Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jesse Jackson calls a strike on the MLB

Well... Surprised this took as long as it did. The Rev Jesse Jackson has weighed in on the recent headlining controversial questions that investigators have asked neighbors of 3 current major league umpires.

"Major League Baseball has done a disservice to its progressive social history by equating southern whites with white supremacists," Jackson said in a statement. "I am surprised the professional league which helped change social attitudes in all sports leagues about segregation, by championing Jackie Robinson, would make such a destructive move."

The umpires who's neighbors were asked were:

Greg Gibson
Sam Holbrook
Ron Kulpa

Gibson and Holbrook reside in Kentucky. Kulpa is from St. Louis.

Here is a little something on each ump (via

Gregory Allan Gibson...born on October 2, 1968 in Ironton, OH...resides in Kentucky...married Michelle (10/7/95)...has three children: Kyle, Cameron and Carter...attended the University of Kentucky and Shawnee State University...proudest moment as an umpire was working the plate in Cincinnati for the first time in 1997.

Samuel W. Holbrook...born on July 7, 1965 in Morehead, KY...married Susie (9/26/92)...has two children, Adam and Amy...received a BS and MS from Eastern Kentucky University...does charitable work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes...played baseball for four years in college...enjoys fishing, hunting, golf, and spending time with his family...favorite movies include Goodfellas, The Godfather and The Hunt for Red October...most admires his parents for the job they did raising their family.

Ronald Clarence Kulpa…born on October 5, 1968 in St. Louis, MO...resides in Missouri...married Sherri (11/13/93)…has one child: Tanner (10/16/95)…grad u at ed from Hazelwood Central High School in 1987…at tend ed Florissant Valley Community College (1989) and Missouri Baptist College (1990-92)…played baseball in college and then enrolled in umpire school…enjoys golf, bowling, hockey and riding his Harley-Davidson.

Major League Baseball needs to be very careful with how they proceed. With all the bad publicity America's past time has received due to the steroid scandal, the last thing they need is another story to damage their repuation even more.

I guess if you're living next door to a current major league umpire - Be prepared for questions like: Does he grow marijuana plants? Does he beat his wife? Have you seen the police at his home? Does he throw wild parties?

Wow! I could answer yes to each one of those questions for my neighbor, good thing he moved out.

A couple interesting notes... Greg Gibson was the home plate umpire during Randy Johnson's perfect game in 2004, and Ron Kulpa was the umpire in Justin Verlander's no-hitter in 2007, and also during Curt Schilling's one hitter 5 days earlier when Shannon Stewart broke up the no-no with 2 outs in the 9th.

Imagine how popular this story would be right now if the officials being questioned were NBA officials?

Editors Note: The ump in the picture(John Hirschbeck) who just so happens to be the World Umpire Association president, has not been accused... yet.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kwame Learns How to Flop

Kwame sells the flop and gets the call...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

100th Post Celebration

I'm going to make this short and sweet. This little blog which was started over a year ago, took about a 6 month break somewhere in the middle, has reached 100 posts. In the past year over 20,000 visitors have stopped by to say hello and check out what we do here. Most of those visitors have come thanks to our friends at The Big Lead which frequently links to us when we ask. We definitely appreciate those guys!

I'm happy that we were able to reach 100 posts on the day the Mets picked up Johan Santana! Only 3 more weeks til pitchers and catchers report! Bring on the Phillies!

But to celebrate - here's a video of GH3, Through the Fire and Flames on Expert... 100%

Daily Links

The NFL issued a record 4786 media credentials to cover Media Day today. I'm sure that we will get a few funny, but ridiculous stories to come out of Phoenix. My guess is that all the "Late Night" Shows are there so if you want some comedy, watch Leno or Letterman tonight, or better yet - Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

A pretty slow night in the NBA last night, just four games going on. The Hornets proved why they are sitting atop the NBA power rankings. There was plenty of complaining going on by the Spurs during their loss in Utah last night. Ume Idoka had 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 technicals for the Spurs. Guess they weren't getting the calls they're used to getting. Hmmm... wonder why? (AP, Slam Online)

The reason the Patriots will win Super Bowl XLII is because the referees are on their side. (Bleacher Report)

European's take their officiating seriously. This columnist wants referees to have to take lie detector tests... first question: 'are you instructed to favour the bigger clubs or does it just happen naturally?' (Peter Borough Today)

Last month, Randy Bruns completed the "triple crown" in officiating when he headed up an all-Iowa crew as the referee at the Division III football championship game in Salem, Va. - the third sport in which he worked a national collegiate championship event. (Desmoine Register)

Mike Carey, Super Bowl Official, is a Dirty Ref.

Your Tuesday night NBA officials (

The Pillsbury Doughboy does the Super Bowl Shuffle.

By the way - our next post will be the 100th in the history of Awful Officiating!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Breaking: Tony Parker Flops!

Well... file this one in the "things we already knew" category. Eva Longario has admitted that her husband Tony Parker takes the occasional flop to draw a foul. She says...

"Sometimes he acts to get the flagrant foul or, to sell the foul more, he'll throw himself on the floor and really play it up more than what it is. "I really don't know what the difference is so I'm like, 'Stop laying on the ground if you're not hurt. Just get up!' He's like, 'Honey, I have to stay on the ground sometimes.'

