Through two weeks of NFL action, the league has been dealing with what has been deemed as an officiating crisis. More and more holding penalties are being called, which was put on national display Thursday night, and fans and teams alike are growing frustrated with the multitude of missed calls and officiating errors. Even Tom Brady turned off a game due to irritation at the penalties.
According to the NFL Network, the league officials have actually reached out after one egregious mistake to explain that they were wrong. They reportedly called Denver Broncos general manager John Elway to say that the controversial roughing the passer penalty on defender Bradley Chubb was "dead wrong." This play should not have been a penalty that awarded the Chicago Bears with 15 extra yards.
On the play in question, Broncos defender Bradley Chubb came rushing off the left side of the line and hit Bears quarterback, Mitch Trubisky in the back as he was throwing the football.
Bears should be thankful for winning because Bradley Chubb got called for roughing the passer on this CLEAN hit
NATIONAL FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE pic.twitter.com/JEFcSC4rf0— Abdul Memon (@abdulamemon) September 15, 2019
Somehow, the pass was completed to Trubisky's target, Trey Burton, for a five-yard gain. However, the referees tacked on a roughing the passer penalty, which moved the Bears from a second-and-five on the 30-yard line to a first-and-10 on their own 45.
This play may or may not have decided the game's outcome, but it most certainly aided the Bears in their game-winning drive. Instead of having to travel 30-35 yards in only 24 seconds to set up the last-second field goal, Trubisky and his team only had to go 15 yards. That's a big difference for a team that routinely struggles to move the ball through the air.
Elway will be happy to hear that the league is admitting their mistakes, but this is a decidedly bittersweet moment. On one hand, this is a sign that the officials are dedicated to making improvements with their calls, but it ultimately doesn't matter to the Broncos. This team is now in an 0-2 hole and sit at the bottom of the AFC West. Having the officials admit a mistake won't change that fact.
The Bears, on the other hand, are 1-1 and currently in contention for the NFC North. Losing to the Broncos would have put them at 0-2 and fourth place in the division, but they are now tied with the Minnesota Vikings.
Ultimately, this loss may not directly impact the Broncos season outlook, but it will constantly serve as a frustrating reminder for Elway and co. that it's never beneficial to let the referees decide the outcome of a game.