Of any fanbase in the NFL, I would expect the Lions fans to be the most sympathetic to another group of fans who got the NFL reffing shaft. Instead, I see a bunch of followers jumping on Schwartz's "don't talk to me about missed calls" waaa waaa attitude.
Do any of you remember how all those bad calls felt? How about how they completely ruined our chances to win that game? How about how that game effected the remainder of that season? You remember how that felt, right?
I remember a phantom defensive pass interference call against us in The Season of Tears. I remember it was against this same team and I remember how that call seemed to seal our fate in that horrible season. Not a very happy place to be that day.
So, how do we respond when the same thing happens to our opponent? Too damn bad. It has happened to us so many times, we deserved a break finally. Because, you know, we are the only team in the NFL that has had a bad call or lack of call go against them.
And the worst result of our response. We had a chance to do something different. From our Front office, Coach on down to the fans. We had a chance to call out poor NFL officiating without sounding like we were blaming the refs for a loss. We could have said "Yes, there was a missed penalty at the end of that game. One that would have meant another chance for the vikings to win. Every team in the league has been on the wrong side of calls like this. We all know, there is no perfect officiating system but that should never stop us from trying to improve the quality and accuracy of our game for our fans."
How could we be so short sighted? We know this is going to happen again. We know it is going to happen again to us! Instead of pushing the NFL to improve its part time officiating crew, we just sat back and accepted their mistake on our part as some sort of karmatic return on officiating injustices of our past.
There is room for officiating improvement in the NFL, starting with full time crews. These guys hold the fate of every game, of the greatest sport in America, in their hands and they can't be paid year around? They can't be trained for a couple months during the off season? How about schooling and testing? Is there a program in place to train replacements for the present officials? How comprehensive is that program? Do those "refs in training" exist? If they do exist, are they attending live games to further their training?
The simple truth is, no one likes hearing a losing team whine about a bad call. That leaves the impetus on the winning teams to make some noise and this last weekend was our chance. We dropped the ball. The league will stick to the status quo until enough noise is made for real changes.