Monday, February 26, 2007

Out of town:

Hello folks. Since Friday afternoon, I left the good 'ol United States and headed for a country in Europe called Slovakia. This is a beautiful country and today it snowed about 3 inches. I am in a small town called Zvadka visiting my girlfriend who is spending a year here for missions and eduation. I will be returning on Sunday Night, so unless you guys are interested in the officials at the hockey game I will be attending, there probably won't be must posted here this week. However, reader Ben has been added to the contributor list, so we'll see if he can throw something together in the meantime to keep you entertained.

Before I go, I must say that the employees in Washington Dulles Airport really have some issues. As my dad and I sat down to grab a quick bite to eat, my mineral water was knocked over and a few drops (literally) got on a United Airlines employee's pants. Apparently, this gentleman was not having a good day, because he unleashed on me like I had just wrung him up on called strike three and he didn't quite agree with the call. What did I do upon hearing this son of a bang, son of a boom outbreak? Well, like any normal person would do, I immediately started laughing. This guy must be joking right? No. He was demanding that I give him $15 to get his pants dry cleaned. So my dad, trying to prevent a major scene, pulls out his wallet to give the man some money. I said, dad - we're not giving this man any money. Listen sir, this is water, you're going to be ok. Finally I started ignoring him and he was still mumbling things under his breath that I neither heard, or cared about. As I got up to leave, I said - sir - would it make you feel better if I gave you $20? He said, I don't want your money - just an apology. He said he was upset most because I was laughing. Still, thinking this was the most ridiculous thing I had witnessed in sometime, apologized to the guy, shook his hand, and pat him on the back because you know... I'm a good guy.

Ya'll have a good week... Keep on keeping on.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Should we reprimand Officials?

Steve Walentik, writer for the Columbia Tribune Blog, asks an interesting question in his latest post,Should we be reprimanding more than just the coaches and players when it comes to "Awful Officiating"?

Here are a few highlights from Dave's article:

Look, it's a tough job. Things happen quickly and you can't see everything. I just think officiating should be a lot better than it is. That means not anticipating calls when you're out of position. That means calling the same things in the second half that you do in the first. And it means not ignoring contact in the last minute, like when Darryl Butterfield smacked Taylor Griffin's arm to jar the ball loose on Tuesday night.

I also think if the Big 12 is going to issue reprimands for criticizing officiating, as it last week to Texas Tech Coach Bob Knight and Kansas State senior Cartier Martin, it should require more accountability from the referees themselves. In Missouri's season-opening loss to Iowa State, Stefhon Hannah appeared to be calling timeout long before he hit the floor and was whistled for traveling in the final seconds. So why no whistle? And why did Curtis Shaw blow his whistle with 3:26 left in Missouri's loss to Kansas, run across the floor and yell at MU assistant Matt Zimmerman? In Kansas State's loss to Kansas on Monday night, why did the officials T up Bob Huggins for complaining about a missed call the entire ESPN audience saw in real time?

Last week we brought up the Bob Knight situation where he blasted officials after his team lost in Overtime to Oklahoma State. This week he had this to say during the Big 12 coaches' teleconference:

"I've always said, for 40 years, I've said that there's no way officials should work more than three games a week," he said. "They have plenty of other places they can go. They can go to the NBA. They can go to the NAIA. They can go to junior college. They can go to high school. And for years, the NCAA has hid behind individual employment contractors.

"I think that's all bull----. You just say, 'All right, if you're going to work in this league, this is how you're going to work. If you don't want to work in this league, fine. You've got other leagues to work in.' To have some guy 54 or 55 years old referee six times a week is a real disservice to the kids who are playing."

"I've seen it all year long for years and years,"

Does Bob Knight think the individual leagues should hire officials?

"I think that would be fine and they only work that league. But these guys are so greedy that they end up trying to work these six games, and they're not capable of doing that. I mean, just check schedules and you'll rarely see where kids play three games a week. And these kids are 19, 20 and 21 years old."

