Alan Dell

Commentary | After Monday night debacle, only thing left for NFL is chaos

The NFL brags it has the most entertaining sport on the planet, calling its game controlled chaos.

Now it has just chaos.

That's what happens when you send a boy to do a man's job.

Lance Easley, the ref who ruled Seattle's Golden Tate caught the winning TD pass on the game's final play Monday night, never officiated above the junior college level before the NFL hired him.

Derrick Rhone-Dunn, the most experienced ref on Monday night's crew, waved his arms signifying Green Bay's M.D. Jennings made an interception.

They never talked and the head ref, noted for officiating high school and indoor football, failed to call a conference as is routinely done in these situations.

This wasn't controlled chaos. It was a frightening fiasco.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did not speak to the media Tuesday.

His silence sent a deafening roar across the country.

The NFL PR machine keeps rolling along, spewing out declarations that all is right with the league despite a few missed calls here and there.

We should all take that as insult to our intelli


It will only get worse, predicts Tyrone Williams.

"The refs can't keep up with the speed of the game, and the longer the season goes the faster the games get. Most of the officials are three levels below where they should be," Williams says.

The Manatee High product played for Green Bay from 1996 through 2003 and won the 1997 Super Bowl with them. He says he is not speaking as a former Packer.

He is not speaking for his friend, Green Bay defensive back Sam Shields from Booker High, who was thrown to the ground by Tate on the final play.

The NFL said pass interference should've been called.

Sorry, Sam, better luck next time.

"There are going to be more blatant mistakes and as a former player it is troubling," Williams says. "I know how hard you work and then this happens. They are not protecting the (NFL) shield and making a mockery of the fans."

"The catch" will live in infamy, but the players taking liberties with rules intended to protect thems from each other is more alarming.

The NFL has become the Wild West with no sheriff in town. Defensive backs are taking shots at receivers and skirmishes are breaking out all over the field.

"It's just a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt," Williams says. "Players should be getting ejected for some of the things they are doing and are not even getting penalized. There were some massive hits out there."

Mike Pereira, former vice president of NFL officiating, charged on national radio that one of the replacement officials got released from the Lingerie Football League and the NFL was lying about the credentials of some others, a charge the NFL denies.

Will Monday's massacre on credibility change anything?

It's doubtful. The NFL is a bottom line league, and ESPN officials said it could have its highest postgame show ratings in history.

Everyone is talking about the NFL; more than the baseball pennant races that are winding down and more than the presidential race.

The power lies within the people. If fans start boycotting games, things would change almost instantly. But don't expect that to happen, though the NFL owners are pushing their luck.

Maybe the real victim here was Shields. Earlier in the game, he was called for pass interference on a play where the receiver Sidney Rice clearly draped his hands all over him and grabbed his face mask.

"I sent a text to Sam. I told him he had a great game and don't let what happen bother you. The pass interference against him was a horrible call. The receiver grabbed his face mask and pulled him around," Williams says.

The owners are winning their fight to show the regular officials who is in charge.

The fans can change that if they choose.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112.