“Roughing the passer,” the referee said. “Fifteen yard penalty.”
Falcons fans cheered. Steelers fans jeered.
Falcons fans saw T.J. Watt, the sack leader this season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, attempting to tackle their quarterback low. That’s illegal.
Steelers fans saw T.J. Watt intentionally trying not to hit the quarterback, and falling at his feet instead.
Watching the same play, Falcons fans saw malicious and dirty football and Steelers fans saw safety-first self-restraint. The same guy was both a hero to people waving yellow towels and a villain to the ones wearing red.
They voted along party lines, booing what’s bad for their team and cheering what’s bad for the other team. It’s this way every time a flag is thrown. And not just in football games.
Let’s don’t be fans. Let’s be rational. And when the slow-motion replay is inconclusive? Say so. And, hey, this is radical: Maybe even admit when your team screws up and the other team makes a great play.