I actually agree with Bobby Knight and Steve Walentik on this one. I feel like most times the officials have too much control and there's no accountability. Maybe there is, and we're just not seeing it, but to me it seems like they can get away with bad calls, and "it's just part of the game". However, if it wasn't for Awful Officiating, it wouldn't give me something to write about over here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Problems with the NBA

There is no denying, The NBA has an image problem. There have been many things recently that have played into the demise of the NBA's ratings. While the ratings in the NFL continue to soar, the NBA's ratings have slowly declined over the past couple of years.

Take a look at this list compiled by Forbes of the top 10 money making sporting events of 2006:

• 1. Super Bowl

• 2. Summer Olympics

• 3. FIFA World Cup

• 4. Daytona 500

• 5. Rose Bowl

• 6. NCAA Men's Final Four

• 7. Winter Olympics Games

• 8. Kentucky Derby

• 9. World Series

• 10. NBA Finals

I guarentee you that David Stern and his boys up at headquarters do not like to see that. So what could be the problem? Well, here's a few obvious and also a few possible reasons.

1) "Thugary" of the NBA (2 recent brawls, Blazers/Pacers off-court issues, Ron Artest/Rasheed Wallace/Allen Iverson type personalities)

2) Still living in the shadow of the Michael/Magic/Bird Era.

3) Kobe/Shaq fued - took attention from what was really a great team

4) NBA on ABC is absolute horrible coverage. (Right now...!)

5) Big Market team (Knicks/Bulls) aren't really competitive

6) Undeveloped players due to so many coming straight from High School

7) The recent John Amaechi/Tim Hardaway debacle

And there are others as well.

Some or all of these reasons are commonly brought up when discussing reasons why the NBA is falling farther and farther from the top of the ratings list. The NBA is even taking action to fix some of the problems. The age limit rule was put into place to help prevent guys who were not ready to make the jump from getting drafted. Heck, the NBA even created the NBDL (minor leagues) because there was so many guys that were getting cut that actually had undeveloped talent. Last weekend's All-Star game in Las Vegas was a decision to help bring some excitement back into the league. Take the games biggest party to the party city of them all, putting them together was expected to be a good move for David Stern, but even that party set the record for lowest ever ratings for an NBA All-Star Game.

I have an interesting theory that doesn't seem to get a whole lot of talk, but this could possibly be a reason that could be added to the list of reasons. I'm not even sure this has a solution, but I feel it is at least worth discussing. I believe that the NBA's officiating is so awful at times, that it may actually be helping to cause the ratings to continue tumbling. You could use the argument that the officiating has always been a judgement call for the referee to make and therefore what makes today different than 5,10,25 years ago. In the past, the fans could boo or complain when they thought there was a bad call, but now we have 100 different angles on any given night to see when the refs are making a bad call. What does it say when you can expect at least one coach or player to complain about the officials usually a couple times per week. Mark Cuban routinely uses his blog to blast the officials, and while he may be using it to simply get in the heads of the official, either way - it seems to me that is very bad for the NBA's image. And the fact they know this is the case, makes it even worse. Part of a coach's responsibility is to "butter-up" the officials during the game so they are able to get more calls to go their way. A blog called Dorf on Law had a few comments about this that I found very interesting:

"What is extraordinary about the NBA is that these player-specific violations of blind justice are not only acknowledged but even celebrated. Hubie Brown, a former coach and broadcaster, would laugh and say things on official NBA broadcasts like "He hasn't been in the league long enough to get that call against Kobe," and "The refs aren't gonna make that call in Chicago." Such comments never, to my knowledge, evoked denials or discipline from the league. (The league does crack down on some things, though, such as unacceptable clothing choices and fighting with fans.) Contrast this with the NFL and MLB. Even though there is a lot of complaining in football about the rule called "roughing the passer," I have never heard anyone claim that certain quarterbacks get special treatment, only that all quarterbacks are either too exposed or too coddled. In baseball, you'll occasionally hear muttering that certain pitchers and batters receive the benefit of the doubt on balls and strikes; but this is denied by the leaders of the sport and is officially prohibited."