As we have discussed before around here, the NBA once considered calling a technical foul for a blatent flop. Flopping has become a disgrace in various sports but it has also become part of the game. It is coached, practiced and made an art by some NBA players (Vlade!). In fact, during the Indiana/Georgetown game on Saturday afternoon, Billy Packer actually suggested that one of the players should have flopped in order to get the call. It truly is getting ridiculous, and I wish the NBA could control it better, but Eva did nothing but confirm what we already know.

The funniest part about the picture above? Not only does the picture go perfect with the quote from Eva, but Steve Nash --- who is still standing! --- ended up looking like this after that collision:

Double Dribble?

I can understand an official having a tough time discerning the difference sometimes between an offensive foul and a blocking call. But it's calls like traveling and an occasional double dribble that frustrate me. You tell me... Is this a double dribble?

Daily Links

Not much happening in the world of sports over the weekend. Tiger was Tiger and the NBA provided us with 2 great games on ABC, but it was Tom Brady who stole the headlines by not limping. That's the country we live in folks.

I saw Cloverfield on Saturday night, but wasn't too impressed.

Some good links today, a few "no calls" during some big College Basketball games and the SEC Head of Officials responds to some questionable calls that were made last week. Enjoy...

Even though SEC fans would disagree, Head of Officials says recent calls were mostly correct (*

Heckling referees or opposing players at games proves nothing (indianastatesman)

Odom was so frustrated that he fired the ball the length of the court in the direction of referees Tony Brothers and Ed Malloy as the Lakers called time out. (OC Register)

The No. 24 ASU men's basketball team lost 56-55 to No. 6 Washington State Saturday, with the game's final play resulting in a no-call after Harden drew contact on what could have been a game-winning drive to the bucket.(AsuWebDevil)

Referee Mike Callahan delayed Lakers/Cavs game because of heavy leakage from the roofers wet clothes! (MyFOXLA)

During the Senior Bowl, Oklahoma State WR Adarius Bowman caught a pass in the endzone, but the referees ruled that he hadn’t maintained possession, even though replays showed Bowman getting two feet in bounds before losing the ball. (Pro Football Weekly)

WVU players and fans are still wondering why the officials didn’t look at the replay of Butler’s last-gasp shot to determine whether it was a legitimate block by Ewing or goaltending. (Martinsburg Journal News)

All Time Super Bowl Head Officials (Burt Talks Sports)

* Interesting couple of paragraphs from this article:

Whether coaches, players or fans agree with the calls, Gerald Boudreaux wants it known that the referees are held accountable.

Referees receive a DVD of each game they work. Referees are asked to mark particular calls as correct, incorrect or inconclusive.

An observer attends each game. Referees participate in a 30-minute conference call every other week to talk about calls. Attendance is mandatory and checked.

Calls are judged. Calls in the final minutes or seconds of games are judged separately. The SEC doesn't have a pass/fail standard that must be met, but Boudreaux suggested that the league wants "about 94 percent" of the calls to be correct.

In his three years as the SEC coordinator of men's officials, Boudreaux has fired 14 referees.

"I don't say that as bragging," he said. "There is accountability. If guys don't cut it, they don't stay."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saved by the Block!

Didn't see the end of the Georgetown @ WVU game? You missed a good one! Georgetown won in Morgantown by 1 point 58-57, but it was how the game ended that left fans booing and Bob Huggins livid. WVU player Da'Sean Butler drove the baseline and released a finger roll towards the basket as time was expiring, but out of know where came Patrick Ewing Jr to block the shot as the buzzer sounded.

West Virginia fans are definitely not happy. The are calling it a goaltend and crediting Bob Huggins for chasing the officials down. They do, however, acknowledge that if WVU would have shot a little better than 12 for 23 at the foul they would not have put themselves in that position.

What did you think? Goaltend or no Goaltend.. here's the video:

I'm going to go with Charles Rich over at the fanhouse and say it was a clean block... barely.

Super Bowl Fun

I caught this little tidbit while reading the Ladies... guide to "How not to throw a Super Bowl Party". The fun times guide gives you this idea to make the game just a little more exciting:

Make your own yellow penalty flags to throw when a brazen penalty occurs, the ref misses a penalty call, the ref makes a bad call, or for any reason at all! Can you imagine all those yellow flags flying around your party?

Just the thought of this makes me rub my face in disgust while laughing. As if we all need yellow flags and red flags to throw around. If you have someone at your party that would throws a red flag - you can point them to the review both right outside the front door.

Oh... and in case you're interested the fun times guide also included instructions on how to make your very own yellow flag:

Purchase or find: Yellow fabric such as linen or nylon, rubber bouncing balls about 1" diameter, and rubber bands.

Cut the fabric into rectangles that are about 1 foot by 1 1/2 feet.

Place the bouncing ball in the middle of the fabric.

Pull up all four sides of the fabric together.

Wrap a rubber band around the fabric to cinch the ball in place. You may need to wrap the rubber band around several times to ensure a tight fit.

Enjoy the game friends...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Daily Links

Daily Links:

Oh, those wacky prank callers decided to make their presence known at the Big East men's basketball teleconference by calling in and asking some dirty, naughty questions. Poor Jim Calhoun probably didn't figure it out until he had to ask if there was a Mike Krotch in the room.

