Bad Calls By Replacement Refs Irritating NFL Players, Fans

Images: Kelly Bailey
Drew Brees, shown above, recently sent a letter to the owners asking for an end to the referee lockout. Images: Kelly Bailey

In any sport, referees sometimes make mistakes. After all, no one’s perfect.

But major league football teams have been irritated by the unusually high number of bad mistakes made by the referees these days, including a bizarre call on Monday night.

The National Football League (NFL) is using stand-in refs. The league’s usual referees are in a contract dispute and are unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement*. So the NFL has brought in replacement refs that aren’t as well trained or as experienced.

And they’re making some bad calls.

On Monday night, there was an especially poor call made by a ref that directly affected the outcome of a game.

The Seattle Seahawks were losing 12-7 to the Green Bay Packers. On the last play of the game, the Seattle quarterback threw a long pass into the end zone.

A Seattle player pushed a Green Bay defender out of the way and then, as another Green Bay player intercepted the ball, tried to grab the ball away from him.

Both players had their hands on the ball; the refs ruled this as simultaneous possession, which means the ball goes to the receiving team–so Seattle was awarded a touchdown.

This kind of pushing isn’t allowed in football and the player should have received a penalty, not been awarded a touchdown.

The ref said the player’s actions were fine and the touchdown was valid. As a result, Seattle won the game, 14-12.

Players and fans have been tweeting and posting about their frustration with this bad call and others. Some have said they won’t watch any more football games until the “real” referees are back.

Hall of Fame NFL player Troy Aiken tweeted, “These games are a joke.”

Update: The ‘real’ referees agreed to a contract the week after that horrible Monday night game and were back on duty by the Thursday night game. 

*For more information about collective bargaining agreements, see yesterday’s TKN article, Lockout threatens NHL season.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Have you ever played a sport and gotten a “bad call” from a referee? What did you do? How did you deal with your frustration?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences
A letter, written by a group of NFL players to the owners, says that using the replacement referees, “will only continue to jeopardize player health and safety and the integrity of the game that has taken decades to build.” Do you agree with this prediction? Why or why not?

make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Short Forms
When writing or speaking, lots of people choose the short forms of words instead of using the full word. Sometimes this is in order to be brief, but, sometimes people choose to do this because it suits their style. For instance, ref is short for referee. The two words can be used interchangeably although using the full word is normally expected in essays and projects.

What do these short forms mean?

1. Plane_________________
2. Phone________________
3. OK___________________
4. Tux__________________