Cleveland Browns vs. Officiating

Reading Time: 6 minutes

There are no shortage of conspiracies when it comes to the NFL and it’s officiating. This year, however, the Cleveland Browns have been seemingly targeted by the zebras. Fans of the Browns could quickly point out several times where poor officiating has changed the fate of their favorite team’s season.

The craziest part of this particular season’s officiating is there has often been consensus on the bad calls. Commentators and opposing fans alike have acknowledged the calls going against the Browns this season. In 2018, if that isn’t a testament to a problem, I don’t know what is.

The NFL’s solution (?) of a weekly letter writing campaign ceases to be a satisfactory conclusion to these bad calls. The majority of them have had a direct impact on the either the outcome of the game or the score board. And some of them are just flat out flabbergasting. Violations of rules, for the most part, are objective. So whats the problem?

Why aren’t the NFL’s officials not making correct calls? Before this season, the Browns have won just 1 out of their last 32 games. Why are they being officiated as if they are some juggernaut that is dominating their opponents so easily that the very fabric of competition is being ripped to shreds by their overpowering hands? Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at just the first 4 games of the season.

Week 1: Browns vs Steelers

The Browns’ AFC North arch-rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Okay, maybe it’s more like a merciless big brother. Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have played the Steelers 40 times (including 1 playoff game). Of those 40 games the Steelers have won all but 6. When opportunities like that which occurred in Week 1 come around, its pretty frustrating when control of the game is taken from you.

For instance this “Roughing the Passer” call on Myles Garrett that the NFL later admitted should not have been called. The following play, the Steelers scored a touchdown. That’s 7 points on the board that never should have happened. The game ended in a tie. Take away those 7 points and count it as one of those elusive wins for the Cleveland Browns.

Week 2: Browns vs Jets

The following was a blatant pass interference call in the end-zone the refs choked away. They claimed the defender was going for the ball. The problem with this claim is that Jets DB Doug Middleton, if he was indeed going for the ball, ran past the ball’s trajectory by about 3 steps and collided with Antonio Callaway.

If Middleton was actually going for the ball, he stops before he runs into Callaway. This penalty, if called as should have been, gives the Browns 3 chances to score from the 1 yard line. At the very least they come away with the easiest field goal in the game. That’s 3 more points on the board and prevents this game from going in to OT., Browns win either way.

Week 3: Browns vs Raiders

No game to this point has been more ludicrously officiated than this Week 3 game against the Oakland Raiders. It was so bad that it almost gave credence to the conspiracy theorists who believe the NFL was doing their golden boy Jon Gruden a solid. I will be fair with the blasting of the officiating in this game. There was a play where Marshawn Lynch was in Beast Mode and it was called dead that should not have been. I was told by someone in attendance that there were several defenders in front of Lynch that would have (presumably) tackled him to prevent a TD. The same cannot be said for this play that was called dead when Derek Carr clearly fumbled the ball, which was then recovered and would have been returned for a TD by the Browns defense. The fact that Carr was considered to have his forward momentum stopped before he fumbled the ball is, at minimum, laughable. Don’t worry Browns fans, the NFL also took responsibility for getting this potential game-winning play wrong too.

IMG 5677

This one, however, the NFL claims was the correct call. Maybe it was. I don’t think it was but I’m not too proud to admit that my bias might be impacting my decision. The issue with this sequence of events is the claim there was “incontrovertible visual evidence” to overturn a spot by 2 or 3 INCHES. That phrase “incontrovertible visual evidence” comes straight from the NFL rule book. Unless you have a tape measure and level, there is no convincing me that “incontrovertible visual evidence” can exist to make a correction of 2 or 3 inches. The call on the field should not have been overturned. During the Ravens/Steelers game on Sunday Night Football that week there was a similar play where, I think the Steelers, were considering challenging a spot on the field. To which Al Michaels commented, “You can challenge [the spot] but how are you going to win one that’s 6 inches?”. The answer to this question is simple: play against the Browns.

Spot

Week 4: Browns vs. Ravens

In back to back weeks of horrid NFL officiating, we relive 2 plays where everyone in the stadium and the millions of fans watching see a penalty but the 7 referees paid to see them don’t. Including TWO, both the line judge and the head linesman, who stand on opposite sides of the field staring down the line of scrimmage!

There was a point in time during this game where the Browns had 10 accepted penalties and the Ravens have ZERO. That’s right. In a sport where the cliche saying is “there’s holding on every play”, the Ravens went almost an entire game without committing a penalty. At least, none that were actually called. This obvious false start shows us the Ravens left tackle take a full 2 steps backwards in anticipation of a Myles Garrett pass rush.

Every single person watching the game saw it happen in real time, but the officials designated to watch the movement of the offensive and defensive lines somehow did not. Unfortunately I could not find a video or GIF of this particular incident, but I assure you, it happened.

The most ridiculous no-call penalty committed against the Browns was the mugging WR Jarvis Landry received running a “Go-Route” on a 4th and 5 late in the game. Baker Mayfield threw the ball to where Landry was suppose to be. Unfortunately for him, about 7 yards past the line of scrimmage Landry was laid out by a Ravens DB. It was blatant. It was obvious. It was not called.

The officials deemed the ball to be uncatchable. And they were absolutely right, it WAS uncatchable…because the 2 Ravens tackled Landry at the beginning of his route! The illegal contact committed by the defender prevented Landry from having the opportunity to make a play on the ball. That is a penalty. A defensive player is not allowed to tackle a WR during his route, period. It’s against the rules. Landry was objectively tackled, the pass was subjectively uncatchable. Call the penalty.