Over in the Australian Open, Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova proceeded to complain about bad calls, bad bounces and Ivanovic's bad manners. Hantuchova accused Ivanovic of being "unfair" by allowing her tennis shoes to squeak on the court as she returned serve. My question is if the squealing isn't distracting, then how can the squeaking be?

Duke fans talk about the officiating in last night's game against Virginia Tech - using words like "awful," "inconsistent" and "horrible".

"Really though, that was one of the most poorly officiated games in recent memory. Techs left and right, two phantom calls on Adam H that led to and-ones and let's not forget Kenny Belton being given an extra free throw because the referees had their heads up their bum-bums." Yeah, I guess I'd feel like that as well after losing at home by 1 to Uconn.

The Daily Tailgate

It's time for the Daily Tailgate. The Daily Tailgate will get you prepared for the Big Game by giving you ideas on what to make for your friends and families. We will also be replaying some classic commercials. This feature will run each weekday, usually around lunch time, up until the Big Game.

You can't go wrong with wings. Every party has a good bucket of wings handy, and these wings sound like they will be pretty tasty. This is the original spicy Buffalo chicken wings recipe from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY.

Today's treat comes from John Mitzewich at

36 chicken wing pieces (one wing makes 2 pieces - the "flat" and the "drum")
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce (Frank's is the brand used in Buffalo)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
celery sticks
blue cheese dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
If necessary, cut whole wings into two pieces. Toss the wings in the oil and spread out evenly on baking pan(s). Do not crowd. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the wings are cooked through and browned.

While the wings are baking, mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan, and over low heat bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and then turn off.

After the wings are cooked, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce over the hot wings and toss with a spoon or spatula to completely coat. You can serve them like this, which is called "wet," or put them back in the oven for a few minutes to cook on the sauce and make them crisper.

And now, for a pretty funny European commercial. I think you'll enjoy this one:

"What are you sinking about"

AFA Calling for Boycott ESPN's First Take Sponsors

Well....This should be the most successful boycott in the history of the AFA.

By now, you've heard of the situation with Dana Jacobson on ESPN. The American Family Association sent this email out to its supporters Thursday evening.

ABC fired an actor because of an anti-gay comment, but gave anchorwoman who told an audience 'F---Jesus' what amounted to a one-week vacation.

Last June, when actor Isaiah Washington, star of ABC's show Grey's Anatomy, made an anti-gay slur in reference to openly homosexual T.R. Knight, the network immediately fired Washington.

But when ESPN (owned by ABC) anchorwoman Dana Jacobson publicly said "F--- Notre Dame," "F--- Touchdown Jesus" and finally "F--- Jesus," the network gave her a one week suspension. In essence, ABC gave Jacobson a one week vacation.

ABC has two standards, one for anti-gay comments and one for anti-Christian comments. Those who use anti-gay comments are punished. Those who use anti-Christian comments are supported.

If ABC refuses to fire Jacobson, would you be willing to support a one-year boycott of the sponsor of her program?

Here's how the voting is going so far:

Yes, I would be willing to support a one-year boycott of the sponsor of Dana Jacobson's show if ABC refuses to fire her. 52,334
No, I would not be willing to boycott the sponsor. 388

It's gonna be easy for me and so many others to boycott the show, because we ALREADY don't watch it! But seriously, my opinion is I think Jacobson crossed a line, and should be more than suspended for just a week. I know some bloggers and writers have said it's a roast, therefore it should be understandable. There are somethings that shouldn't be said, and if you're one to compare Jacobson to Kathy Griffith or Lisa Lampenelli - well, I wouldn't watch them either. I'm happy Jacobson is at least reprimanded, but it's interesting to know that saying anti-homosexual and/or "racial" comments will get you fired or killed by the media (Isaiah Washington, Tim Hardaway, Imus) - which I support completely by the way - but when someone makes an Anti-Christian, Anti-Jesus comment, we turn our head to the comments, chalk it up as a roast and accept it, and try and move on.

If'd you like to add your vote... go here

Update... Via sportsmediawatch. The Christian Defense Counsel is also taking aim at Jacobson:
The Christian Defense Coalition will hold a public demonstration and prayer vigil outside ESPN Headquarters tomorrow, in response to the drunken ramblings of suspended ESPN First Take anchor Dana Jacobson.

The CDC demands that ESPN release a tape of Jacobson making her comments, an action that seems wholly unnecessary, considering her comments have already been well circulated. An ESPN executive confirmed the existence of the tape to the director of the Christian organization.

In addition to the release of the tape, the Christian Defense Coalition will also demand that Jacobson is fired.

I appreciate this approach. While I hate to see anyone get fired or lose their job - it was an offensive comment made to a group of people (whom I am apart of) and to the group's Savior whom we worship and adore daily. When you upset Christians - they are not going to take it anymore they are going to fight back. I just pray that Americans will be educated through this and realize that they can't say these things and get away with it by getting a little slap on the wrist.

As for the blogosphere's reaction, I'm predicting the AFA and the CDC will be ridiculed which is unfortunate considering the loud outcry in the blogosphere against Tim Hardaway and Imus when they made their comments. Sports media watch called it an "outstanding overreaction".

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fun with NBA commercials...

I was checking in on the Pacers/Bucks game tonight, and this commercial came on. As soon as I watched it, I realized why the Pacers are 19-25.

