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Flagging the Flag Begging

That's got to be bad for the wrist. I mean, once in a while, but so much? Every game, every possession, every pass - that's got to be bad for the wrist. And man is it an eyesore.

The NFL, obsessed with its image, fiercely protective of its credibility, has allowed one dirty habit to assume epidemic proportions: Flag begging. Wide receivers cry foul on almost every coverage. One might wonder if Terrell Owens believes it even possible to cover him without committing pass interference. It's unsightly and unsportsmanlike, but worse, sometimes it seemingly works. As ugly as flag begging is, when a wide receiver pantomimes penalty and the official, for whatever reason, then throws a penalty flag, it's not just ugly, it hurts the officiating crew's credibility. It hurts the NFL's credibility.

I don't believe officials are biased. They do make mistakes. Over a course of a season, every team will suffer its share. Over the course of a lifetime, every fan will experience the sickening feeling of having a game stolen from them. That's probability, sometimes things bunch up. A streak of bad calls against one team, in one game, isn't any more extraordinary or corrupt than a streak of incomplete passes by Matt Hasselbeck. It happens. Sometimes heads comes up six times straight. It happens.

But football players openly petitioning officials for penalty flags doesn't have to. Put an end to it NFL. Make it a fifteen yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Take it off the field. Give your officials a fighting chance at credibility.