There are so many rules in basketball that are questionable judgement calls at the time of incident. If your a veteran you can get away with things that rookies can't. Traveling, charging, even flopping! (Apparently, the NBA is even considering now calling a foul against floppers.) Even if the NBA decides to enforce that rule, there are so many calls that theoretically the ref could call either way, and there could be an argument for either call. I think it's this lack of definitive officiating that turns a lot of people off from the game of basketball.

Now a days, players are looking for fouls and that's considered to be a talented style of play. 2 games that I have watched this year on National TV stick out in my mind as being over officiated. The first game was on Jan 4 when the Kings played the Lakers (the game Barkley first made the Bavetta comments). In that game, there were 80 total fouls called, and 102 total foul shots taken. The second game was last thursday when Lebron James played in LA against the Lakers. In that game there was 97 total free throws taken. I don't know about you, but to me, free throws are boring, and slow down the pace of the game. For a game to have that many free throws takes away from the excitment of the game. Going back to the Jordan/Bird/Johnson shadow, I think everybody knows that the game is not played as well these days as it was a few years ago. If you were to compare Michael Jordan's and Dwayne Wade's foul shots per game average, you'd find that in Jordan's last 6 years, he averaged 6.1 free throws a game, in Wade's first 3 seasons, he has averaged 8.8 free throws per game. The fact that the players these days are not as talented as they were 10-15 years ago, is causing the officiating to find itself in difficult positions each and every night. That inconsistency, I feel, is hurting the integrity of the game.

So, to wrap this up: Is there a solution? Is this just something that we have to accept and chalk it up as being "part of the game"? I just feel like the officials have too much control of the outcome of the game. Do bad calls even out? Not always. I have to figure Stu Jackson and David Stern have discussed these problems, and in many cases, probably do nothing but beat their head against a brick wall. In the end, it's probably a no-win situation and it's just something we, and the NBA, has to accept.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Could Major League Baseball use a "Smart Ball"

In the wake of a non-call during a game last week, FIFA has begun discussing the possibility of using technology to help eliminate officiating blunders. One idea that struck me was the Smart Ball designed by Adidas. The idea behind this is simply suspending a chip in the middle of ball that sends a signal directly to the referee's watch less than a second after the ball crosses the goal line. That sounds like an excellent idea, but I can't imagine this would be used too often in soccer matches. 99 times out of 100, the ball goes to the back of the net, and it is an easy call for an official. However, this did get me thinking about sports back home here on American soil. As many problems that we have with umpires creating their own strike zone, and catchers fooling umpires with moving the glove, etc. Major League Baseball should look into designing there own version of the smart ball. There would be little computer devices hidden inside each baseball that would send a signal to the umpire if the ball crossed the plate. It would just beep, or buzz or something simple like that and then he'd know if it was a strike or not. Of course, I know that it might take the cost per baseball up a little, and I imagine that MLB goes through quite a few baseballs during an average season. But other than that, it would take some control away from the officials, which in my mind, is always a good thing.

Update: An anonymous poster reminded me that even if the "smart ball" had a chip in it, it still wouldn't be able to tell if the pitch was high or low. I'll admit, there is a part of me, that deep down likes the fact that some umpires have their own interpretation of the strike zone. It adds a special element to the game, and the more a pitcher or hitter knows the umpires they know what they can and cannot get away with. Sometimes it is fun and exciting, and other times it is frustrating and makes you want to rip your hair out. However, I don't like that the umpires have so much control behind the plate. There needs to be more accountability and I hate the fact that umpires can get away with blowing calls, or calling their own version of strikes and balls, or using different hand signals for safe and out, and no one says anything about it. Bottom line, there needs to be more consistancy and responsibility from the umpires. Any time the MLB can improve those factors is good for the game.

Of course, they could always stitch computer chips into the players knees and shoulders to take care of that problem as well...

Bob Knight does not like the NBA's age limit rule

In an article in today's Fort Wayne Sentinel, it was mentioned that Bobby Knight has some issues with the NBA's age limit restrictions.

"Because now you can have a kid come to school for a year and play basketball and he doesn't even have to go to class," Knight said Monday during the Big 12 coaches call. "He certainly doesn't have to go to class the second semester. I'm not exactly positive about the first semester. But he would not have to attend a single class the second semester to play through the whole second semester of basketball.

