Panthers-Patriots: It’s not about whether it was PI or not
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Panthers-Patriots: It’s not about whether it was PI or not

We're missing the point with the Panthers-Patriots finish Monday Night

The following is a sentiment I’ve seen in a lot of places over the last 18 hours regarding Monday night’s finish in Carolina between the Panthers and the Patriots:

First, Dan is probably right.  Patriots fans would probably complain, but that’s what happens.  Such is the game of football.  Such is any sport, really.

But, that’s the biggest misconception I’m seeing from last night.  It’s not about whether anyone thinks it was pass interference or not (even though I thought it was).  If the ref acts out the hypothetical that Le Batard and others have thrown out there, then fine.

It’s about the way it was handled.  An official threw a flag on a judgment call.  And then didn’t trust his own judgment, got nervous, and punted.  He froze.  The weight of the moment was too heavy for him.  He wanted out.

That’s not how an official is supposed to act.  The official knows not to throw a flag if the ball was “uncatchable.”  The whole play happened right in front of him.  He knows that the ball was catchable.  But, in my opinion, the ref realized right after he threw the flag that the penalty he was about to enforce was too punitive given the moment.

So he asked for the refs to “convene.”  Translation: he asked to get out of the call and he was granted that.  

Game over.

To further my point: Take Le Batard’s hypothetical and flip it.  What if the official originally did not think it was pass interference and did not throw a flag and then, after the refs “convene” they drop the hanky*.

That would be a terrible way to handle this judgment call as well.  That is the way to handle the hypothetical today.

It’s not about the pass interference, it’s about not sticking with your gut.  It’s about not worrying about the moment being too heavy when you’re a ref.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

* what a terrible nickname for a penalty flag.  I vow never to use it again.  I now ask you to do the same.

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