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Monday, December 5, 2011
Please stop sending me the Ballard photo

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

The only fans who complain about calls not going their way are fans of the team that lost. Every NFL game -- heck, every sporting event that uses carbon-based life forms as officials -- has good calls, bad calls and calls that could have easily gone the other way. New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin says he's "sick to his stomach" about this photo that GM Jerry Reese showed him of a play on which Jake Ballard was ruled out of bounds in the end zone in Sunday's loss to the Packers, and I'd venture to say that more than 100 of you have sent me a link to this photo on Twitter.

Please stop. I've seen it. And yeah, in that photo, it looks like he's in bounds. In other shots from other angles we all saw Sunday, it looked as though he was out. It was close, and none of us actually knows whether he was in or out. Fact is, he was called out in a game that features human officials with an imperfect instant replay system backing them up. And in such a game, calls are going to be missed. Giants fans are also upset about a Greg Jennings touchdown catch that could have been ruled a non-catch according to the "Calvin Johnson rule," even though officiating guru Mike Pereira said on Twitter on Sunday that the rule only applies to a player going to the ground to make a catch.

Look. I know Giants fans are upset. I understand it would have been awesome to see your team beat the unbeaten Packers. Heck, I'd have loved to write it. Great story. But it's insane to think the officials cost the Giants the game. The Packers have won 18 games in a row, one of which was a Super Bowl. To think that they would need help from some kind of officiating conspiracy to beat the Giants is the height of arrogance and paranoia.

Officiating calls are like the weather. They affect both teams and you can do nothing about them. No matter how egregious you may think a missed call is, the players and coaches in the game always have the opportunity to overcome it. Such was the case with the Giants on Sunday, whether those calls were accurate and fair or not. And they lost. Time to move on, folks. You too, Messrs. Reese and Coughlin.