[Ed. – If you think the level of officiating in pro football has declined dramatically, signify by saying “Hike!”]
The NFL threw yellow flags on Rams linebacker Clay Matthews, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and Lions safety Tracy Walker, fining each $12,500 for criticizing officials.
The denouncements came not long after the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams reminding them that the league prohibits criticism of officiating, including posting “negative or derogatory/demeaning content pertaining to officiating on social media.”
Longtime NFL writer Rick Gosselin noted recently that NFL games so far are averaging about 15 penalties for 125 yards a game, up from about a dozen flags for 97 yards a decade ago, and he added, “The more the flags, the worse the game.”
And the louder the criticism.
There’s another dynamic at work with the league’s officiating crews also facing scrutiny from their former colleagues as TV networks hire away the most seasoned officials to serve as rules analysts and help make sense of all the yellow flags flying around.