If you have not seen it by now, it’s being called the worst call in NFL history. Looks like Roger Goodell is going to have to reevaluate this whole replacement referee idea. I’m sure they are doing their best but these guys simply are not NFL talent.
Many years ago I was a stringer (freelance) photographer for a local paper. One weekend when the paper was a photographer short, I was asked to shoot an NFL game. Much like our replacement refs, I had plenty of experience but not shooting sports. So I embarrassed myself by getting one credible shot the whole game. The photo-editor took pity on me and actually said for a rookie I was doing ok. He must have meant it because I got the gig again and shot the NFL for several seasons for several publications.
Getting tossed to the wolves, I knew the game was fast.. but for a long time I never appreciated how fast.
If you’ve listened to any sports radio in your life you’ve no doubt heard what I now call “The Interview” at the start of a new season. “The Interview” is usually after the first or second game when the local talk show has on the new hot shot rookie player to talk about the game. The rookies invariably talk about how fast the game is, a point they usually make two or three times during the interview. As one rookie (forget who) once put it, “All my life, pee wee league, high school, college, I’ve been the fastest guy on the field. In the NFL EVERYONE is the fastest guy on the field.” I chuckled when I heard that but still I didn’t get it.
Until I was asked to shoot a college bowl game.
I went into the game completely unprepared for what was about to happen. These guys -playing a big name bowl game- were so slow I got two decent shots the first half and maybe 3 the second half, my timing was all off. It was about midway through the first quarter when I truly understood what the rookies go through, they have been stars their whole life but just another number in the NFL. Nothing can prepare you for the speed until you’ve played at that speed.
No doubt the NFL has to fix the problem and I’m not making excuses for the debacle of the last few weekends… But have at least some small amount of pity for the replacement refs (and your local rookie.) — The game really is that fast.