Too many flags flying these days/Paul Peterson

Like the autumn leaves in early October, the flags just keep on falling this football season.

And I’m not just talking about the National Football League where penalty flags are now thrown on virtually every play.

Even in some high school games, there are far too many penalties being called.

But I won’t single out any particular group of refs working prep games. The large majority of them do very capable jobs in a field where demand is high … and the pay is relatively low.

Now, college and professional referees are a different story, altogether.

They’re not only being paid well, but they are often in the national spotlight.

Take last Saturday night’s Michigan State at Notre Dame matchup. In a tight game that could have swung either way, the zebras had a huge impact on the outcome.

There were at least four pass interference calls against the Spartans that were highly questionable to say the least.

The final one set up the touchdown that gave the homestanding Fighting Irish a narrow decision.

There have been several other college games this season that have also swung on a peculiar call or two. And some of those calls were made by officials who had a conference affiliation with the winning team.

The National Football League has turned into the No Fun League because of a set of bizarre rule changes in recent years and their interpretation by officials.

Take the helmet-to-head rule that has been implemented this season.

Certain officials enforce the rule, while others ignore it. And some refs throw the flag even when a defender makes a tackle that “looks” suspicious.

And then there’s the infamous “Calvin Johnson Rule,” which says that a receiver must possess a catch all the way to the ground. In Johnson’s case, he was literally on his way to his feet when the call, which cost the Lions a win, was made.

In a twist of irony, Detroit benefitted from the rule on Sunday when a Redskins’ receiver had a touchdown reversed. But that call was much clearer than the one made on Megatron.

The other night I was trying to watch a NFL game in which penalty flags flew on nine consecutive plays. I finally gave up and switched to the History Channel.

If the NFL doesn’t wise up and make some changes, many other fans may be following suit …