.”

But, that call didn't lose the game for the Packers. We needed to do better than one-out-of-ten in third down conversions. We needed to not allow Steve Slaton 160 all-purpose yards. We need to make a fourth quarter stop.

If you watched that game closely, the refs were making some pretty ticky tack calls all game, with commentator Steve Tasker insisting they will "call that every time". Truth is, another set of refs may not have called that hold on Moll or the other calls, both ways. However, they were pretty consistent the entire game.

At home, in the cold, in front of a very supportive crowd, and against a team that by every measure the Green Bay Packers should consider a team they should beat, they played well enough to simply not win.

It was far deeper than one holding call, no matter the timing or the situation. This team has relied on big plays all season to pull them out of holes. You can't keep waiting until the fourth quarter for a big play to put the other team away, especially when your defense appears willing to allow them the big play first.

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