Much has been written, spoken and complained about regarding officiating in high profile games. Let’s face it, officiating is ruining sports – all sports.
One of the biggest officiating gaffes was the no-call of pass interference in the NFC Championship playoff game in January. It is a safe bet that every fan knew there was pass interference. The ball was in the air when Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman didn’t even look back toward the ball as he collided with Saints receiver Tommlylee Lewis before the ball arrived.
Saints head coach Sean Payton went ballistic. Saints fans were furious. But NFL rules didn’t allow a flag to be thrown, if it wasn’t thrown during the game, even though instant replay clearly showed otherwise. Seven different officials missed the call. The Rams eventually won the game in overtime. The no-call was a game changer.
How about the roughing the passer flag in the Chiefs – Patriots championship game. The Chiefs’ Chris Jones was flagged for roughing Tom Brady – a call that kept a drive alive. The experts debated as super slow-motion replays questioned whether or not it was roughing the passer. The call was a game changer. The Patriots won the game.
Then we heard about so-called no-calls and bad calls during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament known as March Madness.
Through the years, the Yard Sale Queen and I have been to countless basketball games at John Paul Jones Arena to watch our beloved University of Virginia Cavaliers – both men and women hit the court.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not a trained official, but sometimes there are obvious bad calls, no-calls or questionable calls. Even a newcomer to sports like my sweet Yard Sale Queen sees some the good, bad and ugly officiating.
I know, many people are debating whether Kyle Guy was fouled on his three-point attempt that missed in the closing seconds of the Final For game against Auburn. Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl was screaming, the Auburn fans were incensed. CBS showed the play in agonizing slow-motion from every conceivable angle. Meanwhile, the CBS experts, save one, clearly noted that Samir Doughty committed the foul by hitting Guy so that his landing was disrupted. They even cited the rule number.
As we know, Guy calmly sank the three free throws and the Wahoos won the game by one point.
The conspiracy theorists were in a feeding frenzy.
Or how about the double dribble no-call on the Cavaliers’ Ty Jerome. He did double dribble. There is no doubt about it. Auburn had fouls to give and that is what they attempted to do. Prior to the double dribble that wasn’t called, the Auburn defender appeared to try to foul Jerome by grabbing his jersey. Then there was the double dribble. Neither were called. Three officials let them play on.
Officials have a split second to make a decision to call fouls, infractions and out of bounds.
In the Texas Tech versus Virginia championship game it took the officials looking at the monitor for what seemed like an eternity to reverse and out of bounds call that would have given the ball to Texas Tech with under two minutes to go. Instead, the officials reversed the call noting that although the Cavaliers’ De’Andre Hunter slapped the ball from the hands of the Texas Tech player, the ball had grazed the Texas Tech’s pinkie and went out of bounds. There had to be indisputable video evidence to overturn the call on the court.
Texas Tech fans were furious, while UVA fans celebrated.
Does one call change a game? Sure, it can. But many times, both teams benefit from no-calls and bad calls.
Every sports fan has heard the term “makeup call” being awarded by officials who realize they screwed up.
I have never seen a game in any sport perfectly officiated, at least not to my liking.
I have a solution though for all sports to remedy this epidemic problem of pathetic officiating. It’s so simple.
How about requiring video review every strike or ball in a baseball game to ensure they get right every controversial catch, foul ball or stolen base? Or in football review every play to see if an offensive or defensive penalty occurred, even those that might offset. Soccer and lacrosse matches could also utilize video technology to “clean up” the bad calls and no calls.
Let’s stretch a 40-minute basketball game into about eight hours or a three-hour football or baseball game into an 18-hour marathon. Video review ensures they get it right and the fans feel confident that the game was properly officiated and the added benefit it would allow for more bathroom breaks and many more commercials.
If you think UVA basketball plays slow on offense and defense, just wait if this idea is implemented.