Let me make myself abundantly clear on this subject.
Officiating was NOT the reason the Detroit Lions lost their 9th playoff game in a row on Saturday in Seattle. The Lions were plagued by drops, missed assignments and the inability to stop the Seahawks' running game.
However, it was quite apparent early on that the officiating crew wasn't about to do the Lions any favors and it was clear as day that calls were going to go the Seahawks way. This shouldn't be surprising to many but I'll be damned if it isn't frustrating as hell.
All season long, the Lions have been getting the short end of the officiating stick. Game after game we ask ourselves, “why?”. Let's take a look at some of the more infamous times the Lions got low-ended by a call on the playing field.
— DetroitSportsNation (@detsportsnation) December 28, 2016
— Mike Maiden (@MikeMaiden14) December 27, 2016
Detroit Lions say ref admitted enforcing penalty on wrong team https://t.co/dOwi2CpVNO
— Local 4 Sports (@Local4Sports) December 12, 2016
Illegal existing on the Detroit Lions. 15 yard penalty.
— Mike Payton (@AtoZ_Payton) September 18, 2016
It's always the same story time after time. Refs miss a call on the other team and instead gives a drive-killing or a drive-extending call in a favor of the other team. So, why does it always happen to us?
Is it an image problem? Does Detroit's infamous “leaping Lion” logo just trigger a Tourettes-like, flag throwing spasm in the minds of the officials?
Calls rarely go our way and there is only one thing that Lions players and brass can do about it going forward – leave it out of their hands.
The Lions have to get so much better that penalties don't factor as much into the results on the field. Specifically on offense. A lot of the eyebrow-raising calls are made against the defense so our offense should have it pounded into their heads to score as many points as possible so that inevitable pass interference call in the fourth quarter won't matter because we are up by two scores.
AND PLEASE… PLEASE… PLEASE – change the rules for review to allow challenging penalties. I don't care if it makes the game a few minutes longer. I don't care if the refs feel some type a way about the world not trusting their “superior football rule training”. Too many game-changing flags are thrown and there should be something teams can do about it. The goal is to make the game as fair as possible. Each team should be able to throw a red challenge flag on a penalty call TWICE a game.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate that this is not an excuse for the losing ways of the Lions. It is more of a cry for help. I hope not a cry in the dark. Lions fans see it. Hell, the nation sees it all the time but just cause it's not their team, they could care less. This is all that I am simply saying – the game would much, much more enjoyable, win or lose if the officiating gods showed a bit more love to the Detroit Lions in the future.
Is that too much to ask?