"That, I think, has a tremendous effect on the integrity of college sports."

Knight's comments come on the eve of when his Texas Tech team will travel to Austin to take on super freshman Kevin Durant and the Texas Longhorns. Now maybe these comments were designed to simply get in the head of Durant and his Longhorn teammates. Or maybe Knight really has a problem with the rule. Thinking outside the box, I tend to agree with Bobby Knight that the new age limit could potentially effect the integrity of college basketball. However, is it hurting or helping the integrity of 'basketball', as a whole? If the NBA is going to be popular, like it was in the Jordan glory days, it needs to put a good solid healthy product on display each and every night. Hiring kids right out of high school puts the NBA at risk of effecting it's very own integrity even more than it already is. Not to mention, there is much more to the NBA than just playing basketball 2 or 3 nights a week. It's all the in between stuff that puts 17-18 year kids at risk. Give them 10 millions dollars and you've multiplied that risk tremendously.

I have gone back and forth on the age restriction rule, but I've come to the conclusion that I agree with David Stern on this rule. However, with every decision you will have exceptions, like Durant & Oden, but I seem to think that the more developed the players are that come into the league, the better off the league is (and Basketball) as a whole. And the more popular the NBA is, the better off the game is the whole way down.

Are there exceptions? Yes. Is it unfair to some kids? Unfortunately. Will the rule effect the integrity of college basketball? In the short term, maybe, in the long term, I think it will help it.

New 12 second rule in baseball

Only 41 days til opening day, just in time to start discussing some new rule changes in the mlb!! One of them stuck out as being interesting. Over at the Pastime, they've mentioned that there is now a 12 second rule that states once the batter steps into the batter's box, the pitcher has just 12 seconds (the old rule was 20) to release the ball. I'm not sure how this will be enforced, and I'm not sure if the count gets reset if the pitcher steps off the mound. I've taken a few minutes to review the rules, and they do not mention any exceptions to the rule. I kind of doubt this will ever come into play, but we shall see if and how the umpires choose to enforce this. So, if you see an umpire waving his arm in the same motion a basketball referee counts the 8 seconds, don't be alarmed, he is not doing the robot dance behind the plate, he just misplaced his stopwatch.

All-Star Wrap Up

Here's the wrap up, from the officiating's point of view, from tonight's All-Star game.

Tonight's officials were:

#24 Mike Callahan
#33 Sean Corbin
#13 Monty McCutchen

Total fouls called in tonight's game: 17 (East-7; West-10)

Free throws:

East - 6-13
West - 5-9

I realize this was an All-Star game, and therefore there was very little defense (aka effort), but hey, on the bright side... this is probably the one game out of the year where a coach or player isn't complaining about an official. Of course, it also helps that Rasheed Wallace wasn't on the roster.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Michael Jordan, aka - "The Russian Judge"

Tonight, I watched a very entertaining All-Star Saturday Night, which included the highly anticipated Barkley/Bavetta race, which I will get to in a moment. But first... seriously, did Dwight Howard get robbed or what? Hey Mike, ain't nobody ever gonna be like you if you keep stickin them with 8's when they clearly deserve a 10. The dunk that Howard pulled off was very, extremely original (which is usually the most important criteria), but unfortunately the judges weren't as impressed as the rest of us. I'm still curious to know what the sticker said, and I guarentee that will be the most talked about dunk out of the whole contest. I do think it was smart for MJ (and the Doc) to be tough, as he stated during the interview with Cheryl Miller, but sometimes you gotta give credit where credit was due. I think if Howard goes with a power dunk there in the 2nd round, and saves that dunk for the final - he gets a 50 with that dunk. That inconsistancy with scoring is why these guys deserve to be tonight's awful officials.

