Jason Whitlock on poor officiating in Wild Card games: ‘The referees are overburdened’

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Greg Jennings and Tony Gonzalez join Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd to discuss the poor officiating in NFL Wild Card games, especially Kansas City vs Tennessee.

- --did the officiating overshadows the games?

- To some degree, yes. And I want to defend the officials, including Jeff Triplette whose crew I thought was incompetent. I'm going to defend them. There's too much on their plate.

- Yes.

- The game-- they're thinking too much. I know what Jeff Triplette was thinking on that Derrick Johnson hit. I've got to protect the quarterback. Protect the quarterback. That's the most important thing. And so he blows his whistle inadvertently trying to protect the quarterback. Then you go to the other sack fumble that he just blew the whistle too quick. The referees are overburdened. If you have that much to think about, there's no way you can do your job at a high level consistently. The game has to be simplified. Some of this burden has to be taken off the referees. They just have way too much on their plate.

- I thought the officiating in this game was awful, but I didn't think it overshadowed the game because I think when the game was over there were two clear storylines. Andy Reid blew a huge lead, and Marcus Mariota had his moment. He was unbelievable at the end of that game. And so, the third story was, God the officiating was bad.

- Not if you're from Kansas City.

- Forward progress--

- Yeah that one was--

- Forward progress--

- The NFL's a plane, and the manufacturers have made the cockpit too complicated for the pilots, and so you're having more problems and crashes. Like, I do feel that your point-- I mean, I was watching that game and I didn't understand-- going to Twitter. I don't understand forward motion. Like, I didn't get it.

- Its safety is now paramount in everyone's mind more than competition.

- Yes.

- The referees are there to protect the integrity of the competition. Now they're there to protect the safety of the players. Impossible job.

- I agree with you 100%. I think that they've been asked to do a job that they shouldn't have to do. Even when you think about replays you're placing the game-deciding moments in the refs hands. Not even on the field, in New York. So you're telling them, OK you decide the game. But in this game, when you talk about forward progress and all these-- yes, they're thinking about too much. And they're thinking about protecting players, and you got to play football. This game has been always played with competition and we'll figure out the rest later. Now they're blowing the whistle early. They're making calls too soon, and it's changing the outcomes of games. I don't think that they overshadowed the game, but they're impacting the games in not the right way, right now.

- Well, obviously, being a Kansas City former player-- and my heart was with them, I think they got hosed as far as I'm concerned. And you never know. When we miss a call like that-- and I know Andy Reid blew the lead and all that stuff, but you never know what could happen after that. Once they get that ball back, they get it rolling. It's always woulda, coulda, shoulda. But I think this goes back to the bigger issue of the whole NFL as a whole. This big multi-billion dollar business that every year-- I always wonder. Like, every year they come out with the new rules, and new this and they're changing this and they're changing that. I'm always like, why are you messing with it? Just keep it the way it is. It's popular. Why are you mess-- I get making it a little bit safer, but you're right. It's just too much. It just-- if it ain't broke, why fix it? They're tweaking it too much. They got too many people on the payroll out there. Just get back to our game.

- It's like comedy can't be too smart. If you have to explain the joke to me, it's not funny. I mean, at some point a joke, you tell it, I get it, I laugh. Football now is, we play. I ponder what's legal and not. You're ruining the play. The game is too-- it's too compli-- and we're sportscasters.

- Because they hired all these people. They have all these people working there. It's their job to do that.

- It's the media, though. To me the media has-- don't worry about the competition. Let's make football all about, is everybody safe? Do we do this in other sports? And we'll get to this later when we talk about Cam. But in boxing and UFC, are you, oh my God, he's been hit hard. Let's take him to the locker room and we'll continue the fight afterwards. It's a combat sport, and again, you can't have Jeff Triplett and these officials out there. Because again, they used to officiate the game and not be that worried about player safety. Take care of your own self. We've got trainers to do that. Now we're telling the ref, you better-- is he dizzy? Take him out of the game, ref. Make sure he doesn't get hit here. Make sure, you know, again they need to protect the integrity of the competition, and let other people worry about safety.