Last night's game between the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints was, in my opinion, the most poorly officiated game I can recall seeing this year. Some will point to the replacement referees as being worse. I don't see it that way. The replacement referees were slower and less certain, but they were consistent. They were inept and called games loosely for the whole 60 minutes.
The referees in New Orleans were anything but consistent. They called an incredibly loose game for the Saints. They ignored both offensive and defensive holding, both offensive and defensive pass interference, as well as unnecessary roughness penalties. Against the Chargers on the other hand, they called a very tight game. Actually, referring to what they did as calling a tight game is a bit euphemistic. There were phantom calls against the Chargers, things that didn't happen at all, not just things that usually aren't called. Even the NBC broadcast couldn't play along by the end. It was a joke.
All of that said, the San Diego Chargers had a 10 point lead late in the game against a bad defense. Their star running back, Ryan Mathews, was averaging better than seven yards per carry. How did it even come down to the referees needing to make calls correctly? What happened?
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