As the NFL has successfully completed three weeks of its season, it’s clear that there is no consistency in penalties called or the way teams have been playing. Only three of the 32 teams in the league have been able to maintain a perfect record of 3-0.
The Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans have proven that they’re elite thus far. In addition, this week was full of upsets and overtime thrillers. To be exact, there were three overtime games decided by a field goal and four upsets no one saw coming.
This inconsistency is directly related with the replacement officials which has caused the inconsistent play by players around the league. However, it isn’t necessarily that they are making the wrong call, although they frequently are. It is the lengthy booth reviews that are impacting the game.
The reviews are supposed to be used exclusively for controversial calls and coach’s challenges, but these replacement officials have taken advantage of that and have been relying on them for many calls. It sounds like a good idea; check to make sure you are calling the game correctly. What they don’t realize is that it slows the entire game down and changes players’ performances.
As a result, the majority of teams have the same record and there really is no way to predict a Super Bowl contender or even a conference champion yet.
One of the biggest surprises so far this season has been the success of the Arizona Cardinals. After a sub-par performance last season, an 8-8 record and missing the playoffs, the Cardinals didn’t have many expectations to live up to this year. Despite losing starting quarterback, John Skelton in the season opener, Arizona bounced back with former starting quarterback, Kevin Kolb who has done just enough to keep the Cardinals winning. However, it has been Arizona’s outstanding defensive play that has made them unbeatable.
On the other hand, the New Orleans Saints have been the exact opposite. They finished last season with a 13-3 record, winning their division and had a legitimate chance at winning the Super Bowl. Now, after a long off-season of controversy over the bounty program, the Saints returned with an 0-3 record and have shown no signs of improving.
After three weeks of NFL action we are just about in the same place as we were when the season started. The majority of teams have the same record and are fighting to take the lead; and the replacement officials continue to change the outcome of games through bad calls and unnecessary reviews.
Even after many fans, commentators, coaches and players have pointed out the issues in the NFL, nothing has changed. The problem is in the hands of NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, and if he will make a change or keep the mediocre season going.