Wouldn't you be intimidated to play them?

But... Pacer fans, never fear. It could be worse... ALOT worse. Check out this commercial of a few of the Dallas Mavericks kickin it with Deion.

Wow... that's catchy, "from subprime to prime time in no time". I hate to see their credit rates down there.

Gamblin Ref Tim Donaghy Won't Be Sentenced Until April

Well... if you're like me and were really looking forward just how long Tim Donaghy is going to be locked up for doing what millions have believed has been going on for years (and may possibly still be going on), well, you're going to have to wait for at least another 3 and a half months. From

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy's sentencing on two felony charges stemming from a basketball gambling scam has been delayed again until April.

Donaghy, who pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and transmitting betting information across state lines, is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. April 18 in New York.

Donaghy, 41, has been free on $250,000 bond. He resigned as an NBA referee on July 9.

Court papers say Donaghy started placing bets on NBA games in 2003. He then gave gamblers inside information, including tips on which crews would officiate games and how the various officials and players interacted, according to the documents. He faces up to 25 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.

At least for Timmy, it'll be warmer when he hits the slammer and the summer leagues may be about to start up. I'm sure they could always use a few extra refs to settle those disputes.

The Daily Links

Here's a few links to keep you going through the afternoon:

Baylor 116, Texas A&M 110 (5OT) The teams combined to shoot more than 100 free throws, with Baylor going 39-of-47 and A&M making 36-of-59.
The game lasted so long that even one of the referees got confused. In the break before the start of the fourth overtime, a referee approached a member of the media and asked if triple overtime was about to begin. When told it was four, he shook his head and walked off.

The NCAA could consider Anthony a friend who gave Mayo the tickets rather than a representative of the Nuggets, perhaps making the matter legal by NCAA standards. I don't know how that works, do they have to provide proof they have hung out before?

Kentucky fans - excited about beating Tennessee, still complain about the officiating - - "The referees were absolutely horrible on both sides. They missed a lot of calls, including on Kentucky. The intentional foul call on Derrick Jasper is the worst call I have ever seen."

Patriots Tight End Ben Watson promotes the gift of giving. “It’s simply giving, taking what you have and passing it on to somebody else,” Watson actually sounds like a good guy, I didn't realize anyone on the Patriots actually had compassion towards other people... hmmm, you learn something new everyday.

Red Sox to wear EMC ads on uniforms

March Madness on demand - back for 2008. The first week of thursday/friday games are possibly the two greatest "work sporting events" of the year. Sign up today to get your VIP pass to watch live on your computer. And yes, they even have the boss button.

Mets are in the drivers seat to land Johan Santana, and did they just add Ryan Church to the deal?

Sad story: Heath Ledger Had Six Prescription Drugs Nearby

The Daily Tailgate

It's time for the Daily Tailgate. The Daily Tailgate will get you prepared for the Big Game by giving you ideas on what to make for your friends and families. We will also be replaying some classic commercials. This feature will run each weekday, usually around lunch time, up until the Big Game.

Break out your sombraro's, we're going Mexican today. If you decide to treat your guests to this Mexican Barbeque Feast they'll be sure to thank you as they try and decide to run to the bathroom during the commercials, or wait for the game to come back on. This recipe comes via Cyndi Allison @

Pica de Gallo

2 finely diced onions (white onion is traditional)
2 large finely diced tomatoes (really don’t use the canned ones - yuck)
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro (fresh is great – sprinkle is OK if you can’t find fresh)
2 fresh jalapenos, finely diced (go fresh if you can – use from jar if necessary)
1/8 tsp. pepper (freshly ground is nice –table pepper is OK)
juice of 1 orange (or 1 TBS of orange juice)
juice of 2 limes (1 TBS of the lime that comes in the plastic -squirt lime or lime juice bottle)
1 tsp salt

Chop onions and tomatoes. You want little chunks the size of M&M candies or a bit smaller.
Chop cilantro and jalapenos.
Juice the fruit if you don’t use bottled juice. Don't keep the pulp - just the juice.
Mix everything together.
Chill overnight in the refrigerator.

It was reported earlier in the week that we will be seeing some more Carlos Mencia commercials in this year's Super Bowl. So here you go with one that you may not have seen yet:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Daily Links

Ask the Ref: Former ref Jerry Markbreit answers questions like "Do Super Bowl officials get a ring?"

NCAA and the power conferences seek better officiating. I hope the Big Ten is the first to upgrade - USA TODAY attempts to answer this question: "I wanted to get your opinion on the concept of "advantage" when it comes to hoops officiating. I'm a season ticket holder at Cal, and it seems like there is an increasing amount of calls being made in the Pac-10 on actions that I would not even characterize as "impediments." I love the fact in soccer that officials will put away their whistles unless a play creates a distinct advantage for the team committing the foul. Is there any similar concept preached to NCAA officials, and if not, do you think there should or should not be some kind of application of the advantage rule?"

College Football to adopt a few NFL timing rules? For example, clock stops on a first down.... maybe not for long. The Exponent

Refs fail to show up for Jr. College Game. Hey, doesn't that just make the game more enjoyable for fans? Aiken Standard

Kansas hopes that tonights game is not affected by disputed referee calls.

