Hey Refs, Lets The Players Play
This is a glorious sports week in the Philadelphia area, particularly when it comes to the Philadelphia Eagles. An 11-1 record. An offense that appears to be able to gather a tremendous amount of yardage, and points, in any style they so choose. A defense that was presented a physical challenge this weekend by the running game of the Tennessee Titans and back Derrick Henry, and answered that challenge as easily and thoroughly as Nick Sirianni answers questions at a press conference.
And speaking of the coaching staff, theirs was a performance as dominating as anyone who donned a uniform Sunday, from Sirianni to Shane Steichen to Jonathon Gannon and even special teams coordinator Michael Clay.
Not a single gripe today, right? Well, not so fast.
As dominating and fun as Sunday’s win was, it was almost ruined. It was almost attempted to be taken away, and not by the players so much in the home uniforms.
Sunday’s performance by the officiating crew rivaled that of the offensive performance by the Titans. Yes, the Eagles offensive line was sloppy, more jittery before the snap of the football than a child in church during a long sermon. And many of those penalties were correctly called. But there’s doing your job and then overly trying to do your job.
It became very obvious after the early miscues, by both teams, that referee Shawn Smith’s crew saw an opportunity to make themselves a more important part of the game. The problem I have, and this is only me speaking, is how these officials don’t see the need to back off from overtaking a game. Again, sloppy play deserved penalties in the first half. But then making calls that were phantom calls, to say the least, isn’t good for the game. A Jason Kelce hold, a supposed bad hit on Jalen Hurts on a scramble, other holds, don’t allow the players to be their best because it puts doubt in their minds how they are supposed to play.
Is it a coincidence that there were only six penalties in the second half as opposed to 13 in the first? I don’t think so. At least they realized their poor showing at the half and let the game play out more in the second. Shame they didn’t go into the game with that thought process.