How many players can compare what the NFL was like 20 years ago to what it’s like right now? The answer is not many. In fact, it’s currently two: John Kasay and Brett Favre.
So I had the chance to sit down with Favre last week and talk football, and we had an interesting conversation about what has changed in the league during his career.
When I asked Favre what he has seen over that time, he said there’s no doubt that players have gotten bigger, faster and stronger. But he also said something else interesting — that the role of the officials and their calls made on the field are changing the outcome of games more than ever.
Favre said that when he entered the league, he clearly knew what a catch was. Right now, he isn’t certain. He also doesn’t know what exactly pass interference is anymore.
I thought this was phenomenal.
We also talked about the ruling against Visanthe Shiancoe in the end zone against the Packers on Oct. 24. It was ruled a catch on the field, overturned via replay, and then an apology was later issued because it should have been a catch. But from Favre’s view, they still lost the game.
In talking about players being bigger, faster and stronger, one of the roles of replay was supposed to slow things down on the field for officials. The players move so much faster than they did 20 years ago.
I absolutely agree with Favre. When I entered the league, there was no replay as part of the officiating. Whatever happened on the field, you had to get over it and move on. And there was no going back and looking at it weeks later and complaining. You just had to man up.
But I will say that I never felt like the officials ever cost us a game. It would be disappointing to feel like you won a game but the officials changed the outcome. For the most part, replay is getting it right. But when they use replay to slow the game down and still get it wrong, it’s disturbing. There are many players around the league who talk about this trend.
It would just leave me sick, and I think Favre felt that way after the loss this season at Lambeau Field.
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