The Daily Tailgate

It's time for the Daily Tailgate. The Daily Tailgate will get you prepared for the Big Game by giving you ideas on what to make for your friends and families. We will also be replaying some classic commercials. This feature will run each weekday, usually around lunch time, up until the Big Game.

Today's Super Bowl Appetizer is Sausage Dip. This suggestion was made by part time contributor "-B". The recipe comes from

1 pound ground pork sausage
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

Place pork sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.
Drain sausage and stir in onions. Cook until slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Mix in diced tomatoes with green chile peppers. Stirring occasionally, allow the mixture to simmer approximately 15 minutes.
Blend cream cheese and sour cream into the sausage mixture. Season with crushed red pepper.

Enjoy the dip while watching this classic skittles commercial.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Super Bowl Officiating Crew

Yesterday we mentioned that Mike Carey will become the first african american to be the head official for a Super Bowl. Well... just like Mike, these guys were also rated #1 at their position based on merit and will join Carey for the big game. The rest of the Super Bowl officiating crew, with their regular season crew chief is in parenthesis:

Umpire: Tony Michalek (Parry)
Head linesman: Gary Slaughter (Leavy)
Line judge: Carl Johnson (Austin)
Field judge: Boris Cheek (Green)
Side judge: Larry Rose (Green)
Back judge: Scott Helverson (Hochuli)
Alternate referee: Walt Coleman (Coleman)
Alternate umpire: Dan Ferrell (Carey)
Alternate: Ed Camp (Austin)
Alternate: Carl Cheffers (Nemmers)
Alternate: Greg Steed (Triplette)

It was also mentioned that it's purely coincidence that Carey was the head referee for the Patriots and Giants week 17 game. Carey and crew were apparently chosen last week before the NFL knew who the two Super Bowl teams would be. In case you were wondering, during that game in week 17, there were 5 penalties accepted for 42 yards against the Patriots and there were 5 penalties accepted for 53 yards against the Giants.

In other related Super Bowl officiating news... our friendly reader Mile High did some research on the Super Bowl refs and found some interesting tidbits going all the way to the 1990 season:

-- Walt Anderson has been a white hat since 2003. He has done playoff games each of the last four seasons (2004-2007; can't get a playoff assignment in the first year).
-- Gerry Austin has been a white hat since 1990. The only years he has missed the playoffs were 1990, 1991 (couldn't do first two years?), 2004 and 2005
-- Mike Carey has been the most consistent. He has been a white hat since 1995. He's only missed the playoffs in 1995 and 1996 (again, needed three years' of experience?)
-- Bill Carrollo became a white hat in 1996. He's only missed 1996, 1997, 2005 and 2007. Interesting he has missed two of the past three and has four conference title games and a Super Bowl since 1999.
-- Walt Coleman has been a white hat since 1995. Has only missed 1995, 2002 and 2006 in the playoffs.
-- Ed Hochuli has been a white hat since 1992. He's only missed 1992 (obvious) and 2006 (don't know what's up with him missing last year, but that's pretty interesting)
-- Terry McAulay (I like how he works a game) has been a white hat since 2001. He's only missed 2001 and 2003. 2003 is very strange, actually. He went championship game (2002), missed (2003), divisional and super bowl (2004), championship game (2005), championship game (2006), championship game (2007)
-- Peter Morelli: White hat since 2003. Has only missed 2003.

Thanks MH! Keep the tips/suggestions/tidbits coming.

Playoff Ref Roundup

To recap the Playoffs, here were the Refs that called each game:

Wild Card Weekend:
Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh - Scott Green
Tennessee @ San Diego - Ed Hochuli
Washington @ Seattle - Walt Coleman
New York @ Tampa Bay - Walt Anderson

Divisional Playoff Weekend:
Seahawks @ Green Bay - Mike Carey
Jaguars @ Patriots - Jerome Boger
Chargers @ Colts - Gerald Austin
Giants @ Cowboys - Peter Morelli

Championship Game Weekend:
Chargers @ Patriots - Jeff Triplette
Giants @ Packers - Terry McAulay

Super Bowl
Giants vs. Patriots - Mike Carey

Mike Carey wins the award for Ref with the best merits. I'm not sure exactly what those merits are, but he is lucky one who was chosen. Interesting point made by commenter "Milehigh", last year's head official during the Super Bowl, Tony Corrente, was not even chosen for one playoff game. His 2007 crew was the exact same as his 2006 crew except they had a different side judge. Doug Toole was his side judge during 2006, where as in 2007 Corrente's sude judge was Dyrol Prioleau. It looks like 2007 was Prioleau's first year in the league. 6 other regular officials also did not work a playoff game. They are:

Bill Carollo - 18 yrs experience
Bill Leavy - 12 yrs experience
Larry Nemmers - 22 yrs experience
John Parry - 7 yrs experience
Gene Staratore - 4 yrs experience
Ron Winter - 12 yrs experience
and, of course...
Tony Corrente - 12 yrs experience

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mike Carey... Super Bowl XLII Referee is reporting that for the first time in history, there will be an african american heading the officiating crew for a Super Bowl.

Mike Carey was notified today that he has been given the assignment of a lifetime on February 3rd, 2008.

In the report, it says the officials for the Super Bowl are chosen on merit, with the highest ranked at each position getting the assignment.