Now... as for Bavetta. I am disappointed that Dick lost, but proud of the old man. However, I think I am more disappointed with Dick and how he handled himself with the mic and camera in his face. He is obviously not used to that. He appeared to be intimidated by Sir Charles, and I think he may have let that get inside his head a little. He was afraid to have fun with the event, took it too seriously in my opinion. Even after the race when Ernie (who was awesome by the way) asked Dickie B about the race, his simple, boring, unentertaining, uninspiring answer was "67 and 44". I never saw one smile from the man, all business, which is I guess what you want from your officials anyway. But - I thought he could have lighted up just a tad - maybe there's some humor hidden in there somewhere. But anyway, thanks Dick for the effort you put forth tonight, it was very entertaining and I enjoyed it very much. I will admit, I found myself standing for the race, as I really could not believe that I was getting ready to watch it.

All in all, it was a good night I guess. The announcing crew could have used a little help, but I'm sure AA was all over that while live-blog'n the whole shabang. Speaking of announcing, where has Marv Albert been? I believe he was absent from TNT's thursday night coverage, and I didn't see him tonight either. Let's just hope he didn't get caught taking pictures with his cell phone.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hey, is that Erin Andrews?

You've probably seen this by now, considering it was posted over at Deadspin. But, it involves a referee, and it's funny. So, that's good enough for me:

Considering this was an ESPN cameraman, maybe the ref's excuse was there was a certain someone named Erin Andrews on the sidelines.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Amazing... Bob Knight isn't too fond of officials

Via FoxSports:

Texas Tech coach Bob Knight was reprimanded by the Big 12 Conference for comments about officiating in a double-overtime loss at Oklahoma State.

After Saturday's 93-91 defeat, Knight said a call on a charge was "horrendous" and "maybe as bad a call as I've ever seen."
Knight's statement violated the Big 12's principle and standards of sportsmanship, which prohibit coaches from commenting critically in public about officials, the conference said. The rule "goes for coaches, players, administrators, everyone," Big 12 spokesman Rob Carolla said Thursday.

So, Bob Knight has been reprimanded. What does that mean? Is that basically a slap on the wrist? "Please Robert, don't criticize our officials. Thank you." Last time I was pulled over and given a warning for driving too fast, that slowed me down for about 2 days. The fact remains, if an official blows a call that upsets a coach, the coach's responsibility to the team should be to at least have the right to say something about it. What's your opinion on the rule that prohibits coaches from commenting critically in public about officials? I understand players shouldn't be able to, but should coaches be allowed to complain publically about officiating? Where do you draw the line?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

You mean... they don't call traveling in the NBA?

Flip Saunders is a little upset that a traveling violation wasn't called during last night's game in which the Pistons lost to a weary Spurs team 90-81. The Spurs apparently waited through a three-hour weather delay to get from Newark to Detroit on Tuesday night and didn't arrive until sometime around 4am. So... you'd have to figure Detroit has a major advantage, right? Wrong. And losing a game like that has left Coach Saunders a little frustrated about, among other things, the awful officiating by the crew of Eddie Rush, Leon Wood, and Phil Robinson.

From the Detroit Bad Boys, via the Detroit Free Press:

The officiating unnerved the Pistons early. In the second quarter while down 10, the Pistons saw a Spur travel; the officials didn't call it. The possession continued, and Elson hit a jumper and got a shot at a free throw. He missed that, but the Spurs got the rebound, and Ginobili hit a three-pointer.

So in the Pistons' mind, that no-call cost them five points. Couple that with missed lay-ups and dunks, and frustration reigned.

"Every year we go to our league meetings," Saunders said, "and make a point of emphasis about traveling. They might as well let people do what they want because we don't call traveling. It becomes somewhat frustrating."

So what Flip is trying to tell us is that traveling is a problem in the NBA. Wow... I would have never guessed.

How much are you willing to wager on Bavetta

In case you were wondering, you can bet on the "Amazing Race" over at

Current odds are:

Charles Barkley +145

Dick Bavetta -190

I'm not into gambling, never really have been - although I did win $600 once during a trip to Reno - but that's another story for another time. With that being said, I have no idea what those numbers mean... could someone be so kind to explain to me how the system works? Much appreciated.


