Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has a bone to pick with NFL referees and how they officiate games, especially close games.
On Tuesday, Irsay took to Twitter to explain what the NFL told him after the Colts’ 39-38 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. They were beaten after a string of controversial calls late on which extended the Browns' final drive before they scored a game-winning touchdown.
“The NFL admits and understands that they did not make the correct calls at end of Sunday’s Colts/Browns Game,” Irsay said. “I believe we need to institute Instant Replay for all calls, including Penalties, in the last two minutes of All Games.”
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For a team owner to reveal what the NFL told them regarding officiating and outcomes typically is unheard of. That said, for Irsay to take umbrage with how the game ended makes sense.
Nursing a tight lead in the fourth quarter, the Colts were called for two penalties that would have put the game out of reach. Instead, the Browns were able to capitalise on the penalties to escape with a one-point win after a drive by Nick Harris at fourth and goal.
Instead of improving to 4-3, Indianapolis dropped to 3-4 – only one game ahead of the Tennessee Titans – while the Browns improved to 4-2 on the season, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for second in the AFC North.
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Does the NFL need to update their replay system? Comment down below.
Whether or not Irsay’s comments will force the NFL to act and improve its replay system is another topic altogether. As it stands, the league has been attempting to improve the replay system in hopes of keeping the game as objective as possible, even if teams might not like the call.
As a way to improve the officiating, in 2021 the NFL expanded its replay rule to allow officials and other members of the officiating department to assist referees in specific situations.
If a call is debatable, officials in the NFL’s league office in New York will be allowed to assist the officials on the field to make the correct ruling on the play, per the league’s football operations website.
The rule applies to most plays and can help determine where exactly a penalty occurred, which team gets proper possession of a loose ball, whether a pass was incomplete and so on.
Despite the NFL constantly improving its replay rules, it remains to be seen if the league will take Irsay’s comments and make even more changes, especially since fans have consistently taken to social media to complain about the lack of consistency when it comes to officiating.
If no changes are made, expect more players, coaches and owners to speak out about the inconsistent rulings on various plays. The Colts look to snap their two-game losing streak when Indianapolis faces off against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.