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Mike Vandermause column: Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress should worry less about refs, more about doing his job

10:11 PM, Oct. 27, 2010  |  Comments
The Insiders: Season 4, episode 8
The Insiders: Season 4, episode 8: The Insiders look toward the New York Jets game as they struggle to control their Rex Ryan-style language.
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To put it bluntly, Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress believes officials screwed his team out of a victory on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers.

"That's the worst officiated game I've seen," said Childress, who was slapped with a $35,000 fine by the NFL for his candor.

You'll have to pardon Packers players for not feeling sorry for Childress on Wednesday, or offering to give back their hard-fought win.

"No way, we've had our share of calls that we felt were in the opposite direction, so definitely no sympathy from me," Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji said.

Childress said league officials informed him Visanthe Shiancoe's second-quarter touchdown catch for the Vikings shouldn't have been overturned, and Andrew Quarless' second-quarter touchdown reception for the Packers was an incomplete pass. Flip those calls and the Vikings, not the Packers, would have won 28-24.

Cornerback Tramon Williams knows how it feels to get hosed by a bad call or three.

"We know what it's like, so it's not anything surprising to us," Williams said. "We got the bad end of the stick almost every week so I can see how you feel that way. But it happens. It's the NFL. We get it all the time."

A phantom special teams penalty contributed to the Packers' overtime loss against Miami. A helmet-to-helmet hit on quarterback Aaron Rodgers that wasn't called led to another overtime defeat against Washington. Perhaps the mostly costly officiating gaffe for the Packers occurred last January in the playoffs, when the Arizona Cardinals weren't called for a face-mask penalty on the game-winning defensive touchdown in overtime.

To their credit, the Packers have kept their criticism of officials mostly to themselves. Childress, however, couldn't bite his tongue after Sunday's game. He was particularly infuriated by the Shiancoe call.

"The litmus is 50 drunks in a bar, those 50 drunks say that's a catch and 50 writers in this room, you may be drunk too, but it's a catch," Childress said.

The implication that inebriated stumblebums can see better than NFL officials no doubt cost Childress some cash. But his public tongue-lashing of officials also seemed calculated. Similar to a basketball coach that deliberately draws a technical foul, Childress has to be hoping his team receives some make-up calls down the road. If that happens, his fine will be money well spent.

The Packers have taken a more conventional approach by filing formal reports to the league office. Until Sunday, their restraint only led to more bad calls. For a change, they found themselves on the good side of some controversial calls.

Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga, for one, takes a hands-off approach to officiating.

"Nothing you can do about it," Bulaga said. "The call's the call and that's how it's going to be. If it's bad it's bad, and if it's good it's good. It's going to be bad for someone and good for someone. That's just the way it goes every week. The refs do their best job out there and that's that."

Or to put it another way, the less time players and coaches spend worrying about officials, the more energy they have to focus on doing their jobs.

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