Not sure how many newbies are over here today, but we greatly appreciate our friends over at AA giving us the shout-out. My buddy and I are huge fans of the work they do over there, as we have always been fascinated by announcers and how awful they can be at times. What a brilliant idea... right? So the one day we are watching a game (I can't even remember what game it was now) and there must have been some horrible calls that were being made, and so I told him, we need to start a blog called Awful Officiating. At first we laughed, and then the next day at work I couldn't stop thinking about it. And that folks, is how this all began. AA was our inspiration, and for that we are very greatful. (Well, actually Joe Thiesmann was our inspiration, for it wasn't for him, we would have never googled "Awful Announcing", but... we did, and the rest is history) As AA mentioned, I contacted him, cause I didn't want to go stepping on any toes - and now we're all great friends. Well, ok - not really, we just share the same first name. Sorta. So... anyway - with all that, we say welcome to Awful Officiating. It's mostly dedicated to officials - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Occasionly we throw something else in that makes us laugh. Thank you for stopping by, feel free to add us to your favorites list, leave a comment or two, and come back anytime. One last thing: Isn't it great to know that the greatest race this weekend is not the Daytona 500, but yet a "made for tv" event involving an official and an announcer. GO DICKIE B!!!

Barkley on Leno

Charles Barkley is one of the funniest guys I have ever seen. He was just on Leno discussing the upcoming race against Dick Bavetta - I sure hope someone tivo'd that. Priceless...

Update: Great news we have video evidence... Sit back, relax, and enjoy:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How to get a Technical Foul:

Since we're discussing technical fouls, how bout a history lesson...

According to the NCAA Basketball 2007 Men's and Women's Rules and Interpretations, direct technical fouls for unsporting conduct may be called on bench personnel for, among other things:

Disrespectfully addressing an official

Attempting to influence an official's decision

Using profanity or language that is abusive, vulgar or obscene

Taunting or baiting an opponent

Climbing on or lifting a teammate to secure greater height

Knowingly attempting a free throw to which he or she is not entitled

Inciting undesirable crowd reactions

Using tobacco

And well... this one: Delaying a game by preventing the ball from being promptly made live. This recently happened in a small mid major game. I'll just let MJD do the explaining:

Bowling Green leads 77-75, and the final buzzer sounds. Bowling Green leaves the court with their win.

The referess then take another look at thing, review the tape, and determine that 0.6 seconds remain in the game. Bowling Green is already in the locker room, while Buffalo has yet to leave the court.

A ref goes to get Bowling Green to come back and finish the game, but they don't come with him. A little bit of time passes, and they come back.

A ref calls a technical foul on them.

So with .6 seconds remaining, Buffalo shoots their two technical free throws, and ties the game at 77. It goes to overtime, where, of course, Bowling Green loses.

Wow.... hilariously ridiculous!

Rasheed Wallace... you can speak again

Doesn't it seem like everytime Rasheed Wallace opens his mouth, he gets hit with a T? Well, this time score one for Rasheed. The NBA's all-time single season technical foul leader (41 in 00-01) was given his league leading 15th technical foul on Saturday Night, but yesterday the league took it back.

According to the Det News:

Stu Jackson, the NBA director of operations, has rescinded the technical foul called on Wallace on Saturday night against Toronto. His technical foul count remains at 14, two shy of earning him a one-game suspension.

Wallace did not carry on Saturday. He was miffed at a call by referee Courtney Kirkland, immediately ran away from him and lightly tossed the ball to referee Scott Foster. Kirkland called the tech.

It is the second technical foul on Wallace the league has rescinded. One was called back earlier this season against Houston.

Because of the appropriately named "Rasheed rule", Sheed is again back to being 2 T's away from being suspended for 1 game (16 T's). For each additional "T" he gets after that will also result in an immediate 1 game suspension. He was held "T"-less during tonight's loss to the Spurs.

