The Greg One will forever be a homer for his alma mater, North Carolina State University. NCSU is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, where your intrepid reporter was born, raised and attended college. San Diego Chargers fans already has a great link to NCSU in our future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Philip Rivers. As an alum, I will always root for fellow Wolfpack to succeed in the NFL. Mario Williams, Torry Holt, Rivers, Adrian Wilson, Manny Lawson and Andre Brown are among Wolfpack to make their names in the NFL. Now there is one more name to add, a name we should ALL have at the top of our lists no matter who we root for.
Russell Wilson is touted as a Wisconsin Badger because he did play his senior year at Wisconsin. What no one mentions is Wilson played his first three years of college football at NCSU. That would be the equivalent of remembering Joe Montana as a Kansas City Chief instead of a 49er. Wilson made his name as an N.C. State quarterback but no one looks at college players in that regard. The Greg One does and will always look for him to do great things and he may have had his career defining moment three games into his NFL career. With one hail mary that was caught in the end zone..
Russell Wilson has saved the NFL.
The ongoing NFL referee strike has resulted in replacement referees trying to manage the most competitive, physical game in American sports. Watching these games, these referees have been greatly overmatched and overwhelmed by the speed of the game, the intensity of the players and the uncertainty of the rules. Simple things such as where to spot the ball, determining possession, which way to look when addressing a penalty (facing the crowd instead of the camera) are just a small sample of a major problem. The time of the game has been out of control, the pace and control of the games has gotten out of hand. We watch the games because we have no choice. We wait all year for the NFL to begin and we sadly have no control in getting the replacement refs off the field other than turning off our tv’s in such a huge volume over a consistent period of time the NFL has to take notice. We all know that won’t happen. So, we wait and hope for the storm to pass and can only watch as the damage unfolds, getting greater and greater by the week. It would take a catastrophic event to change the NFL’s perception that the replacements are doing fine, all things considered.
That event just happened.
On Monday Night Football, the most watched game of the week before a nationwide audience, a call so bad occurred that the league has to go back to the bargaining table with the locked out referees with the utmost sense of urgency. Now a starting rookie with Seattle, Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted in the end zone by Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings. Seattle’s wide receiver Golden Tate got his hands on the ball as Jennings came down. One replacement referee called it a touchback while a second referee called a touchdown. The touchdown stood, was reviewed, upheld and the Packers were cost the win due to a wrong call. Before the pass itself comes into the equation, Tate shoved a Packers player out of the way to allow himself room to make a play.The shove, right in front of the referee, should have been called offensive pass interference and the game should have been over regardless of who caught the ball. Now the outrage from the national and social media, fans, and more notably NFL players have spoken out.
Chargers fans are not unfamiliar with a referee costing their team a win as evidenced by the Ed Hochuli call a few season ago against the Broncos but the fact that this even had a chance to occur is unforgivable. If the Packers miss out on the playoffs by one game, guess which game they will hearken back to. By then, the referees in charge of that decision will be long gone but a serious Super Bowl contender, and its rabid fan base, will be out of the picture. In a division with the Bears, Lions and a conference as tough as the NFC making it will be no cinch coming out of the chute at 1-2 after three games.
The integrity of the game has been compromised. Player safety, the two biggest buzzwords during the players strike, has been called into question. The ability of the replacement referees and the overall viewability of the games themselves has been in question since preseason. One Russell Wilson pass, viewed by the world on Monday night, will change the landscape of the NFL moving forward. Golden Tate gets no credit because he was the beneficiary of the bad decision and at no point caught the ball. The Greg One predicts this move is the breaking point even the league can’t deny and a deal will be reached by this weekend and the real referees will be back on the field in week five.
God Bless N.C. State athletes.
And thank you, Russell Wilson, for saving the NFL.