Over at refchat, they have analyzed Carey's stats for the season:

In the regular season, Mike was a good referee for visiting teams. Home teams only won 40% of their games with Mike's crew, which was second-worst of the 17 referee crews.

Mike was 6th (of 17) in total points scored per game (45.0), 4th in visitors' points (23.5) and 12th in home team points (21.5).

Mike was middle of the pack (9th) in penalties per game at 11.8. Ranked 10th in penalty yards per game (90 yards per game). Ranked near the bottom (14th) in average penalty yards per penalty at 7.6. Mike was tied for the highest in the percent of his games where the visiting team had more penalties called than the home team (70%). He is not the only referee where most games had more penalties called against the visiting team yet the visiting teams did well in his games. The same quality of usually more penalties called against the visiting teams yet the visiting teams nevertheless usually winning the games also applied to Ron Winter this year.

Well, we know there are no "home" or "away" teams in the Super Bowl so those stats shouldn't mean too much in Arizona. The stat that stood out to me was the fact that Mike and crew averaged only 11.9 penalties per game - couple that with the fact that the Giants and Pats are averaging a combined 8.7 penalties per game in the playoffs and we're looking at a possible low number of penalties for the Super Bowl. In my opinion, that's a good thing.

As I have mentioned before, Carey is one of my favorite officials, and I think he does a fairly good job on the games that I have seen him officiate. However, every official can have bad games and of course they need to have a good team behind them as well. As we saw just 2 years ago when the Seahawks played the Steelers, just because you may have had the best merit's during the regular season, doesn't mean you will call a great game during the Super Bowl.

Carey has been a Super Bowl alternate many times, but has never been the referee.

Giants... Disciplined

In Peter King's MMQ, he notes that the Giants are acting a lot like the Patriots in how they have bought into their coaches coaching styles. One example is the discipline that the Giants have shown during their three playoff games. King says:

In the playoffs, the Giants have turned the ball over once in three games. They're plus-five in turnover differential. They're plus-eight in penalty differential; they've committed 14 to their foes' 22

Just to give you an idea how that compares to the Patriots, so far in their 2 games they have been called for 8 penalties (for 93 yards).

So... the per game pentalty average in the playoffs is:

Giants - 4.67
Patriots - 4

For the Patriots however, having a Jeff Triplette crew officiating one of your games is an advantage. As we have discussed here before, Triplette is one of the leaders in calling the fewest amount of penalties during a game, especially for a home team.

It will be interesting to see who the officiating crew is come Super Bowl Sunday. But if these trends continue, don't expect a lot of yellow hanky's laying on the field on the evening of Feb 3rd.

As for the game itself, I think the Giants have a better chance than what most people are giving them. Over at PFT, they compared Eli to the Tom Brady of 2001. Could this be the beginning of something special for Peyton's younger brother? Will Peyton soon become known as "Eli's older brother"? If you recall, the Tom Brady of 2001 was up against impossible odds when his Patriots team were heavy underdogs in the Super Bowl that year when they matched up against the "Greatest show on Turf" St. Louis Rams. You know how that turned out, could this be the year the Giants do something similar.

Patriots.... Dirty Players?

With a name like Hardwick, and a picture like the one here, it's hard to imagine this guy claiming another player is dirty. However, according to the Boston Herald (via PFT) there is a certain someone on the Patriots who was involved in some "unclean" plays yesterday.

“There are 10 (bleeping) good players on that team,” Hardwick said. “But Richard Seymour is a dirty, cheap, little pompous (expletive).”

Hardwick was only getting started.

“He’s cheap and dirty and the head man just let him get away with it the whole time,” Hardwick said. “They’ve got 10 great players on that team and when Jarvis Green comes on the field, they’ve got 11 great players who compete how you’re supposed to play. But Richard Seymour is the biggest (expletive) I’ve ever played.”

However... what is really interesting about this comment coming from Hardwick is that earlier in the year, he had this to say after a game against the Titans:

“Their mindset was to try to intimidate us and see if we’ll back down,” Hardwick said. “Everyone seems to think we’re soft — that we’re Southern Cal boys and we’re not going to play hard and we’re soft and we’re quitters. We’re just as dirty, if not dirtier than anyone else in the league, so we like that. That’s the way Kansas City was. That’s the way Tennessee was. They think they’re going to swell up on us and be bigger than us, tougher.”

As Alanis Morisette used to say... "Isn't that Ironic?"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

NY @ GB - Officiating Roundup

Wow.... What a game! Even people that don't care about football were standing and cheering as the game was winding down. Watching the final 3 or 4 drives were so exciting, I can't remember a time when I cheered that much for a game that I really had no rooting interest in. Deep down I was pulling for the Packers, mainly so we could see Favre vs Brady in the Super Bowl, but I really could have cared less. There were a ton of exciting plays, especially in the 4th quarter. Plays like when Favre through an interception that was picked off by McQuarters but then fumbled and recovered by a big 'ol offensive lineman. Can you imagine how excited John Madden or Dan Dierdorf would have been if they had been announcing this game when that happened? Then how about with 2:30 to go in the game the Giants muffed the punt, almost turned the ball over, 2 different Packers had a chance to fall on it.... we were literally jumping out of our couches. Those are times when you know you are witnessing something special. It was exciting and I'm sure it was the same for anybody reading this. Instant Classic all over this one.

