Cleveland Browns football is back. Also back is the weekly tradition of a badly blown call followed by an apology from the NFL.
America is built on the idea that the individual is uniquely qualified to make the best decision for their lives. This past weekend the NFL memorialized the 9/11 attacks of 2001. America was attacked and the individual citizens of this country rallied together to support those in need.
We also rallied together to support and strengthen the greatest military force ever assembled. It was a time when the power of an individual, in a particular place and time, doing their part made this country thrive.
But somewhere along the way, the NFL lost track of the power of the individual, particularly the power of individual officials to call a football game. This was no more apparent in the botched personal foul call that resulted in the ejection of Ronnie Harrison Jr.
For those who missed the play. The Browns were off to a good start toward putting to rest their opening day losing streak when Harrison was involved in a tackle on the sidelines. He got up to walk away. And here is where it gets fuzzy. If you watch the video, it looks like Harrison was trying to walk away. He looks to slip then get pushed by a Chiefs player toward the sideline resulting in Harrison accidentally stepping on a player on the ground.
Then the fun started. Chiefs coach Greg Lewis then shoved Harrison in an attempt to get him off the player. Harrison then reacted poorly by shoving the coach back. Of course, flags start flying and personal fouls are handed out.
This was not the first time coaches have inserted themselves into the game by attacking players. There was the time that then Pittsburgh Steelers assistant Mike Munchak grabbed the dreadlocks of Cincinnati Bengals player Reggie Nelson.
Not to be outdone, Steelers coach Joey Porter much have said something to the effect of “hold my beer” as he went out onto the field and started an argument with Vontaze Burfict and Adam “PacMan” Jones. The ensuing altercation resulted (somehow) in a penalty on the Bengals. That penalty set up the Steelers game-winning field goal. It seems for the Steelers, it worked out in their favor for their coaches to attack Bengals players.
Sadly, the same was true of the Chiefs’ assistant coaches. Chiefs assistant coach Greg Lewis attacked a Browns player. The result? Ronnie Harrison was thrown out of the game.
It seems unbelievable that a coach could attack a player and the player would be at fault. If you think that is crazy, just know the officials on the field thought it was crazy too.
The original call on the field was a personal foul unsportsmanlike conduct by the Chiefs Greg Lewis. Then 15 yards were marked off against the Chiefs. The individual officials in a particular place and time with the best view of the incident made the correct call.
But then it was the NFL officials in New York’s turn to say “hold my beer”. The NFL doesn’t seem to trust its officials to “get it right”. Thus, the centralized authority of officials on the other side of the country decided to intervene to “get it right”. Officials in New York stopped the game in Kansas City to “help” the officials on the scene.
The result? Just like the Bengals 2016 wildcard game, it pays for coaches to attack players. Harrison was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct and was ejected from the game.
Now, one can make the case that New York “got it right”. After all, Harrison did react to being shoved by a coach by shoving the coach back. Both the coach and the Browns were penalized 15 yards which offset.
But explain why Harrison was ejected from the game but the Chiefs coach Greg Lewis was allowed to continue? By ejecting Harrison and allowing Lewis to continue, the officials in New York failed miserably to “get it right”. In fact, they got completely wrong.
The correct call would be to eject both Harrison and Chiefs coach Greg Lewis. But instead, the Chiefs were rewarded for having their assistant attack Harrison. Instead of losing a coach, it was only the Browns who lost personnel.
But Browns fans have seen this drill before. There is a terrible call in the game. The result is an egregious miscarriage of justice that results in a competitive advantage for the opponent.
Yet, the NFL always seems to make it better, right? The next week the NFL usually issues an apology letter to the Browns saying, “We got it wrong”. This somehow makes it all better. But do you know who didn’t get it wrong?
The officials on the field did not get it wrong. They got it right. It was the centralized officiating system that decided the individual officials on the field needed their elite wisdom to get the call right. In the end, it was the inefficient, remote, and out-of-touch elites in New York that got it wrong.
America got it right. America understands the power of the individual on the scene to handle the situation correctly. It is truly sad that on a day the NFL memorializes the 9/11 attacks, they have completely forgotten what brought this country through those dark times, the power of the individual.
Shame on you NFL. Shame! Shame! Shame!
Was that a little mean toward the NFL? Am I wrong to criticize the NFL?
Don’t worry. I will apologize next week.