I'm sure this question has already been asked, but this makes me wonder: what's the over/under on how many games Sheed ends up being suspended for during this season because of this rule? 4? 5? Any takers? Leave your guesses in the comments section.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Isiah Lord Thomas III could use a vacation


"Isiah Thomas is still so disturbed by two technical fouls called against the Knicks in Saturday's devastating overtime defeat in Utah that he's sending a tape of both plays to the NBA office."-- New York Post

I personally did not watch the game, nor saw the plays in question. I guess by sending in the video, The Baby-faced Assassin is simply trying to make a point to the league office that his team, like the father in the verizon commercial, got hosed. Not a bad move though if he's right. Considering he has video evidence, I'll assume he is. That will, at any rate, perhaps make officials think twice before calling technicals during the next Knicks game. Little things like this could go a long way to determine why many believe Isiah could possibly walk away with the coach of the year. You have to admit, he has exceeded (by a lot) all expectations anyone had for him.

Apparently, Isiah wasn't very happy how the game ended either. Via USA Today:

"New York coach Isiah Thomas went to midcourt after the buzzer and complained that Crawford was fouled on a shot at the buzzer that was waved off, but the game was over."

After the game, when speaking to reporters, Isiah didn't have much to say: "Hey, this is going to be real quick, fellas," Thomas said. "I have absolutely no comment on tonight's game."

Sounds to me like Zeke needs a break... good thing he'll get one this week. First things first though - lose to the Lakers. I know Kobe wants revenge for being shut out of the last LA vs NY showdown. I will be watching tonight's game - I'll keep my ears open for any follow up news on this situation. Also, I'll be tracking how many technicals are handed out for tonight's game. For some reason, I am really hoping Isiah gets the double T ejection early on in this game.

update: Knicks first technical comes with 2:08 to go in the 1st half... Q. Richardson. That causes MSG announcer Mike Breen to bring up the fact that Isiah sent the tapes to the NBA office and that "that is a battle you're just not going to win". Color man Clyde Frazier agrees. Side note: Kenny "The Jet" Smith is also sitting in as a 3rd color man for this game. You think he's bad on TNT, he's much worse when he's on the court.

update2: Knicks win in dramatic fashion, this should help Isiah sleep a little better. No controversy, but a rather exciting game to watch. Not sure if anyone watched the UNC game, but they lost by 1 last night as well in a very similar situation: Down by one, at home, with a chance to win... and the game winning shot is blocked - a disappointing night if you're a fan of either, or worse... both. (like me!)

Oh... and just for fun... because I love this commercial:

Don't come into Smush's house!

According to front page:

"Smush Parker and the Lakers host Stephon Marbury and the Knicks tonight on NBA TV (10:30 ET) as the two teams conclude their season series."

I just thought that was funny... I know Smush is playing pretty well this year, but when did this become his team? Personally, I think Kobe will put up 40 points tonight to show New York what they missed out on when he was suspended for the game in New York a couple weeks ago.

Update: Kobe nails long range 3 at the buzzer to give him 18 points at the end the 1st half.

Update2: The Knickerbockers win it as Lamar Odom misses game winning opportunity. Kobe was doubled, couldn't get open, ends up with 31 points. Smush Parker, perhaps feeling the pressure of this being his team, ends up with 9 points on 3-13 shooting. Lakers have lost 4 straight. Meanwhile, the Knicks have already matched their win total from a year ago with one game to go til the All-Star break.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Well... It's about time

Personally, I have seen this video clip probably 20 times, and I still can't believe that this really happened.

Pac10 officials are doing their best to make sure it doesn't happen again.


"The Pacific-10 Conference official who missed a call during the Oklahoma-Oregon game last season has been told he will not return to the job in that capacity.

Gordon Riese said he received death threats after a call on an onside kick near the end of the Sept. 16 game that the Ducks won 34-33. Televised replays showed the Sooners recovered that kick, but Riese did not see that angle in the replay booth.

Conference officials informed Riese last week that he was relieved of his replay duties. He will remain a Pac-10 technical assistant, making about $350 a game.

Riese, who took a leave of absence for the season after the game at Autzen Stadium, told The Oregonian newspaper that his doctors had advised him not to return to the job, anyway."

Seriously.... His doctors advised him not to return to the job? Because of death threats?

