Sorry Jack Buck, but I can’t believe what I just saw.
Did ESPN really just throw a hissy fit over the debacle in Monday night’s game between Seattle and Green Bay? They sure did.
I guess I just find myself asking, “Why?”
I’ve umpired baseball for over seven years, from Little League to high school varsity. Heck, I’ve even worked a few summer college wood bat league games.
Regardless of how good I think I am, there’s no way I’m getting a spot on a major league crew two weeks from now.
And that’s what essentially happened to these replacement refs the NFL have decided to stick with. Mere weeks before the start of the season, Roger Goodell and the 31 team owners locked out the experienced, qualified referees and went with the cheaper labor.
Throughout the preseason, people thought they could learn to adjust to the NFL game and be ready for the NFL season.
Yeah, let me quit this writing racket and go do some work for NASA. I’ll be ready to send another rover to Mars in about a month.
This was going to happen. It was inevitable. I don’t care what you think, but officiating sports is one of the hardest things a
person can ever do.
You might think you know every rule for every sport. That’s great. You know what a referee calls that kind of person? A rules interpreter.
An official needs to know not only the rules, but how to also manage a game. To learn those two essential skills, it takes time and practice … lots of time and practice. These things don’t happen overnight.
But the NFL and ESPN seemed that it just might this time. So when Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate stole the show Monday night with his “touchdown,” I was shocked by the fallout.
I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. ESPN analyst Steve Young was about ready to cry. Jon Gruden was speechless during the postgame wrap-up. Cats and dogs were living together. Real wrath of God type stuff. I was shocked at how shocked everyone seemed to be.
Was there something I was missing? Did these people really believe that as soon as these refs put on the stripes with the NFL shield that nothing bad was ever going to happen?
I don’t blame the replacement refs for the call. They missed it and they know it. There’s no need to tell an official they missed a call. They know it and they feel bad about it, so how about you just lay off.
Nor do I blame the regular NFL officials. They deserve every cent of the $3 million they want for pensions. Officials spend so much time away from their families that having a good pension plan should be a requirement.
My problem is with just about everyone else, who have no right to talk about officials or the art of officiating.
The NFL is being greedy. Surprise, surprise.
ESPN is talking about things it doesn’t quite understand. Shocker.
And the rest of this sports-talk radio nation is piling on with all its collective knowledge. All of a sudden, everybody is Mike Carey or Ed Hochuli.
Just take a deep breath, everyone.
Maybe the NFL will figure it out and come to its senses. If not, give these replacement refs some time. They’re not going to live up to your expectations, officials rarely do, but hopefully the game you all love will change back to its old self when an amazing catch left you breathless or the Cleveland Browns blew a fourth-quarter lead that can only leave you saying:
“I can’t believe what I just saw.”
Editor’s note: The NFL and the referee’s union agreed to a tentative agreement to end the lockout at midnight Thursday, Sept. 27, just before this column went to print.