Poor play, referee-controlled games turning NFL fans away

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In vintage Super Bowl fashion, the sparsely-acclaimed Super Bowl of Suck resulted in a good old-fashioned blowout: Buffalo 45, San Francisco 16. Hey, Bills fans finally got their Super Bowl! *Bills fans exit column

Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy got his revenge on Chip Kelly and Colin Kaepernick looked slower and unable to regain the form he showed when he took over for Alex Smith and the Jim Harbaugh-coached 49ers.

Yeah, that was a long time ago in football years.

The best game of the day, Atlanta at Seattle, ended in controversy when Richard Sherman got away with pass interference on Julio Jones late in the game. If pass interference wasn’t a spot foul, I would bet the refs would have called the penalty. It’s something the League should consider. Either way, the outcome is shrouded in officiating.

The AFC South has been putting on mediocre-to-poor football for years. That’s a polite way to say it but I don’t want to lose the AFC South audience, either.

It’s as if the Colts and Texans are a poor attempt of a remake of New England and Seattle. If MacGyver can reboot with no Richard Dean Anderson (and mullet), I guess it’s only fair to have AFC South impostors on during primetime.

You can’t spin the SNF ratings hitting a five-year low. The game went to overtime. This wasn’t a blowout, Houston 26, Indy 23.

Then there’s Monday Night Football, New York Jets at Arizona Cardinals.

At one point in the third quarter, the officials threw the 17 17th flag of the game. “If you’re looking for reasons why TV ratings are down, this doesn’t help,” said ESPN broadcaster Sean McDonough.

I’ve been banging this drum since I got to Sporting News last month. I banged this drum at previous stops on the Web and in radio over the last five years. Now national broadcasters are calling it the way it is. Unfortunately, the League gives no inclination that it will listen.

This is a real problem. And this has been going on for years. Yet no one in the League cares. The refs dictate the pace of the game. If fans have trouble sitting through it, imagine trying to play through it.

Or imagine that at your office, you begin typing your TPS reports and have to stop and start over because an old man in a zebra-striped shirt says you did it wrong. Constantly. Or he says that Linda in HR did it wrong and you still have to start over.

It would kill your vibes and workflow, wouldn’t it?

Referee-controlled games, poor play on the field, over-saturated coverage of political and off-field stories, over-exposure, evolutionary shifts to digital media consumption … it’s a perfect storm.

That doesn’t mean the NFL can’t improve things that it can control.

But the League just doesn’t care. Or doesn’t get it. Or both.

Pat Imig is a featured host of “We Are Live!” on 590 The Fan in St. Louis. He got flagged for four false start penalties in the making of this story. Tweet him @patrickimig or Email