In reality, Riese seems like a good guy and probably does deserve an apology from the crazed Sooner fans who made the death threats. After all, the man is human. But I remember my buddy and I were watching this game, and we were amazed at how the events in that game played out. I really felt bad for Bob Stoops and the rest of the Oklahoma team. Considering all the details, I honestly feel like the Pac10 had no choice but to make sure this guy wasn't put in that situation again. It's ashame he had to be "relieved" of his job... why didn't he just step down?

Interesting notes... according to wikipedia, Mr Riese "was the line judge during the 1982 Stanford-California game when "The Play" helped California win, 25-20. He later worked as a referee in the Pac-10 and was the head of the officiating crew that worked the first Bowl Championship Series championship game, the Fiesta Bowl between Florida State and Tennessee on January 4, 1999. His final game on the field came on January 1, 2005 at the Fiesta Bowl between Pitt and Utah."

Super Bowl Officials...

By the way, and I know - this is about a week past due - but you'll have to excuse me, I'm abit new to this whole blogging thing. But I starting thinking that I probably let you guys down by not giving us the update on our "Awful Officials" for the Super Bowl. Just so everyone is in the loop, here is the breakdown on what was our 2007 Super Bowl officials.


Referee Tony Corrente has been named to head the seven-man crew of game officials selected to work Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium.

The other members of the Super Bowl XLI officiating crew are Carl Paganelli (umpire), George Hayward (head linesman), Ron Marinucci (line judge), Jim Saracino (field judge), John Parry (side judge), and Perry Paganelli (back judge). The Super Bowl XLI officiating crew collectively has 73 years of NFL officiating experience and 52 combined postseason game assignments.

And just in case you were wondering:

Under the NFL officiating program's evaluation system, the highest-rated officials at each position with the appropriate experience earn the right to work the Super Bowl. Super Bowl officials must have five years of NFL experience and previous playoff assignments.

Corrente's previous playoff experience included the 1997 NFC Championship game as a back judge, and he was the head referee in the 2001 NFC Championship game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants. Corrente also worked the World Bowl in NFL Europe during 1995 and 1998.

As commenter "mini-me" mentions in a post below - as far as our officiating was concerned, there was not much to complain about during this years Super Bowl. But it was also mentioned (I believe on AOL Sportsblog) that one of the big coaching moves of the game came when Tony Dungy had to throw the red flag to have the Marvin Harrison's 3rd down "out of bounds" call overturned by the replay booth. We should commend the NFL for instituting the "challenge rule" because in years past, it is possible that call would have come up in debate after the game had the Colts gone on to lose. For allowing the coach the opportunity to challenge, the NFL prevented that from happening in this case.

One more note to add about Corrente: When he is not dressed in his normal zebra outfit, Tony is a high school social science teacher in La Mirada, California. Makes me wonder how often students have thrown a red flag during class?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Barkley and Bavetta to Race during All-Star weekend

We've all heard about this for weeks, and it has been a topic of conversations during many of the recent TNT Thursday night telecasts. Thanks to the guys at WRBS, via Associated Content, the announcement has been made that Charles Barkley and Dick Bavetta will indeed be racing during the NBA all-star Saturday night festivities. Here at AO we are a fan of the refs, and will surely be rooting for Charles Barkley to go down. We also think it will generate some hilarious outtakes during the All-Star weekend. And I'm sure that Kenny and Ernie will never let the "Round Mound of Rebound" hear the end of it when he loses to a man who "parted the sea with Moses". If you would like to review the timeline... this is when this all started:

Dick Bavetta accepts the challenge:

I love how Marv Albert says... "I think it will be a wipeout!" Hah hah! I kind of agree with Marv. Charles, on the other hand, seems pretty confident that he is going to win this race.

Even Kevin Garnett chimes in with his opinion:

Charles eats donuts as he prepares for Dick Bavetta:

I am really looking forward to this race. Probably looking forward to this more than the game itself.

And finally... AA recently posted this video where Dickie B keeps it simple and says he is just "humble and focused".

If the NBA marketed their officials (particuarly the like-able Bavetta) as much as they market their players, David Stern might actually get the positive PR he is looking for.