Greg Schiano and the Buccaneers long for the days of replacement refs

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I saw two things this Sunday that I can’t say I’ve ever seen before, three if you consider the fact that the Buccaneers had a home game televised.

On a gorgeous, Florida, Sunday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their hands full against perhaps the greatest 1-4 team in NFL history: the New Orleans Saints.  The Saints have had their fair share of issues lately, with Spygate, suspensions and what most impartial observers believe to be Roger Goodell’s total bumbling of his own judiciary process.

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That being said, Goodell and the league made it up to them on Sunday, with a little help from Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mean to stand here on my homer soapbox and say the Buccaneers were robbed had it not been for this call or that but… the Buccaneers fell victim to two calls in particular, one which led to a Saints touchdown and another that prevented a Bucs touchdown from happening.  Such was the difference in the game.  In a seven point contest, the number of points which the Bucs are losing most of their games this season, these things matter.

Thing I’ve Never Seen Before #1:  In the fourth quarter of a highly competitive contest, leading 28-21, New Orleans lined up for a 51-yard field goal after the Buccaneers had stopped them defensively.  Tampa’s special teams lined up yet shifted their position in an effort to distract the snap.  All of a sudden, whistles were blown and flags were thrown.

Unsportsmanlike conduct called on the Buccaneers, pre-snap, before the ball was even hiked.  The refs penalized Tampa Bay fifteen yards, giving the Saints back the ball and the inevitable, momentous touchdown.

I’ve been watching football for a while now.  Most unsportsmanlike penalties occur either during or after a play and are generally the result of excessive celebration or taunting which, in the NFL, has to be pretty flagrant considering what players do after touchdowns these days.  According to Schiano, he used that very same defensive shift against the Redskins earlier this season and a penalty was NOT called but according to Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1i, a team is not allowed to use “acts or words designed to disconcert an offensive team at the snap.”  Now either the refs were doing their job a little too well or this is a rule that Schiano needs to become more familiar with.  Ah, the joys of being a rookie head coach in the NFL.  If no penalty is called, there are no seven points for the Saints, perhaps not even three considering the distance of the field goal attempt. Read more…

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