Is it Unfair to Bash the Refs for the Worst Call in NFL History?

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.

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Posted by on September 25, 2012.
Filed under Sports.


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  • Mr Kimber

    I can remember seeing George Plimpton on the Jonny Carson show back in 1968 talking about his book, I don’t remember the name but it was about the NFL. and Plimpton saying how fast everybody was. I remember him saying even the lineman could move laterally faster then he could run forward.

  • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

    No, it’s not unfair, what else are you going to get with scabs?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Murphy/100001624276605 Ryan Murphy

      Well, people who are more reasonable than the referees who work forty days a year and want a twenty percent raise and pensions. Why are monopolies not ok for companies but perfectly fine for a union?

      • Carl

        Because people are more important than companies.

        • retired.military

          But leftists dont feel people are more important than the almighty union

        • jim_m

          A union is a company in the business of selling labor to other companies at inflated prices. Most big unions don’t give a damn about their employees or even unionism (I’m thinking of the unions that hire non union stooges to walk picket lines because their own members won’t do it).

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Murphy/100001624276605 Ryan Murphy

            To a leftist a a union having a monopoly on labor is just peachy. A company having a monopoly, however, is evil.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Murphy/100001624276605 Ryan Murphy

          Including the people who own the companies?

  • Brian_The_Adequate

    I don’t think it is fair to call this the worst call in the history of the NFL. At full speed it is plausible to think there was simultaneous possession. Clearly from the slow motion Jennings had it first, but at full speed? not so much.
    The Vinny Testraverde helmet = ball touchdown that put the replay rule support over the top is a much worse call.

    • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

      Probably not, any blatant game changing bad call during the SuperBowl or a Championship game could be arguably called worse

    • Neo

      I would agree, if I could get past the offensive pass interference.

  • Vagabond661

    Seeing that football is just a game, I have no problem with replacement officiating.

  • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

    Along with the Immaculate Reception and a bunch of other named plays
    (e.g. The Play
    Eli Manning pass to David Tyree
    The Catch (American football)
    The Drive
    The Fumble
    The Block (American Football)
    Music City Miracle
    Tuck Rule Game
    The Miracle at the Meadowlands
    The Improbable Bobble)
    This one will go down as “The WTF,” “The F*ck-up,” or just “The F*ck”

  • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

    Hmmm… guess my thoughts on the topic were a little too abrasive for the filter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Murphy/100001624276605 Ryan Murphy

    Should bash the refs – the union refs for making patently ridiculous demands.

  • jim_m

    As a Bears fan I have no problems what so ever with the call.

  • retired.military

    More people are more upset about this call than Obama running the country. That is why Obama got elected in the first place.

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