Monday, September 11, 2006


The Giants lost to the Colts last night, which wasn't altogether unexpected, but that's not why I'm here. I'm here to discuss the fact that the Giants got absolutely HOSED last night by the horrible officiating.

With 4 minutes to go and the G-Men down by 2, Eli made a nice pass to Tim Carter for 19 yards and a first down, but it was called back on a phantom "pass interference" call. They showed it a dozen times on NBC, and they agreed that it was a blown call. Yes, some cornerbacks are pretty small, but I don't think they can get thrown to the ground by a wide receiver's shoulder. So instead of a 1st-and-10 at the Giants' 37, it became a 3rd-and-11 at the 10 yard line, and Eli threw up a jump ball on the next play for an INT, game over. (They barely mention this in the article, saying there was a "questionable" call during the 4th quarter.) I turned off the TV, for the third time, in complete disgust. (Because they weren't drive-killing I won't even mention the absurd Plaxico Burress blocking penalties--oh wait, I just did.)

Every year I get sucked in, and every year the NFL craps the bed. The worst thing about the officials is that, apparently, they're not concerned with getting the call right, they're more concerned with not showing up each other. All of this garbage with throwing red hankies and some situations being considered "unreviewable"--enough already! We have the camera angles and technology available to fix ruling errors (look at what tennis has done), so that's no excuse. All I know is that this has gone on for far too long. Maybe the league secretly hopes that if they're consistently bad that the fans will just get used to it and accept it, like airport security or The Tonight Show.

The irony is that this league is the most watched in the country, and somehow continues to be the worst officiated. MLB umpires get the calls right 99.9% of the time (incredible, considering how many games there are), a golf tournament has never been decided on a bad call, NHL hockey refs are in complete control of the games and can skate better than some players, and very infrequently do NCAA basketball refs blow a big call (Villanova vs. NC in 2005 comes to mind, Ray didn't travel and no I'm not still bitter). But since there are only 16 games, every blown call in the NFL is big, and while other sports have progressed, NFL officials look more buffoonish and backwards with every passing week. Seattle fans are STILL COMPLAINING, and rightfully so, about the incompetent officials at the Super Bowl, and on opening night on Thursday the commentators were making jokes about the head referee being of "tuck rule fame". Fame? Don't you mean "shame"? How does he still have a job? Unbelievable.

But here's how you can help! If you have a pulse, at least 20/200 vision, and can pick out a football from a lineup, you too can be an NFL OFFICIAL! Here's the information, from the official FAQ:

How can I become an NFL official?

Here are the basic requirements necessary to qualify as an official in the National Football League:

We expect our candidates to have a minimum of 10 years of experience in officiating football, at least five of which have been on a varsity collegiate or other minor professional level. Our candidates must be in excellent physical condition and belong to an accredited football officials association or have previous experience in football as a player or coach.

Each applicant is requested to furnish us with a detailed copy of his or her your collegiate officiating schedule for the past three seasons, listing dates, schools, location of games, and positions worked. If you meet all of the above requirements, please submit all the requested information to:

NFL Officiating
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

First of all, if this is frequently asked question, maybe that's a problem. Second, you have to be in "excellent physical condition"? Are you kidding? They're all about 30 pounds overweight and none of them has ever said "no" to a buffet. One ref at the Eagles game was horribly obese and it was hard to look at him bulging out of his new uniform. Additionally, the average age of these guys is 52 (the oldest is 65) and they're expected to run to keep up with the likes of Marvin Harrison and Steve Smith AND make an accurate call? Lastly, and most importantly, being an NFL official is only a side job. That's right! The league makes billions upon billions of dollars in revenue, and they've put the games in the hands of accountants, dentists, and computer programmers who are just enjoying this nice little weekend gig.

Seriously, it's time the NFL woke up and fixed this horrible system. Otherwise, why should I follow my team when the season can be screwed up by some old dipshit's horrible call? If they don't consider the poor officiating a problem, I don't consider them a fully functional sports league.

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