The only consistent, through 4 games, for the Minnesota Vikings has been poor officiating. Each week has seen its fair share of missed calls and mistakes but week fours loss to the Browns takes the cake.
A terrible holding call on fourth down in the end zone against Eric Kendricks gave the Browns their one and only touchdown of the game. Then to make things worse, on the games final play, the refs decided not to call the exact same penalty as Adam Thielen was clearly held in the end zone. It was so obvious even the mild mannered, rarely critical Tony Dungy noticed and called out the league’s officials.
Mike Florio at PFT also noticed stating:
Last week, officials missed a blatant instance of pass interference (actually, two of them) in the win by the Chargers over the Chiefs. This week, it happened again. Browns defensive back Greedy Williams mugged Vikings receiver Adam Thielen in the end zone, keeping him from making a player on the ball.
The NFL has taken a zero transparency approach to officiating controversies, with no one from the league office ever being made available to publicly explain the reasons for close calls and, when necessary, to admit that mistakes were made. The league benefits from bad calls that happen in the cluster of 1:00 p.m. ET games, minimizing the attention given to any specific blunders. By keeping their heads low and their mouths shut, the NFL also doesn’t draw attention to a situation that otherwise could be ignored, or at least minimized.
It’s not a sustainable approach. Without transparency, people will believe that the fix is in. Without accountability, people will believe the fix is in. Without a mechanism for helping people understand why decisions were made (with something more than perfunctory language that fails to delve into the details of each call and non-call), people will believe the fix is in.
Here’s video of the no call:
Although it’s true that no singular call is the reason you lose a football game, bad calls can absolutely be part of the reason you lose a football game. The Minnesota Vikings should be 3-1 were it not for a horrible fumble call against the Bengals and the numerous mistakes against Cleveland.
With so much money and time invested from so many people it seems insane that the league continues to not come up with a better system to make sure these egregious mistakes don’t continue. As Florio pointed out it’s not just the Vikings. Every single week in the NFL there are multiple calls that alter the outcome of games. When even the calm and amenable Tony Dungy is calling out NFL officiating and criticizing big-time mistakes it’s time to start paying attention.