x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Mistakes just part of game in any sport, regardless of the official

How quickly we forget: referees and officials have been getting big plays wrong forever. In all sports. The greatest of arbiters, the most professional of crews, including the best the NFL can marshal, have made monstrous mistakes, comments Paul Oberjuerge.

Golden Tate celebrated wildly after it was ruled he caught the winning touchdown for the Seattle Seahawks at the game's end.
Golden Tate celebrated wildly after it was ruled he caught the winning touchdown for the Seattle Seahawks at the game's end.

 

Tommy Smyth was working himself into a froth. The little Irishman, the co-host of a US-based show on world football, in a commentary demanded, this instant, more referees' assistants to man the 18-yard line so as to end the epidemic of blown offside calls that threaten the Premier League with ruin.

His rant was played early yesterday morning during ESPN's shrill coverage of the final play of the Green Bay-Seattle American football game, the one that ended with the controversial touchdown call that apparently is the greatest travesty of a mockery of a sham in sport's history.

How quickly we forget: referees and officials have been getting big plays wrong forever. In all sports.

The greatest of arbiters, the most professional of crews, including the best the NFL can marshal, have made monstrous mistakes, from the so-called "Immaculate Reception", which gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a play-off win (but was no more than a missed penalty), to the botched "tuck rule" call that led to the New England Patriots winning a Super Bowl.

And if you want "just plain stupid", which critics of the NFL replacement refs seem so keen on, recall the referee who forgot, in 1998, in the matter of seconds, the (correct) call a Steeler made on the coin toss before overtime. The ball went to the Detroit Lions, who won.

The NFL's replacement referees are not as good as the regulars. We can agree on that. But only the most feather-headed critic would suggest that all will be goodness and light when the regulars are given back their whistles. To err is, sadly, very human.

poberjuerge@thenational.ae

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