New England doesn't belong in the playoffs this year after screwing Denver
by, 11-25-2013 at 11:11 AM (4218 Views)
The New England Patriots lost my respect after the infamous "tuck rule game" in the playoffs vs. Oakland more than a decade ago. It didn't help that they got off with what amounted to a slap on the wrist five years later for "Spygate" vs. the Jets.
One week ago, the Pats lost to Carolina when the referees decided to pick up a penalty flag on the last play, when they had a case to call defensive holding or pass interference on the Panthers. Had the game been played in Foxborough instead of Charlotte, you can bet the Pats would've gotten the benefit of the call, and won the game. Going into the game vs. Denver six nights later, you knew the zebras would go out of their way to "make good" to the Patriots.
I hate it when I'm right in this case.
Denver was up 24-0 at halftime. However, they lost defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the last play of the first half. You can say the game turned in New England's favor because of the injury, but no, that isn't the case. The zebras held their whistles & flags in the second half to let New England take control of the game. Two major instances were pointed out by NBC's Cris Collinsworth:
1. Rob Gronkowski should've been called for pass interference, nullifying his touchdown catch. The correct call would be to assess 15 yards against New England.
2. Aquib Talib should've been called for defensive holding a few plays later, and so instead of Denver being forced to punt, New England would've been charged with another 10 yard penalty, giving the Broncos a first down.
This kind of officiating double standard, especially when it comes to teams with reps like New England's, needs to be stopped right now. I don't care if Pats owner Bob Kraft is on a league committee or two. That political favoritism goes out the window in favor of calling the game correctly. Collinsworth & Al Michaels suggested that maybe the refs were "letting them play", playground style. Uh-uh. That's not acceptable.
New England loses maybe one game a year at home on average, and when they ran the table during the '07 regular season, it was clear that they were getting help on the road, too, because the league office saw money in the prospect of the first unbeaten team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. They wanted to protect and preserve that investment as much as possible. It only made my dislike for the Pats that much greater.
This is what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell must do:
1. After reviewing the tape of the Broncos-Patriots game--and you can imagine he got complaints from Denver fans about the 2nd half--he has to redact the result. Yes, that's right. Take the result off the board, and do 1 of 2 things:
A. The teams replay the 2nd half at the earliest possible convienence.
B. New England forfeits the game due to unduly influencing the officials. This could lead to further sanctions, such as earlier games being redacted. Robert Kraft must understand that he cannot use his position within the league as an unfair advantage ever again.
2. Threaten the Patriots with suspension from the post-season and forfeiture of draft picks in 2014-15. They need to be held accountable for this travesty.
The media can spin and say that this was a great game. No, it wasn't. I was so disgusted that I turned it off in the 4th quarter. It was business as usual in Foxborough, and that must change.