NFL: It's time to hold the referees accountable
Oct 23, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; NFL referees during the second half of a football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL needs to hold its zeebras accountable for unfairly impacting the games.

There’s been a recent push for the NFL to hire full-time referees.

This is crucial—some calls this season have impeded the flow of games—but not as important as holding the current crews accountable.

When Odell Beckham Jr. graces cleats honoring the late Craig Sager, he’s disciplined. The higher-ups hand him a hefty fine. And that’s alright—Beckham knows that the rules are the rules—but it’s only alright if the rules are being enforced consistently.

If the officials are getting away with bad call after bad call, something is wrong. Something is wrong with the league, which isn’t only setting a poor example, but is also allowing its zebras have an inordinate amount of control on the game.

Now, to Thursday night’s matchup. The Giants failed to capitalize on a plethora of opportunities and blew the game themselves, sure. But they sure weren’t helped by some ludicrous officiating.

Exhibit A: Eli Apple was flagged for unnecessary roughness on this play:

There’s going to have to come a point when the referees are able to decipher a malicious hit from a finished tackle. Apple not only attempted to pull up on this play, but he laid a hardly forceful single hand on quarterback Carson Wentz.

What happened next—the Eagles storming down the field for the score—isn’t even the point. The point is that the officials grossly screwed up, and called an unnecessary roughness on a hit that wasn’t nearly as dangerous as the following one that went unflagged:

There shouldn’t be this much of a disconnect between the crews. Sure, it’s crucial to protect gunslingers from concussions, but, like SB Nation’s Mark Sandritter wrote, “overcompensating to the point where this is a flag is not the solution.”

Exhibit B: Olivier Vernon was flagged for roughing the passer on this play:

This is absurd. How could Vernon have possibly avoided this? Was he supposed to stop mid-tackle? Once again, the zebras need to be able to discern between a malicious hit and a finished tackle.

“You must have to stop mid-air to make a tackle,” Vernon said, via Dan Duggan of “I don’t know what you want me to do.”

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.