That’s the headline overlaying a picture of beloved NFL referee Ed Hochuli, staring at me from the cover of the Sports Illustrated issue I pulled from my mailbox this morning.
Referees, players, and fans are all breathing a sigh of relief after September 29, when the NFL officially ended its lockout of officials. Not coincidentally, a few days earlier, replacement officials had blown a big call on a very public stage–Monday Night Football. The call, which initially had two officials standing next to each other and giving conflicting signals, awarded an unearned touchdown to the Seattle Seahawks and ultimately handed them an undeserved win over the Green Bay Packers. Fans were outraged, social media went wild, and soon the NFL officials were back at work.
A lot of people, like me, probably didn’t care that much about who was officiating the games when the season started. Referees and kickers have something in common: most people don’t pay much attention to them except when they screw up. They’re chronically underappreciated for what they do right.
But when that game went so glaringly wrong, suddenly everyone desperately wanted those NFL referees back. They saw a clear picture of their value. Why? Not because they did something extraordinary, but because the replacements screwed up. The NFL refs’ professionalism, experience, and skill stood out in sharp contrast to the alternative
- See more at: http://amysimpsononline.com/2012/10/how-nfl-referees-like-the-rest-of-us-proved-their-value/#sthash.EuzNLUJ3.dpuf