The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 on Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, the win did not come without controversy.
A botched call in the first half completely robbed Pittsburgh of its momentum and fully altered the course of the game.
Video of the incident largely speaks for itself:
The refs called Joe Haden offsides 🤔pic.twitter.com/93gwfpNibb
— PFF PIT Steelers (@PFF_Steelers) October 3, 2021
Joe Haden was ultimately whistled on that play, negating what should’ve been the Steelers blocking a field goal, returning it 75 yards and going into halftime with a 17-14 lead. Instead, because of the whistle, the Packers got five yards more to nail the field goal and were able to go into halftime with a 17-10 lead.
Former NFL referee and current CBS analyst Gene Steratore weighed in on the play after the fact:
Certain infractions are easier to see from the field-level, but from the angles that I’ve seen of the field goal in #PITvsGB:
— Gene Steratore (@GeneSteratore) October 3, 2021
The Steelers ultimately never recovered from that botched call.
What makes matters worse is that this sort of shoddy officiating is becoming all too common in the NFL. The Carolina Panthers were similarly robbed of a win against the Dallas Cowboys this week due to bad refereeing. And last weekend the Detroit Lions were pretty blatantly cheated out of a win versus the Baltimore Ravens.
In Week 1, an official seemingly got busted on a hot mic literally making up a call. That’s how egregious things have gotten.
Yikes Urban Meyer. That hand went all the way in.https://t.co/liCVzOt3tz
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 4, 2021
Is it really all that surprising that some folks legitimately felt like they saw Sean Payton pay off a ref mid-game? That’s what happens when the integrity of a sport is suddenly thrown into question.
The NFL needs to step in and do something pronto. The honor of the sport is on the line here. If something doesn’t change, and quickly, football may never recover.