NFL officiating has been called into question often this season, but none as egregious as today. Vita Vea went to make a play on the quarterback and should've gotten an illegal hands-to-the-face call in his favor. Yet when he looked at the official, the penalty flag stayed in his pocket.
Midway through the first quarter, the Tennessee Titans were driving down the field in search of their first points on the day. The defensive line of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had other plans, as they collapsed the pocket and sacked Titans rookie quarterback Will Levis. It appeared to be a routine sack play made by a dominant defensive lineman in the NFL: Vita Vea.
However, when the CBS camera cut to the close-up shot of Vea after his sack, Vea's helmet was completely sideways on his face and Vea could barely see. The official was standing right beside Vea and looking at him, yet he did not throw a flag for an illegal hands to the face on the offense. Vita Vea is one of the NFL's superstars, and they should be cognisant that a player of his caliber is more likely to have penalties committed against him. The blatant disregard for the penalty is not only frustrating to the fans, but it could also increase the risk of injury to the players. Penalties are there for a reason, and Vea looking at the official through the ear hole on his helmet is a pretty clear indicator that a penalty has happened.
VITA VEA ?
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) November 12, 2023
The Titans would ultimately kick a field goal on the drive to give them their only three points in the game, but the bigger issue is the lack of consistent officiating in the NFL. The NFL has had an officiating problem for years, and it turns fans away from their product if the fans do not believe that officiating is fair and equal across all the teams.
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