FOX's Troy Aikman says new pass interference rules, player safety concerns make job impossible for NFL refs.
After another Sunday with more missed calls, wrong calls and bad calls, Troy Aikman dropped some harsh words regarding the NFL's officiating situation on the latest episode of the SI Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina.
Aikman, who called Sunday's Saints-Rams game with Joe Buck, saw New Orleans get robbed of a defensive touchdown when a Cam Jordan fumble recovery was ruled dead because referees had blown the whistle after initially calling the play an incomplete pass.
When asked if the poor officiating has become an issue with referees getting calls wrong more and more, Aikman did not pull any punches.
"At a time when the league and sport is trying to do all that it can to get the calls right, there's more controversy than there's ever been before. I've never been a fan of instant replay. I didn't like it when I was playing and I didn't like it when it returned when the votes were made years ago to make instant replay part of our game. I just think that for the most part, the officials were doing a good job, there were times when I was impacted by the wrong calls and there were times I benefited from the wrong calls. I think over time, it evens itself out."
Aikman continued, saying, "I like what Bill Parcells said back at the time. If we can get all the calls right all the time, then he was in favor of it, but if we can't, then he was not. Now we're reviewing pass interference. That's only complicated things from the fan's perspective. OK, well, why isn't that pass interference? Why isn't that called? It's put these officials in a really tough position. They're gun shy, to be quite honest with you. The scrutiny has never been as intense as it is right now.
"I don't know how they correct it because I think in a lot of ways it's hard to go backwards. Instant replay is definitely a part of our game. I don't think we can ever just not have that. But we keep adding things to it. In addition to that, we keep adding player safety rules, which I'm all for player safety, but it's hard, it's become really hard to call a game. I'm sure it's maddening to watch a game with all the penalties. It's rare that a play happens when there isn't some kind of penalty that's thrown. It's nauseating from my perspective and I don' think anyone, I don' think those in the game like it and I certainly don't think the fans like it."
Aikman also went onto explain how the onslaught of flags affect his telecast.
"What I mean is, the volume of penalties, it just ruins the flow of a game. It ruins the flow of a broadcast. Every single time after a play when you're starting to talk about something, then you gotta stop and everyting comes to a halt because you gotta hear what the officials are calling, what the penalty is and how it's being administered. There are very few games where I'm not just totally, I guess, disturbed, is the right way to say it, with the number of penalties that come out."
In addition to discussing the NFL's officiating problems, Aikman also talked about what it's been like to work with Joe Buck for nearly 20 years, the narrative that he's biased for the Cowboys, the trouble he got into after blasting colleague, Doug Gottlieb on Twitter over the Andrew Luck retirement and much more.