Much has been made about the mistakes and miscues that NFL referees have made during week one of this current 2012-13 season. As you may know it is because real NFL referees and their counterparts in college football are on strike, meaning that professional games are now being refereed by amateurs who are used to doing high school games. In Canada where I am located, you’d be lucky to get more than 5000 fans out to most University games, let alone getting 20-30,000 fans to a game the way high school teams in Texas do. This much is that fact might give people like me peace of mind and convince me that American high school referees can handle the job officiating NFL games, during week one of the season they have proven you wrong and made their share of mistakes. With the NHL’s players and owners at odds and facing a lockout, it seems that everywhere you look in sports people are refusing to work in one way or another.
Since high school referees aren’t magically going to turn into pros within a couple of weeks and we don’t know when this referee lockout is going to end, here are some of my suggestions that will ensure each and every single call made during the course of the game is correct:
Play Every Game At A Neutral Site & Have The Fans Vote On What The Right Call Is
Have you ever played that wireless and portable game at a bar where you get to be the armchair quarterback and have to pick the quarterbacks next play for points? That you have that I know what you’re thinking, "Jack, letting fans vote on every call takes too long and how would you ensure that they’re being impartial?". My response to that is this, while bars and restaurants are not necessarily equipped with the greatest Internet connection, most people these days have a smart phone or a tablet that would allow them to text in their decisions rather quickly. As for how fans would remain impartial, they would be able to do so because they don’t care about either team and if they’re like me, for the sake of having the game continue on and not have to wait forever to make a decision, they will just text in any ruling they can think of just to keep the game moving. Just think of how much more exciting placing the sports that would be if you have no clue what the calls can be on every single play.
As much as you may think that robots would make too many mistakes trying to referee an NFL game, I like to think a well programmed robot could do everything right. Think about it. There would be no need to go to the video review booth to look back at a replay and robots typically don’t go on strike which means you never have to worry about high school referees ever again. No pension, no benefits, no problem. Of course there’s always a chance the robot could turn on the players and that could end very ugly. In fact the robots got really smart they could decide to form a union and start their own football league, rendering some of the most talented human beings and sports useless and forcing them to be the referees.
Let The Players Sort It Out Flag Football/Pick-Up Styles
Who turns down a good old-fashioned family game of flag football in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon? Nobody! Of course in this case when we say family game of flag football in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon, we’re talking about two sets of 53 men playing in front of up to 90,000 people in a fully packed stadium. Asking guys to be honest and make the calls fairly in order to keep the game moving sounds nice in practice, but in reality it would be really tough to do especially considering NFL players in particular have their own unique challenges that other leagues typically do not. One of these glaring challenges is that a lot of the players have a criminal record for one reason or another, so one can only imagine what would happen if two players really disagreed on a call and decided to take things to the next level. Who knows what could happen? Perhaps it might be a good idea to have the robot standing by with laser beams attached to their heads in case things get out of control.
Ok so truth be told there really is no replacement for human referees who have been doing it for years. But people need to lay off these high school refs. They’re doing the best they can and yes they have made mistakes. But remember, all referees make mistakes no matter their experience. The bottom line is that people have only complained about referee’s mistakes if it cost their team the game. On the flipside if your team one you think the high school refs are great. Let’s just enjoy the fact that games are being played and that referees who are well-off but not necessarily millionaires are taking a stand for once and not just greedy players and owners.
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