Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Upon Further Review...

Hear ye, hear ye... the new baby has arrived.   
A seven-pound, 13-ounce beautiful baby boy.
Everyone is happy and healthy and VERY tired.   More on that in future blogs.
For now I have called on a friend to give his thoughts on a different type of labor situation.  Enjoy!
Sir Bacon

Last Wednesday the Cowboys and defending Super Bowl Champion Giants opened the NFL’s 93rd Season, kicking off week one which featured 32 teams, playing 16 games by nearly 1700 players.
Usually these 1,700 players would be accompanied by over 100 of the best officials in the game.  Not this year.

Because of a labor impasse, the normal NFL Officials were replaced by a hodgepodge of zebras who showed during the pre-season they aren’t quite yet ready for Prime Time. Or Game Time. Or any time other than a Time Out - and not to stop the clock but to stand in the corner after they messed up.

A few weeks ago the Buffalo Bills downed a punt at the opponent’s 4-yard line in a pre-season game. Or so they thought. For reasons no one can explain, the official on the play ruled the ball was downed in the end zone and it was a touchback and spotted the ball at the 20-yard line. The Bills challenged the play on replay and won, but what would have happened if they had no challenges left and this was a real game?

When it comes to officiating I am biased – I admit it. I have been officiating games of some sort for over 30 years. I started doing Little League games before I could drive and for the last 10 years I have done High School Basketball.

Before that I did Youth Leagues for a handful of years. I did over 1,000 Youth Games before I did one High School Game. I thought I was pretty good and I was – or so I thought.
Looking back 10+ years later – YIKES! I am a much better official now and my rating proves it as does the level of games I do. 

I worked my way “up the ladder” to the point where my assignor can trust me in big games because he has seen me handle stressful situations. I honed my craft and worked to get better. 

These replacement officials haven’t had that training.
The last time replacement officials were used the NFL was able to get officials from the top college football conference.

This time they are not. 

Now we are getting officials from lower level conferences and that is not good. The biggest difference in the college and pro game is speed. Lower level college games are played at 33 RPM (Kiddies – ask your parents about this one). BCS Conference games are played at 45 RPM. The NFL is played at 78 RPM and that is a huge difference. The difference in RPM from 33 to 78 might not seem like much but it is.

One of the replacement NFL Officials comes from the Lingerie Football League. Fans don’t pay admission to LFL games – they pay a cover charge, have a 2-drink minimum and must be 21 to enter and then face the wrath of their wife when they get home.

Yesterday this official was focused on the tight end of the nubile tight end wearing a G-string thong and fishnet stockings (perhaps hoping that he can get called for illegal use of the hands).

Today he is in the NFL, face-to-face with 300-pound players whose bodies resemble a vending machine with a neck and legs. 

Officiating is the only profession where those involved are expected to be perfect from Day One – and then improve from there. What we are seeing now is officials who hope to be right most of the time and realize “Big Brother” (Instant Replay) can bail them out if/when they mess up. Officials need two eyes to see a play and not one eye on a play and another eye focused upstairs to a replay official.

The NFL is a $9 BILLION a year entity. What the Officials are asking for monetarily is peanuts compared to what the NFL generates in a day, let alone a year. 

There is a saying in golf that you can’t win a tourney on the first 18 holes but you can lose one. Everyone seems to focus all their attention on the last few games of the NFL season as being most important, but the games played in September are every bit as important as those in December. The chances of a blown officials’ call changing the outcome of a game is very real and that one bad call might cost your team a playoff spot and the chance to win the Super Bowl.

The Golden Rule in life asks people to treat others as they would treat themselves. In business – The Golden Rule states “He who has the Gold makes the rules.” In the NFL the Owners have the Gold while the Officials interpret the rules. The Owners need to realize Gold is priceless – Fools Gold is worthless. Right now the Owners have “Fools Gold” for Officials and unless something is done to bring the “real” ones back ASAP the NFL might see their Gold be nothing more than Cubic Zirconium.

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