I thought I’d spend a few minutes today on a total side-topic from our regular federal budget woes, Obama’s complete amateurism in foreign policy* (and claiming that Romney & Ryan have less experience), sequestration, and all that other nonsense to talk FOOTBALL!
GorT is a fan of a number of professional league sports Football, Soccer (particularly English Premier League and the Euro Cup…although I’ve been known to flip on a Women’s College game here and there), and NHL Hockey. We can save the debates over which sports is the &#@@AWESOMEST#!@!@ and for the sake of the remainder of this post, let’s leave out the your-team-sucks types of dialog.
In each of these sports, and many others, referees generally bear a brunt of complaints – missed calls, favoring one team or the other, etc. and in some cases this is well justified. GorT was a certified referee in college for a major university’s intramural program. I refereed flag football, basketball, and soccer. As part of the certification training you learn quickly that you need to make a judgement call quickly and with conviction. Refs who take too long or are weak-kneed when challenged about their call tend to be discounted and not believed. At the pace of the games, particularly football and basketball – but even soccer for an offsides call – the referee has about 1.5 seconds to evaluate what he or she sees, determine the proper call, and signal/flag the call with the appropriate action (whistle, flag, arm gesture, etc.). I continue to referee to this day in our kids’ school’s intramural flag football program and the same rules apply.
I present all of this solely to focus on the Redskins vs. Rams NFL game from yesterday afternoon. Excerpts from this game should be required watching for referee training. Look, I know that these are replacement referees but they have experience refereeing football games. The league should have provided them resources, maybe to include consultants available on headsets, for making the appropriate calls (not in real time, but if a procedural question arose). These referees let the game get out of control and made some terrible calls against and for both teams. I wouldn’t argue that one team or the other benefited from their performance but rather, their performance was just plain poor.
It was clear from the players on the field – especially London Fletcher, Steven Jackson, and Josh Morgan, among others – that they were feeling the frustration with the referees. Rarely have I seen referees allow the kind of contact, pushing, etc. on touchbacks – particularly by the Rams players against the Redskins. By not asserting control with simple things like this, it escalates into the various frakases (fraki ?) that erupted throughout the game.
I’m not educated enough on the referee strike and the demands that are being set forth, but much like the Chicago schoolchildren are the ones being hurt by the CTU strike, the viewers and even the players are the ones getting hurt by the NFL Referee strike.