What started as a great night of Monday Night Football ended with a sick feeling in my stomach, as if I had just been a witness to some sort of a crime. I am a fan of football, all kinds of football – High School, College, the NFL; I just love the game and the stories the game produces. I am not a fan of Green Bay or Seattle. (I have to admit I was enjoying watching DJ Smith for Green Bay and a recent Appalachian State graduate continue to defy the odds as a “too small from a small college player” have a great game) I had no dog in the hunt but the last 5 minutes of that game were a nightmare. It seemed like each bad call was replaced by a worse call; culminating in a horrible game winning touchdown that was pretty clearly an interception. You had one official slowly signaling touchdown, another signaling a clock stopping touchback, standing only a few feet from each other and both looking at the same thing. I remember thinking surely the replay officials will get this right, the game cannot end with this kind of horrible call, but it was explained that the replay officials cannot review who is in possession of the ball and the play stood. Touchdown; Seattle wins. Like many across the country (except a few Seahawk fans) I sat in disbelief as the Packers ran off the field and the Seahawk fans celebrated. I had planned on going to bed; it was after midnight, but I wanted to hear what the commentators thought. Yet, the sick feeling persisted.
If you are a sports fan, in the next couple of days you are going to hear plenty of blame, wailing and gnashing of teeth. It is the “replacement referees” fault or maybe the “NFL establishment” because they had not settled this mess after several weeks of horrible calls. Green Bay should have never allowed it to come to a last minute play and they deserved to lose. Seattle and Golden Tate (the receiver who was awarded the touchdown – after a horrible and obvious offensive pass interference call) was just doing what any receiver would have done. All of the rationalizations, all of the excuses; it won’t change the outcome, it won’t change the record. Seattle won the game and Green Bay lost. A Green Bay interception was a Seattle touchdown.
After a night to digest the whole scenario, I have come to a new and different conclusion; Why not? Why should I be surprised that something I felt could clearly be interpreted only one way not be determined differently? It is just a logical extension and perfect example of where our society has been headed for the last several years. We continue to have leaders and politicians tell us that up is down and down us up; what we once felt was wrong is now right, and what has always been right is now wrong. If you shout it loud enough and long enough, make enough rationalizations and mock those that disagree; it eventually becomes the “truth”. Half of the stadium believes it is an interception and the visual evidence, rules and history seem to back it up. While the other half celebrates a touchdown and clings to whatever emotional rationalizations fit their intended outcome. Too deep for a football game; too political for a preacher? As I was praying this morning, I reread the Apostle Paul’s warning to his young protégé Timothy in his second letter to him. (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine (truth). Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a number of great teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”. The Message Bible interprets verse 4 “They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages”. I like that; “chasing mirages.” Webster’s dictionary defines a mirage as “something that appears to be real but is not”. Sound familiar? It seems to me that we are rapidly moving towards a society that enjoys chasing and following mirages; which would be fine as long as they were content to go it alone. The problem arises when they begin to mock and denigrate anyone who is not willing to follow their folly. Paul’s warning was just as true 2000 years ago as it is today. You can draw your own conclusions, as for me I am taking Paul’s advice as he continues in verse 5 to Timothy “But you, keep your head”. It was an interception - Green Bay was robbed!