Golden Tate’s ‘Touchdown’ Must Force Roger Goodell’s Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL’s Image Is at Stake

Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at StakeThe National Football League is supposed to be the golden standard — pun very much intended — of
football. Whether it's players, coaches or yes, even referees, the NFL
is supposed to house only the best and brightest.

Well, after Monday night's disaster in Seattle, every football fan, whether diehard or casual, must understand that the current state of officiating in the NFL is a complete joke. The replacement officials are in way over their heads at this level and their "incompetence" — we'll get to this shortly — has finally cost a team a win.

The Green Bay Packers got hosed on Monday as the men in zebra stripes ran off with their victory. There were too many botched calls to point out throughout the course of the game, but the one game-deciding call at the end of regulation is the one that may have finally pushed this sham, posing as the NFL, over the edge.

Golden Tate may have been on the receiving end of Russell Wilson's game-winning "touchdown pass" — really it was a M.D. Jennings interception — but it was the refs that truly stole this game from the Packers. Until Monday night, I thought grand larceny was a federal crime, but apparently it's allowed in Seattle.

These replacement officials not only dictated the outcome of the game but more importantly, they have further disgraced the reputation of the league.

For a league that has done so much over the years to uphold its high standard as clean, pure and proper — suspending players for off-field conduct, endless work in the community, etc. — the product is now being both corrupted and tarnished by the unconscionable decisions of these referees. And now, the replacements have actually impacted the outcome of a game and potentially even a playoff race.

Monday's result will continue to play a significant role in the run toward the playoffs for the rest of this season. Sure it's early to be talking postseason, but think about it for a second. The Packers are now 1-2 with the loss and sit at the bottom of a difficult NFC North division. With the Chicago Bears proving they can be a legitimate contender and the Detroit Lions looking for a repeat trip to the postseason, Green Bay could have a long road ahead of them.

On the flip side, Seattle is now sitting comfortably at 2-1 and in prime position for a playoff spot. They're a game back of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West and, with one of the most stout defenses in football, could find themselves in the driver's seat for a playoff spot come December. And keep in mind that the Seahawks now also own a tiebreaker over the Packers, if it were to, God forbid, come down to such a metric.

The reality of it all is that the replacement officials are just not cut out for this level of football. Division
III college rosters — or, even worse, lingerie teams — don't have
the the type of talent and athleticism seen in the NFL. The game is
different. There's more speed, harder hits, better techniques.
Everything is superior at that level. Except for the officiating
apparently.

According to a report on Deadspin, the Lingerie Football League — or as we common folk know it, the LFL — actually fired multiple officials who are now officiating in the NFL because of what they called "incompetence" — something we now see every Thursday, Sunday and Monday.

So, some officials weren't even qualified to be working in the LFL, yet they've found a home — although temporarily, we hope — in the NFL. That's disgraceful.

The
NFL officiating fiasco needs to be fixed, and it needs to be done so
immediately. Whether this report is actually true or just another
glorified representation of the replacement officials' ineptitude is
irrelevant. These new refs are clearly underqualified, overwhelmed and
out of their league — both figuratively and literally.

Monday night's robbery in Seattle has to be the straw that finally sees the NFL owners back break. Roger Goodell is clearly a puppeteer for the owners, but at some point he needs to take a stance and find a compromise that will appease both the league and the NFLRA. That sort of agreement won't be easy to come by, clearly, as it's already taken three months more than it should have, but the commissioner is supposed to be the one searching for a fair settlement.

This charade has just gone too far, and it's time for a return to reality. Otherwise, the NFL could find its oh, so precious image irreparably damaged. If it hasn't been already.

Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or
send it here
.

The Starting 11
The Starting 11 is a weekly feature taking a look at the big
winners and losers of the past week around the NFL.
 
1 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens

The big story coming out of Sunday night's showdown between the Patriots and Ravens was the awful state of officiating in the NFL. But the biggest story on the weekend should have been Smith's remarkable ability to overcome personal tragedy and succeed in the biggest way possible. Six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns would be an impressive stat line for any receiver in the NFL, but do it less than 24 hours after your 19-year-old brother is tragically killed in a motorcycle accident and it becomes legendary. A soft-spoken, kind-hearted person, Smith is an amazing person and deserves all the credit in the world for his courage and determination in such a trying time. So much respect.

2 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

Matty Ice was a nickname given to Ryan during his time at Boston College. The name stuck primarily because of his ability to excel in big moments and partially because of some college kids' affinity for a similarly-named, adequately-priced beverage. Either way, Ryan is impressing with his leadership on the field as he continues to prove himself among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He completed 30 of 40 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns on the way to a 27-3 rout in San Diego. Impressive in all aspects of his game, Ryan leads the NFL in Quarterback Rating after Week 3 and continues to verge on "elite" status among signal-callers in the league.