Week 5: Browns vs Chargers

This is the only game this year that I don’t blame on the officiating. That is not because they started doing their job well. It’s because the Browns played their worst game of the season and didn’t deserve to win this game despite the blown calls. Just like with the Ravens game, there was an egregiously obvious false start on the Chargers left tackle.

This very play resulted in another Chargers TD. I remind you, there is an official whose job it is to watch for movement on the offensive line. How does something this obvious not get called – in back to back weeks. It stops being a coincidence at some point.

It’s hard to argue with the absurdness of the officiating in these instances. Had the officials merely called the penalties that were penalties and not called the ones that weren’t, the Cleveland Browns would be 4-1. An unstoppable juggernaut destined for playoff greatness. Whatever it is, they clearly do not want the Browns to be great and are using the only weapon they have formed that can stop them: the officiating.

My guess is that the NFL knows this is Tom Brady’s last year and they know the only thing standing between Tom Brady and going out on top is just one team: the Cleveland Browns. Keep the Browns out of the playoffs and they keep their storybook ending for the man who has been the face of the NFL for 10 years.

Either that or the officiating is just abhorrent.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Muhammad Ali: 15 Career Defining Rounds

Muhammad Ali fought 548 Professional Rounds against 50 different men across a span of 61 fights, 13 countries, four continents and 21 years. 27 of Muhammad’s fights were scheduled for the 15 round Championship distance, so in this blog I will cover the 15 defining rounds of The Greatest’s career. Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis are the only fighters in history to win The Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year on more than three occasions,...

Sports as We Know It May Never Look the Same Again

This lockdown has given us so many of the bad things we never really thought we'd see: widespread job loss, rampant hospitalization and deaths, and the major, sticking-out-like-a-sore-thumb kind of problems in society. But, if there's something that everyone felt, it's the loss of sports. Many people said that sports is only important to sports fans, but it's becoming more evident that the purpose of sports isn't just exclusively athletic. Now, it seems like...

MLB: End Of Season Award Show 2 Cy Youngs, 2 Rookie of the Years and More!

The 2020 MLB regular season has come to an end, and with it comes playoff brackets, predictions, debates and discussions. However, we are going to save playoff predictions for another article. In this article we are going to talk about End of Season awards. Wo deserves the Cy Young awards?, Rookie of the Year? Most Valuable Player??? All of these questions and more will be answered. These are my opinions after watching the games,...

When It Comes To Israel Adesanya – Believe The Hype

If you've ever had the privilege of watching Israel Adesanya fight, you know that he is the perfect example of handcrafted precision. In his most recent fight, so many people felt this would be the fight that would finally DE-thrown the champ.  They felt Paulo Costa had the advantage because of his size, his strength and his overall power. If you've seen Costa, you know he's like a modern day Hercules. Costa's punches are explosive and...

2020 NBA Finals: A Champion Will Be Crowned

The stage is set. After a few short months that involved an eight game restart season and a very unique postseason,  the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat will face each other for the first time in the NBA Finals. There are a lot of storylines that will unfold during the duration of the Finals, but the main storyline will have to be LeBron James facing the team that helped him win two championships....

Memorable Test Match Innings: Kevin Pietersen at the Oval 15 years on

“I saw this innings via a social distancing gap between myself and the television. To truly have the visceral thrill of Pietersen’s 158, you needed to be at The Oval on 12 September 2005.” “Just because I've got a stupid haircut or diamond earrings, it's not going to make me cover drive a ball any differently.” Kevin Pietersen arrived on the international scene in full technicolour. In early 2005, KP entered the lion’s den of his...

Tewatia plays blinder as Rajasthan chase historic total to beat KXIP

Rahul Tewatia hit 5 sixes in an over as Rajasthan Royals chased down the highest score in Indian Premier League history to beat Kings XI Punjab by four wickets on Sunday. Tewatia hit Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in the 18th over and added another six of the next ball he faced as Rajasthan chased down 224. Jofra Archer hit 13 from 3 balls to see the side home. Rajasthan beat their own record – they...

NRL Finals Loom as Regular Season Concludes

The first fixtures of the National Rugby League's finals series are locked in after the final round of the regular season came to an end today. The Competitors While Penrith Panthers had already secured the minor premiership and the top eight were determined two rounds ago, some key positions were still open and the race for those positions made for some entertaining footy. The Newcastle Knights failed to hold sixth place, going down on Friday to a...

Russian GP – Race Preview

Russian Grand Prix can be a boring race so let's hope this race gets off to a great start. The only memory I have of the Russian GP is Valtteri Bottas letting Lewis Hamilton win. Last race at Mugello was an exciting race. With two red flags and one horrible crash. And Ferrari 1000 celebration wasn't the best either, but that might be because of the strict rules now during COVID 19. So I am happy...

Benny Leonard: Always A Champion

If you sat down with a group of boxing fans under the age of say, 50, and began to talk about whether Benny Leonard really is a Top-10 all-time fighter, you'd probably have a cacophony of voices barking at you about how great "Sugar" Ray really was. Tell them you were talking about Benny Leonard though, and you might hear a lot of "Who's that?" from the same group. But Benny Leonard most definitely belongs...

Social Connect

1,185FansLike
3,753FollowersFollow

Trending Now

AFL Finals Locked In

This weekend's results conclude the heavily disrupted Australian Football League regular season, turning attention towards the Finals series in October. Across 18 rounds spanning six...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x