You can’t rewrite sports history

Every one of us rationalize defeat each Sunday in the National Football League. A common refrain this week from Minnesota Vikings fans is that their team was deprived of a victory by missed calls by the officials. If that makes a grieving fan feel better, than I’m all for it, but it is impossible to extrapolate two missed calls in the second quarter to the desired result of a Viking win.

The obvious flaw is every subsequent play would have been different leading to a cumulative effect of 100 different scenarios that we will never be able to ascertain. From coaches’ play calling to decisions to go for it on fourth down instead of punting, every nuance would have to be accounted for. It simply is impossible.

One could make that argument if you were a Detroit Lions fan when wide receiver Calvin Johnson was deprived of a game-winning touchdown pass reception in week one versus the Chicago Bears as that missed call happened almost right at the end of the game. However, even then there was a slight possibility that the Bears could have miraculously pulled out a victory.

There must be hundreds of decisions each game by referees as they decide whether to call an infraction or not on each play involving 22 different players. The obvious conclusion is that there is going to undoubtedly be many missed calls as much is open to interpretation, timing and position on the field in relation to the ball carrier.

To those who cry out against missed calls, we Packers fans share your pain. The Bears game on Monday night had many shaking their heads at calls or non-calls. The overtime loss to the Washington Redskins was troubling too as Aaron Rodgers was concussed by an illegal hit on his interception throw in overtime that led to the defeat. The penalty on the Packers for lining up over the center on a punt against Miami was misinterpreted as well. One can see numerous missed calls each week on the highlight shows as the league seemingly leaves more decisions open to interpretation that increases the likelihood of anger and confusion.

We can all lament the officiating that prevails in the National Football League. However, we simply cannot use this argument to speak with certainty about the possible outcome of a game that belies the fact of the final score. There is no place for rewriting history in the NFL. As they say, “it is what it is.”

Tim Bouvine may be reached at

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