Odds & Ends-Volume 120

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Is it just me,or has NFL officiating this season gone to shit?NFL officials

None of these officials know what a catch is, or how to keep their whistles silent when the ball is in play and in bounds (Danny Amendola against Buffalo), or when a player goes out of bounds (Sammy Watkins against New England with :02 left). From the controversies of last Monday night to Sunday night’s game in Denver between the Patriots and Broncos and you’ve got quite the mess that is officiating in the NFL this season.

Fans are frustrated and now that frustration is apparent with the players. One in particular was 49ers guard Alex Boone who had this to say:

“I’m not really too worried about getting fined. I thought those refs sucked. I thought that — you call running into a player when nobody even touched you? I mean, if you don’t like what we say, then don’t like what we say. Don’t throw a flag for it. That’s what I’m sick of about this league. This is supposed to be a man’s game. Be a man. That’s what pisses me off. It’s guys like that, working in this league, work on this field, and we have to deal with it. You know, whatever. It was a terrible call. They’ve had terrible calls all game. I don’t care what the league says. I don’t care what Roger [Goodell] says. It’s the truth. You don’t like it, get the hell out of here.”

I watched most of that game and Boone is right,there were a lot of bad calls ans something that stood out to me was when the officiating crew lost track of how many downs there were after penalizing the 49ers for too many men on the field.

I don’t know how much worse it can get. I know we have newer officials that are inexperienced at the pro level,but that inexperience is showing and it’s costing these players,the teams,and the fans in terms of having quality and fair officiating in what is America’s favorite sport. Shit,some fans are asking for the 2012 replacement referees back,something no fan should ever have to pine for because those refs were very horrible (See: Touchception,Green Bay @ Seattle).

One thing’s for sure,the league has a problem that needs to be solved sooner than later. One memo to the officials, though: Rob Gronkowski gets called for pass interference way too much. Being tangled up with another player is not considered pass interference. He’s a big dude, lay off of him!

IowaI may be one of the few outside of the Hawkeye State who thinks Iowa has a legit chance to win the National Championship even though they still have to face Michigan State.

But why not the Hawkeyes?

Iowa had the 36th hardest schedule in all of college football, had some quality wins with beating Purdue at home and beating Nebraska in Lincoln which isn’t always the easiest of environments to get a win at no matter how good or bad the Huskers are and also beating then-ranked Wisconsin in Madison and then-ranked Northwestern in Evanston,Ill. And oh by the way,they’ve won every game they’ve played.

Yes,the Hawkeyes have the toughest test with the Spartans in this Big Ten Championship Game,but I think they’re up to the challenge. Sometimes you have those teams that come out of nowhere and shock the hell out of you and I think this year that’s Iowa. This seems like a program that for years has been decent and now has the chance to really be something.

Kobe Bryant has announced that he will wrap up his 20-year career after this season. Bryant,37,has spent every minute of his NBA career with the Lakers after being drafted by the original Charlotte Hornets in 1996 before being traded to Los Angeles for Vlade Divac. Bryant has won five championships and was selected to 17 All-Star games in his career.Kobe

In the last couple of years,though,he has been unable to stay healthy and has missed a considerable amount of time and hasn’t looked like the player of old that he once was.

In an essay he wrote to The Player’s Tribune, Bryant said “This season is all I have left to give. My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

Honestly, I think he should’ve called it quits a couple of years ago,but I’ll admit that he will be missed after he’s gone. Sure,we’ve got guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant,and Stephen Curry leading the way in today’s game,but Bryant,for many years,was such an unstoppable force and his will to win grew even more after Shaquille O’Neal left Los Angeles. He is no doubt one of the best to play the game and dare I say,after Magic Johnson,the second best Laker ever?

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