3 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

New Orleans Saints

There's tough luck, there's tough times and then there's the Saints. For a third straight week, New Orleans fell victim to some bad timing and poor execution, allowing less talented teams to steal victories. Drew Brees continues to excel at the quarterback position, leading the Saints offense on its usual torrid pace. But an 0-3 start, their worst since 2007, has New Orleans looking like a severe underachiever and a team clearly impacted by the sanctions handed down in the Bountygate scandal.

4 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

There was some concern in Week 2, when Jamaal Charles got just five touches before being pulled from the game. He banged up his surgically repaired right knee and it seemed like he might not ever be the same tailback who dominated the NFL with 1,400 yards in 2010. Not a week later, though, Charles was back to his unbelievable running style with 233 yards on the ground. His 91-yard touchdown run was enough to spark the Chiefs offense as well on the way to a 27-24 overtime victory over the Saints. Charles looks like he's the real deal, once again, and is already back atop the NFL rushing standings.

5 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

Arizona Cardinals

A week after the football world erupted into a "these Cardinals are lucky, not good" spiel, Arizona took down yet another championship contender. A two-point win over the Patriots might have been enough to raise a few eyebrows, but Sunday's 21-point shellacking of the Eagles is proof that this team is for real. Larry Fitzgerald exploded for nine catches and 119 yards while the Cardinals defense continued to build its resume, forcing three turnovers and making Mike Vick look helpless. And don't look now, but even Kevin Kolb looked good — shocker, I know. These Cardinals look like they are for real and they are deserving of the attention.

6 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins

Reggie, say it ain't so. Just as Bush was starting to look like one of the best running backs in football, an unintentional helmet to the knee ended his day and could have him out for a few weeks. After going off for 172 yards in Week 2, Bush busted out on 10 carries for 61 yards on Sunday against the Jets and looked to be on his way to another 100-yard performance before the injury derailed him. Bush still ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards, just 21 yards behind new leader Jamaal Charles, and fortunately shouldn't miss too much time for the Dolphins. Unfortunately, his quest for that heralded NFL rushing title could take a serious hit if he's unable to go soon.

7 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

On the very first play from scrimmage on Sunday, A.J. Green asserted his presence. A 73-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver-turned-wildcat quarterback Mohamed Sanu was the ultimate "booyah" play to kick off a 38-31 win for the Bengals. Green ended up going off on the afternoon, bringing down nine catches for 183 yards and the first of four Cincinnati touchdown passes. Green is quickly becoming one of the best receivers in football, even ranking second behind only Calvin Johnson in receiving yards this season. He's been as impressive as anyone in the league this year.

8 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

Darrelle Revis, CB, Jets

Revis Island is a lonely place for opposing wide receivers, but on Sunday, Revis himself was left plenty lonely out on the field. In a crushing blow for the Jets, Revis was carted off the field in Miami on Sunday with a torn ACL. He's done for the season. Revis, who contemplated and ultimately didn't hold out for a new contract during the offseason, is now left with months of recovery ahead and in all likelihood the necessity to play out his current deal with the significant pay raise he was looking for. The loss is even bigger for the Jets, who now must fight for a playoff spot without arguably the best player on their roster.

9 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

Mike Vick, QB, Eagles

This guy is a consistent player on The Starting 11, finding his way on the list each week with one enigmatic performance after another. Vick's maybe the most frustrating player in football right now, looking like the MVP runner-up of a few years ago at times and like he's not even fit for a back-up role at others. Vick currently leads the NFL in both interceptions (six) and fumbles (four), but also ranks third among quarterbacks with 905 passing yards. The confusing performances have Philadelphia fans scratching their heads and Andy Reid considering a change under center.

10 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings

The Vikings entered Sunday's game against the 49ers as a seven-point underdog, but by day's end Ponder had them as big winners. Ponder tossed two touchdown passes and ran for another as Minnesota took down San Francisco with a 24-13 win. Ponder has been a shining star for the Vikings so far this season. He ranks fifth in the NFL with a 104.9 passer rating and is second, behind only Matt Ryan, with a 70.1 completion percentage. As much as Adrian Peterson's epic return from surgery has helped the Vikings thus far, Ponder is the major reason behind the unexpected 2-1 start.

11 Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake
    Golden Tate's 'Touchdown' Must Force Roger Goodell's Hand on Locked-Out Officials as NFL's Image Is at Stake

Chris Johnson, RB, Titans

CJ2K, really? I don't think that nickname really fits anymore. Johnson, who has been critical of his offensive line's play in recent weeks, has done next to nothing on the ground this season and continued that trend on Sunday. In a game where the Titans scored 44 points and racked up 437 yards of total offense, Johnson was essentially a non-factor. The three-time Pro Bowler looks nothing resembling his former self and ranks 64th in the NFL in rushing yards with 33 carries for 45 yards. That actually has him behind quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Ryan Fitzpatrick and even his own teammate Jake Locker. Fantasy owners must be pissed.

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