Non-political post this time.
If you haven’t seen it, go ahead and watch the end of last night’s NFL game. Youtube will probably take it down soon:
First, my thoughts as a Packers fan. When you give up eight sacks and score 12 points against the fricking Seahawks, you set yourself up for this kind of thing. Also, what the hell was M.D. Jennings thinking trying to intercept a Hail Mary. You’re supposed to knock those down! Ack!
Anyway, the replacement referee thing has turned into a debacle. Steve Young was on TV last night and had the best explanation I’ve heard: the game simply moves too fast for these guys. They are used to Division II and Division III and have never coached at the Division I level, least of all the pros. It takes experience to see thing happening in real time and figure out what’s happened.
But I would take it further. When I taught Intro Astronomy, I learned an important lesson. If I started out my term being a bit of a forbidding hardass, I could ease up and be more friendly as the term progressed. But I could always fall back on the hardass demeanor if I needed to. By contrast, if I started out with a friendly “call me Hal” attitude, I could never clamp down when I needed to. The students expected me to be slack the entire semester.
The referees are a small group of little men on a field with over a hundred massive bulked up guys. The only way the game works is if they command the respect of the players. It became obvious last Monday, with the Falcons-Broncos mess, that the players do not respect the replacement referees. And we’ve seen that manifest itself in chippy play, cheap shots, launch tackles, helmet-to-helmet hits and players barking and shoving after plays.
The NFL needs to either bring back the normal refs or quickly establish the authority of the new ones. I fear it’s too late for the latter. I fear that the players will never respect the new guys.
PS: While we’re on the subject, last night’s game feature a good performance by Bruce Irvin. You can read about him here. It really shows the difference that one person can make in a young man’s life.