Just a quick note to say that regular refs aren't all that much better than the replacement officials the NFL used during the first weeks of the season. Saints fans like me are happy the Saints finally won a game, but it's questionable whether we deserved it. Three bad calls sealed the Chargers' fate against us. First, a Saints defender CLEARLY interfered with a Charger receiver, thus forcing an interception that turned the whole game around. The refs missed it. Then, on what would have been the game-tying drive for San Diego, Chargers' tight end Antonie Gates was called for a highly dubious offensive pass interference call. There was incidental contact and then the Saints defender stumbled, but on replay after replay it sure didn't look to me as if Gates really pushed off and didn't look as if the stumble had anything to do with the incidental hand contact. The call negated a huge gain. On the very next play, the Chargers completed another long pass, only to have it called back due to "holding" onthe SD center. I only saw one replay, but it sure didn't look like holding to me. The Saints pass rusher tried to get around the center; the center pushed without appearing to grab, and the Saints guy lost his balance and fell.
Don't get me wrong: I'm glad the Saints won. They had a game effectively stolen from them earlier this year by an awful call, so turnabout seems to fans like fair play. But really, the Chargers got monumentally rooked. And this happens all over the league, week in and week out. Officiating an NFL game is a hard job. Fans are never going to be happy, because calls will continue to be blown.
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