Originally Posted by Legend of Josh
I'm on this level, but more on a broad platform. I believe the league overall is the most respected in terms of honest, fair and efficient officiating... but i do feel if and when there's those 50/50 calls as you mentioned, the more "profitable" team is in the bonus and ching ching ching outcome.
Perhaps their refs are trained and practiced in those types of outcomes. I'm not saying it's fact, just you see them happen often.
How many times have we seen the Steelers and Pats get more than most calls that could go either way? We all know it exists. That's just professional sports for you... it just happens less in the NFl... but make no mistake about it, it happens.
It's the more arbitrary calls like tons of illegal contacts and always getting called for penalties on kick returns. People always remember one or two controversial calls that go one way or the other, but where the officials can have a much greater impact is on those plays that you don't remember quite as vividly after the game is over... They add up.
Starting a drive from the 35 or 40 or from the 10 makes a huge difference for a team in terms of playcalling and obviously just having to travel a shorter distance for a score. And it also kills you in terms of field position if you have to punt. And, I can't stress enough how arbitrary many of those special teams flags are. There is a borderline hold or block in the back on every kick return.
As for illegal contact, sometimes there is something really egregious that deserves to be called, but a lot of stuff gets let go throughout the course of a game, because football is a physical sport and there is always going to be bumping and grabbing.
When a team gets called for the sheer number of illegal contacts as the Browns today... Well, you saw it. Give any offense in the league enough chances and they will eventually make something happen.
Then, there is the stuff that doesn't get called, like clear false starts and intentional grounding.
Like I said, the officials haven't played much of a role in the Browns being a below .500 team. Most of the damage has been done by having an extraordinarily young team, a lot of injuries, an extremely questionable coaching staff, upheaval in the front office, playing in a brutal division, and just not being a very good team.
But, today? Yeah, it got to a point by the 4th or 5th time we were called for a hold on a punt return that it wasn't going to be our day.