Unlike every other professional sport in North America, pro football does not provide full-time employment to its officials. As a result, it does not hold referees to the same standard of excellence found in other sports. For example, even if an official has a pattern of making inaccurate calls in game after game, he still won't be demoted. In fact, he can actually be promoted to a postseason opportunity because there is no threat of unemployment. In other words: A player can make one poor play and get cut, but a referee can make the same mistake over and over and be rewarded.
Tony Romo is not going to win the NFL MVP this season, that much is clear. There are too many other great quarterbacks having monstrous seasons: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck, to name a few. And his teammate in the Dallas Cowboys backfield, running back DeMarco Murray, is firmly in the conversation as well. But at 34 years young, Romo, fresh off his second serious back surgery, is enjoying the best season of his illustrious (if highly criticized) career, and he has most definitely earned the right to be at least in the conversation about MVPs and elite quarterbacks.
It was "too fresh" in August or maybe September, but this is December, where the playoffs are decided. Pettine's choice of vernacular is downright laughable and inexcusable, and a reminder that he remains out of his league, quite literally. Johnny Manziel may not turn out to be the savior for the Browns, but now is the time to find out. The clock is ticking on the Browns season.