I will start this post by explicitly stating that I don't think the 49ers lost either of the last two games because of the referees. They lost the games for other reasons (they were outcoached, outmanned in the trenches, etc.), and, frankly, the referees are simply a small piece of that puzzle. You may disagree. In fact, I've seen many people who have disagreed in the comments section. And, of course, I think a lot of these comments make sense, even if I disagree with their conclusions.
All this said, I wanted to move the debate forward in a new direction. So far, the majority of comments in previous articles have been evaluating different penalties from the Cardinals game. And, this has been a valuable conversation, I think. Particularly given the fact that people, citing Patrick Willis' hit on Drew Stanton and the sack of Colin Kaepernick that occurred around his knees, have pointed out how inconsistent the calls have been during the same game.
This leads to the point I wanted to make: if we try to step back from out 49er fandom and treat the recent games as examples of NFL games rather than a 49ers game, I think we have to draw the conclusion that this sport is not doing well. Frankly, these penalties are making the "entertainment" portion of the game very difficult to perceive. Even when a flag was thrown in response to some ticky-tacky penalty that the opposing team committed, I was bummed out. The small consolation prize that something advantageous had happened for my team was not enough to overcome watching horrible officiating.
Recently, I've been quite critical of the NFL for a variety of reasons, mainly relating to Roger Goodell's handling of the Ray Rice scandal. But, I must say, the NFL is facing more problems than that scandal, and as a fan of the sport I feel compelled to hold the NFL to task in whatever way I can because the sport will not last if the officials cannot be effective. When the game is constantly being interrupted by penalties that aren't actually occurring - no matter if they are one-sided or not - the game is, well, being constantly interrupted. We aren't watching a sport anymore, but the most boring courtroom drama on television.
So, I wonder, have you found the sport to be as undercut by the constant penalties as I have? Can you separate your subjective fandom from your objective view of the sport? At what point do we need to recognize that penalties are hurting the game? And, though we've already talked about how feasible reviews might be, are there solutions to this problem?