Who shall officiate the Officials?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Who shall officiate the Officials?

Although I have still officially foresworn the Detroit Lions, I still take note when they are involved in something newsworthy, as hap­pened yesterday in Pittsburgh.

Angry NFL official’s expletives aired in stadium

During a pre-season NFL game encumbered by heavy rain and lightning, following a touch­down run by the Steelers' Dennis Dixon, an on-field official believed to be referee Jeff Triplette, let the entire stadium know what he thought of the off-field replay official's decision to review the play.

Now a lot of people don't like working in foul weather, but the game was on and even though the result would not count in any standings, fans had paid money to attend.

And Triplette was being paid to officiate, not cuss out the replay official over an open mic­rophone because he was getting wet and felt things should be speeded up!

(Never mind that the unidentified replay official did his job and overturned an in­correct call on the field!)

There has been in professional sports for as long as I can remember what is known as a "Let's go home" call, describing an official's decision which might not be the right one but which shortened the duration of an already decided contest.

It has generally thought to be apocryphal.

Triplette's incautious string of profanity gives substance to the "Let's go home" concept, and what's truly alarming is that the words were uttered early in the Second Quarter long before any outcome was known.

The NFL needs to treat this incident very seri­ously if it hopes to maintain any semblance of integrity for the game.

Throughout professional sports1 over the past decade, officiating has come under increased scrutiny over concerns about the competency of the officials and, in a worst case, blatant corruption as with NBA referee Tim Donaghy.

Whether the NFL, or all of pro sports, for that matter, is up to the challenge, will be instruc­tive to watch.

O yeah, the still hapless Detroit Lions lost to the Steelers, 23-7.

  1. The National Hockey League seems to have stayed relatively free of such contro­versy with its referees and linesmen.


1. Ray Overton said...

While I did not see the game nor the incident you reference, I am assuming this game was outside. If there was an active lightning storm in the area, the referee in all actuality should have pulled the plug on the game until such time as the storm/threat passed. This, of course, would have really screwed the TV people as well as the fans in the stands. He was most likely trying to hustle through the game to get it complete. Major league umpires do this all the time in trying to get baseball games to the point where they are considered official especially when its the final game of a series (cognizant of how difficult it is to reschedule rainouts in MLB). To call a replay in the first preseason game of the year in the conditions you described is really pretty stupid on the part of the replay official. Of course, the referee needs to make certain his stadium mike is off when he is reading the replay official the riot act.

We again find ourselves in disagreement, Ray.

The game was in fact delayed for 73 minutes due to the weather conditions.

But for the replay official to not call what he observed (before the half), and on which he was quickly vindicated, would have been an abrogation of his responsibilities.

With 23 second to go and the hometown fans celebrating a 35-3 lead and having torn down the goal posts, go ahead and call the game.

But this wasn't that sort of situation. Jeff Triplette was out-of-line, and should be called on his language and his clear intention by league officials.
– Dean

2. Mrs Genetics said...

The prospect of 12 guys coming after you with sticks tends to keep one focused on the officiating.

Plus, I think that generally speaking, spectators are less aware of hockey rules than they are of other pro sport rules so we see fewer instances where peeps call out a bad call.

Hockey fans are v-e-r-y conversant with the rules of the rink, and will frequently make a call simultaneously with the referees.

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