The NFL fined New Orleans Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson for an illegal hit on Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kalif Raymond that wasn’t flagged.
On Saturday, the NFL confirmed what we all knew already: Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kalif Raymond was the victim of an illegal hit that completely changed the course of the Week 16 game against the New Orleans Saints.
Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson was fined $28,075 by the NFL for unnecessary roughness after his illegal hit to the head of Raymond, which was never flagged.
Not only did Raymond end up getting a concussion that is forcing him to miss the Week 17 game against the Houston Texans, the play resulted in a fumble that created a huge swing in the contest.
Thanks to another example of officiating ineptitude, the Saints were able to return the fumble to the Titans’ 25-yard line, only to score just a handful of plays later to take a 38-28 lead.
Had the hit been flagged, Raymond’s fumble wouldn’t have stood and instead the Titans would have had the ball at the Saints’ 47-yard line with a ton of momentum and only trailing by a field goal.
Thankfully for Tennessee, the loss to New Orleans didn’t end up greatly affecting its playoff chances, as the Pittsburgh Steelers lost their game with the New York Jets to give Tennessee control of its own destiny.
Of course, officials missing blatant penalties is nothing new. Just about every team has experienced such a situation multiple times at some point this season.
It’s a microcosm of a much larger problem that currently plagues the NFL, and it’s simply unacceptable for officials to wreck games like they have. And what’s even worse, players like Raymond are hurt with no consequences being dished out on the field.
The head referee for the game, Jerome Boger, is notorious for doing a poor job. He and his crew should be ashamed for missing the illegal hit on Raymond, and it’s further evidence that this crew shouldn’t be officiating games in the NFL, let alone important ones.