Regular readers of my blog will recall that in a recent post entitled “The Agony of the Replacement Refs” I wrote, ” The bad calls always victimize my beloved Green Bay Packers.” You didn’t believe me, did you? Do you believe me now??
I had to smile when I saw USA Today’s National Football League page this morning. No less than three of the top headlines (here, here and here) introduced rants against the bad officiating of the replacement referees, and most of the rest of the stories took at least a sidelong swipe at them. Of course, there’s no reason to be surprised about such “media bias”; the modern media are well aware that nothing feeds the bottom line like drumming up controversy over some half-baked “issue,” and sports is no exception. The editors at USA Today are hardly the only ref bashers around. In fact, one of their articles cites some of the more juicy examples elsewhere, such as,
But oh, the officiating. The officiating is not watchable. What happened Sunday in St. Louis was a travesty, from beginning to end. The league and the union must put aside their differences, get back in a room and hammer something out, because — and I can’t believe I’m writing these words — the integrity of the game is at stake.” – (Tracee Hamilton, Washington Post)
No man with a brain could witness what took place at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday afternoon and come to the conclusion that ‘the replacements’ did anything close to a credible job. They were, in fact, embarrassingly bad in a variety of ways and if Goodell allows the folly to continue deep into the season he will be eroding his own shaky credibility.” – (Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Last week I thought the replacement officials were adequate. Watching football Sunday, I felt like a passenger in a car going 20 miles an hour too fast on a mountain road with hairpin turns; we weren’t going to die, but it was going to be a dicey ride. – (Peter King, Sports Illustrated)
The title of the USA Today article with the quotes above was, “Dear replacement refs, America has turned on you.” Well, not all America. I watch a lot of games, and I’m still not mortally offended. I’ve seen bad calls, but I see bad calls every year. The pattern hasn’t changed. The bad calls always victimize my beloved Green Bay Packers, and favor evil teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings. If it’s any consolation to the sports writers, it could be worse. I could be a ref. Whenever I differed with the replacement refs on a call, I was almost always wrong, and they were right.
It can, that is, if you’re a Detroit Lion. Hey, I’m a Packer fan, but I have to agree with Derrick Dennis at Bleacher Report on this one. Yes, I’ve read the rule, but Calvin Johnson was clearly in possession of the ball when he hit the ground, and he maintained possession until he made a move to get up. What does the guy have to do? Take two laps around the stadium with the ball in both arms before the refs will count the score? I carry sports grudges for a long time, but this is enough to make me forget all about the Turkey Day Massacre.
Nothing I post here should be construed to imply that it is not absolutely and objectively true, independently of any subjective moral construct, that the Minnesota Vikings are an evil football team. No fuzziness of thinking need be tolerated in the case of such self-evident truths.
Before we leave the subject of clouded crystal balls and the American Mercury, I couldn’t resist adding a blurb from the August 1934 issue. You see, according to the author, one Gregory Mason (erstwhile organizer and conductor of several archeaological and anthropological expeditions into Central and South America), golf was a disgrace, and would shortly disappear. In other words, Tiger Woods is an historical anomaly. Allow me to quote a few lines from Mr. Mason’s opus, entitled “Golf is Happily Disappearing.”
“I wish to point out that our mental health has been improving. One of the chief reasons for this is the decline in golf playing… And this falling off in the addiction of our citizenry to pasture pool has been accompanied by a diminution in nervous ailments so marked that many nerve specialists have been forced into honest pursuits like dentistry or horse doctoring, while many an insane asylum has boarded up its doors.”
“Golf fiends belong to one of two psychological types. The much smaller of the two groups is made up of dull, unimaginative fellows without a spark of sensitiveness or humor, and with no reflexes at all. Golf champions are drawn from this class. But the much larger group is comprised of irritable, nervous, twitchy chaps. To this class belongs the great mass of golfers, the boobs who make a religion of golf,… and mortgage their homes to buy up cow pastures to be converted into golf courses, to the great detriment of the nations’ milk supply.”
“Show me a young man who calls golf ‘exercise’ and I will show you a fellow who has already reached the last stage of moral degeneration.”
“Cheer up, friends! Truly God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform. Take comfort in the realization that while the Depression has been thinning your purse, it has been strengthening the moral fibre of the nation by turning people away from golf.”
Clearly, then, but for World War II, golf would have been but a fading memory by now. I guess every cloud has a silver lining, at least for some people.