20 November 2013

Wrong call

WrongCall by bobmendo
WrongCall, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

I hear it a lot in professional sports that the referee has a lot of discretion and an umpire can overrule a linesman and the fate of the game changes. Certainly that happened at the end of the football (NFL) contest on Monday night (Aussie Tuesday) when the New England Patriots played in Carolina against the Panthers.

I really don't have any affection or disdain for either team. They are both pretty good in so many areas. Tom Brady is the veteran quarterback and leader of the Patriots and was orchestrating a final charge down the field for a possible winning strike against the home side.

This photo taken off the television shows the bad call by the referee. The players in blue are converging on the ball and on the player in white. Problem is, the blue guy can't touch the white guy after 5 yards from the original line (way back where the other players are standing) until someone touches the ball.

No one had touched the ball and thus the blue player was wrong and should have been penalised. The back judge originally threw a yellow flag to indicate an infraction, but was later and quickly overruled by the senior statesman on the referee crew.

For more on this episode: http://www.nepatriotslife.com/2013/11/pats-made-mistakes-but-blind-eye-cant.html

I like what this previously unknown-to-me author @LiamPCunningham said calling the next play, the "Play that never was."

Look in the course of an entire game, there are many many times when a call does go one way or another for or against your team. That's life.

But in the last 2 minutes of the game, the league has already taken the challenge opportunity out of the hands of the coaches and created a justice-panel up in the stands somewhere. That panel should have overridden the referees override. Obviously.

All that to say, I'm sorry for the Pats to lose on a bad call. They might have lost on the play that never was anyway. But they might have won, too. It felt like a proper conclusion to the 45th anniversary of the Heidi episode. (see wiki here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidi_Game)

What might have been? What was? What wasn't? We'll never know.

I'm writing today to express disappointment in the officiating crew both on and off the field. And then, I'll get back to other things that matter a whole lot more than 53 men on each side playing a very serious game of gridiron.

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