Now, as for the officiating. Terry McAuley and crew, in my opinion, did a much worse job than Triplette's crew did during the first game of the day. First of all there were 13 total penalties in this game vs only a total of 3 during the first game. Out of the 13, they broke down like this:

NYG - 6-50
GB - 7-37

Now, the false starts and offsides are obvious and a ref has to make those calls. There were a few calls, however that I thought were a little questionable. For example, with 2:15 to go in the 4th quarter and the game tied at 20, Ahmad Bradshaw broke through the Packers secondary and scampered his way all the way to the endzone. The Giants fans we were watching it with were going crazy and thought they had just sealed the deal. Then all of a sudden, the little yellow "flag" symbol popped up on the screen. The Packers fans of course start shouting FLAG! FLAG! and next thing you see is McAuley giving us the "Holding... on the offense" signal. Upon watching the replay - I thought it was very questionable, especially considering it came on such a crucial play during the game. I don't think Triplette's crew makes that call.

Overall, I thought most calls went the Packers way. The 7 penalties against them is a little deceiving considering that 2 of them were for 0 yards because there were back to back offsides on Green Bay at the 1 yard line. One call that Packer fans could possibly complain about would have been the illegal hands to face call on Al Harris which was called after he intercepted an Eli Manning pass early in the 3rd quarter. Even though Harris did smack Burress in the face, both those players were playing pretty rough all night. Burress was never called for anything, and Harris was called for 2 penalties even though they were evenly smacking each other around. In the end though, neither team can really complain about the officiating, because I thought they pretty much evened themselves out.

The complete breakdown of calls was:

1st Quarter
Green Bay
8:16 C Williams - Encroachment, 6 yards

2nd Quarter
Green Bay
13:33 - A Harris, Illegal use of the hands, Declined

New York
13:00 - M Hedgecock - False Start, 5 yards
5:44 - D Diehl, Offensive Holding, 8 yards
4:40 - Illegal Shift, Declined
3:41 - M Johnson, Illegal Contact, 5 yards

3rd Quarter
Green Bay
12:51 - A Harris, Illegal Contact, 5 yards (nullified interception)
11:17 - N Collins, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards
8:24 - C Williams, Defensive Offsides, 0 yards (ball at 1 yd line)
8:19 - C Williams, Defensive Offsides, 0 yards (ball at 1 yd line)

New York
5:40 - S Madison, Unnecessary Roughness, 12 yards

4th Quarter
Green Bay
8:12 - C Woodson, Defensive Pass Interference, 6 yards
2:44 - C Clifton, False Start, 5 yards

New York
9:04 - A Toomer, Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards
2:15 - C Snee, Offensive Holding, 10 yards (nullified touchdown)

SD @ NE - 2nd Half Update

No Pentalties in the 2nd Half. I happen to think Triplette and crew did a good job of keeping the game under control. There was one play when I thought some referee's would have thrown a personal foul call, but Triplette kept the flag in his pocket and simply yelled at the player. This was the play when a Patriots defensive back pushed Philip Rivers to the ground. I happened to think Triplette was right because it looked as if Rivers was doing a little bit of acting like kickers do when they get nudged. Triplette (who earlier did call a "running into the kicker") wasn't falling for that one. Good game for these refs who won't be the topic of any controversies tomorrow which is a good thing for them, and the NFL.

SD @ NE 1st Half Update

Not much happening as far as pentalties are concerned here in the 1st Half. There were a few no calls, especially a big one. Mike Vrabel could have been called for a leg whip / tripping penalty on the first pick rivers threw. But as discussed over at ref chat, Jeff Triplette and crew are near the bottom of the pack at calling pentalties against the home team. However, they have only called 1 against the Chargers so it's been a pretty fair game thus far.

The 1st Half Totals:

SD - 1 for 5 yards
NE - 2 for 19 yards

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jeff Van Gundy Still Likes to Complain about the Refs...

Jeff Van Gundy is one of my favorite Basketball announcers. You can tell he is a "coach at heart", because he still complains about the refs as if he is still roaming the sidelines. Of course, this is the guy who once tossed out the idea of the NBA being involved in something known as a conspiracy theory... THE NERVE! But at the same time, being an announcer in tonights Bulls/Warriors game, there is plenty to complain about. The officiating crew of Brian Forte, Steve Javie and Derek Richardson has been absolutely brutal, blowing calls on both ends of the court. There are charges that should be called blocking, clean blocks that should be no calls, a guy who was out of bounds and didn't get both feet back in bounds was allowed to gain possesion of the ball, all in the 4th quarter alone. NBA officials have to have one of the most difficult job in the world but something tells me that Van Gundy could do a pretty good job.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Expect of Lot of Dirty Play at Lambeau

The Packers are claiming the Giants are dirty players. In an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal Giants Center Shaun O'Hara is accused of being a little too physical.

"With 3:22 remaining in the Packers' 35-13 victory at Giants Stadium, Kampman was blocked to the ground by Giants center Shaun O'Hara. As backup quarterback Jared Lorenzen was sacked, Kampman started to get up when O'Hara delivered a forceful forearm to the back of Kampman's neck."

What's worse, even Patriots Safety Rodney Harrison (one of the leagues dirtiest players by reputation) agreed with the Packers accusations and had this to add:.

