This is absurd.
This is preposterous.
This is ridiculous, moronic, idiotic, ludicrous, senseless, illogical and unabashedly imbecilic.
In short, this is pretty lame.
Have I made my opinion clear?
It was bad enough when the penalty was called, during what was a pivotal game-winning drive by the Bears in the final minutes of the recent matchup at Ford Field. Cutler had taken off as a running back, was seven yards past the line of scrimmage and was showing no intent to slide. It was at this time that he was smacked by a violent two hand push to the back by Lions phenom Suh, who was endeavoring to force a turnover and stop the drive.
Cutler was not injured, and hopped right up after the play, making no protest about the play and likely content with its result. It was a nice first down play for the Bears in the red zone.
Ed Hochuli however, who by now has a long and inglorious history of making bad calls against the Lions, threw a personal foul flag claiming instead that Suh had thrown a forearm shiver to the back of the head. In fact, he indicated exactly that in his explanation of the call, and can clearly be seen arguing exactly that with Lions Coach Jim Schwartz in the photo above.
The flag gave the Bears a 1st-and-goal situation and they capitalized on the next play against a befuddled Lions defense that had to be wondering if they were allowed to tackle a ball carrier at all. And though Lions fans would have to be stretching to suggest that the call lost them the game, it's not so unreasonable to question, "what if?"
What if the refs had let the players decide the outcome of the game purely and free from their tampering.
What if the Lions defense had stiffened and forced a field goal?
I'll agree that scenario might not have been likely given the Lions propensity for folding in the fourth quarter, but that's not the same thing as saying it wouldn't have happened.
What is undeniable is that it was a poor call at a pivotal moment of the game that went against the Lions...again.
And though every time this kind of thing happens the blogosphere explodes with referee apologists that love to say things like, "that's not why they lost the game, it shouldn't have come to that in the first place," the truth of the matter is that for teetering teams like the Lions, especially for teams like the Lions, bad calls at pivotal times can decide games as it almost assuredly did in the Lions first matchup with the Bears.
Hochuli, instead of admitting his error in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, had this to say about the call.
"I felt it was an unnecessary non-football act—a blow to the back of the runner's helmet in the process of him going down. When you tackle people, you come in and you wrap up and come with your arms and things like that. I felt he delivered a blow to the back of the runner that happened to be the quarterback. That's why I was down there following it. He's my responsibility."
What? Notice of course that he's not talking about a forearm shiver anymore because clearly there was none. And his ridiculous explanation as to what constitutes a tackle doesn't apply to half the tackles in the game. And who knows what is meant by "come with your arms and things like that?"
Looked to me like Suh did "come with his arms," as he pushed Cutler to the ground (in the back, not the head).
And who is your "responsibility," exactly, Ed? Jay Cutler?
Funny, as an officiate of the game I thought your responsibility was to the leagues rules and the integrity of the game, not the quarterback of a particular team.
Apparently now legal hits are illegal if they are done too hard.
And quarterbacks running the football aren't running backs (for which there is no such thing as a roughness penalty).
Except against the Lions of course.
Julius Peppers pretty much ground Matthew Stafford through the turf on a season-altering legal hit 10 times more violent than the one Suh put on Cutler last Sunday.
But that's just the way the game goes, and there wasn't a Lions fan anywhere that thought Peppers was doing anything other than his job.
And if the NFL had any integrity whatsoever it would admit when mistakes are made and fess up to the inaccuracies that are sometimes incurred within the system.
But they have none. The Suh fine confirms this.
They would rather blindly stand by a disingenuous referee who refuses to admit a mistake, continues to make them at inopportune times against the Lions, continues to misinterpret the rulebook on a myriad of other legal plays which have been fined and bungled this year, and more or less tell anyone who doesn't like it to take a hike.
This has become absurd and all the other adjectives I used above to describe this unregulated hypocrisy.
This is the NFL.
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