Notable Minnesota Vikings fan and NFL pundit for NBC Sports, Mike Florio, complained about the officiating after the Chicago Bears win on Monday Night Football. Florio took aim at the “inconsistency” of the intentional grounding calls made during the game.
With about a minute left in the Bears’ final possession of the game, Justin Fields evaded pressure and threw the ball way out of bounds but in the direction of tight end Cole Kmet. The officials decided not to call intentional grounding.
Mike Florio is upset with a call that benefited the Chicago Bears
Florio and Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell didn’t think that was fair because their quality, Joshua Dobbs, was called for intentional grounding earlier in the game. Per Florio:
“We got called on a similar play,” O’Connell told reporters. “My question was how are the plays different?”
They weren’t. Fields heaved the ball to avoid a sack, just as Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs had done. It never, ever could have been caught, by anyone. It wasn’t even reasonably close. It did not land in the vicinity of Kmet. It didn’t even land in the vicinity of the field.
And while the officials have been increasingly loose with the application of the rule, presumably to reduce the number of hits on quarterbacks at a time when far too many are injured, there needs to be consistency. The Vikings were called for it. The Bears weren’t. In the same game.
It underscores the power and influence that the officials, vested with broad and uncontestable discretion in certain areas, can have over a game. On the very next play, the Bears ended up in range for a chip-shot game winner. If grounding had been called, the outcome of the game quite likely would have been different.
Florio would go on to say that rules in the NFL need to be applied accurately and consistently.
The Bears didn’t get all the calls
Okay then. How does Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon being penalized for taunting because of a broken helmet have anything to do with accurate or consistent officiating?
"If you can go in and replay something, I guess that would be the time to do it."
Troy Aikman comments on Bears CB Kyler Gordon getting penalized for taking his helmet off. Gordon's facemask was clearly broken and dangling off of the front of his helmet. pic.twitter.com/jCO88QyEmg
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 28, 2023
Florio didn’t mention any such calls against the Bears in his column. Officials make mistakes during the course of the game. Unfortunately, that’s the human element in football. Officials should strive to make better calls in games.
But Florio’s excuse is just trivial. He should write better columns than ones whining about the officials costing his favorite team the game and inviting whataboutism in the process.
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