"I'm going to tell you, we saw it on film," New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said after facing the Giants in the regular-season finale. "It wasn't no secret. They push, they hit late, they come at you and try to take you out. That's the way they play."

"It wasn't no secret". Rodney needs to work on his double negatives.

Now, how does this affect the Officiating? If McCauley will indeed be the head official (see below), then this may be a good thing for Packer fans. Why you ask? Well... McAulay ranks "number one in calling the largest percentage of penalties and penalty yards against visiting teams (59% by penalties and 60% by penalty yards)! On average 18.9 more penalty yards against visiting teams per game than against home teams."

Hopefully McCauley and crew will be able to keep the dirtyness to a minimum on Sunday, but I'm sure - especially if the Giants fall behind - we can expect to see some added intensity in their players to try and get them back in the game. That added intensity may result in a few personal foul flags if the Giants aren't careful.

By the way, if you recall... The Giants may have had a good reason to be a little dirty during the Patriots game.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Championship Game Referees

Refchat has listed this weekends officiating crews. I'm not sure if this is accurate or where they found it, but they seem to know somehow so I will post here as well...

Chargers at Patriots:
R- Jeff Triplette (Triplette)
U- Butch Hannah (Anderson)
HL- Steve Stelljes (Triplette)
LJ- Gary Arthur (Carollo)
FJ- Tom Sifferman (Hochuli)
SJ- Greg Meyer (Triplette)
BJ- Greg Steed (Triplette)

Giants at Packers:
R- Terry McAulay (McAulay)
U- Roy Ellison (Winter)
HL- Jim Mello (McAulay)
LJ- Jeff Bergman (Boger)
FJ- Scott Steenson (Boger)
SJ- Rick Patterson (Anderson)
BJ- Perry Paganelli (Parry)

This will be the 9th and 10th different referee used this year during the playoffs. There are 7 that haven't yet been used. Any guesses on who the Super Bowl referee will be?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Q&A With Former Ref... has a weekly Q&A with former NFL official Jerry Markbreit. Markbreit, the only official to referee four super bowls, and sometimes gets confused by "heads or tails" answered questions like this one from fans:

During the Colts-Chargers game there was a play that had two penalties. One against the chargers for illegal formation and the other against the Colts for illegal contact. The referee stated that "the illegal contact penalaty was waved off because the quarterback was out of the pocket." What gives? It seems that this was incorrectly stated or as I see it, every time a quarterback rolls out the defenders can just tackle the receivers. I know that I'm wrong but I need your help on this play. --G.L. Kirby, Charlottesville, Va.

The rules states that an eligible receiver may be contacted by a defender only to a point five yards beyond the line of scrimmage unless the player who receives the snap demonstrates no further intention to pass the ball, including handing off the ball, pitching the ball, or moving out of the pocket. Within this five-yard zone a defensive player may chuck an eligible receiver in front of him. The defender is allowed to maintain continuous and unbroken contact within the five yard zone so long as the receiver has not moved beyond a point that is even with the defender. The defender may not hold or tackle the eligible receiver. This would constitute defensive holding and is not considered illegal contact. This defensive holding foul is not governed by where it occurs on the field.

You can check out the entire Q&A here

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ref Roundup

The four head officials in last weekends games were:

Seahawks @ Green Bay - Mike Carey

Jaguars @ Patriots - Jerome Boger

Chargers @ Colts - Gerald Austin

Giants @ Cowboys - Peter Morelli

The officiating crew that came away with the most critism was by far Gerry Austin's crew in Indianapolis. It appeared that those officials were the ones that were involved in some sort of conspiracy theory trying to help the Colts earn a bid to the AFC championship game. The other team that I heard fans of complaining about today were Cowboys fans, but as Chris Myers said on his radio show - The Cowboys lost that game themselves. Those fans have nothing to complain about except for the fact that their players flat out quit on them. The Chargers had to deal with a handful of calls they thought were unfair and they were on the road; however, they were able to fight back and win. Considering Dallas was hit with 11 pentalties, I can understand their frustration, but it was at home, and in the fourth quarter it appeared they gave up and threw in the towel. Many people are saying their offensive line let them down, and I think it's amazing how the leader of that unit - Tony Sparano - is such a highly preferred head coaching candidate.

There will always be blown calls and no calls, and other calls that shouldn't have been called and so on. I would have to say that Mike Carey and his crew did the best job considering the conditions they were forced to work with.

Here is the breakdown of pentalties for each game:

Team - Number of Pentalties and Yards, (resulted in first down)

Chargers - 10-79 (2)
Colts - 5-54 (4)

Jags - 5-42 (3)
Pats - 6-74 (1)

Giants - 3-25 (2)
Cowboys - 11-84 (3)

Seahawks - 4-28 (3)
Packers - 5-47 (1)

I'm still not quite sure why these four guys were chosen to officiate these games. We'll have to wait and see if there will be different refs for next week.

In case you were wondering, the officials for Wild Card weekend were:

Jacksonville @ Pittsburg - Scott Green
Tennessee @ San Diego - Ed Hochuli
Washington @ Seattle - Walt Coleman
New York @ Tampa Bay - Walt Anderson

There are 17 head officials, so far 8 of them have worked a playoff game. We will see if the next 2 will be the best of this group, or will it be the best from the rest. Personally - I think Ed Hochuli and Mike Carey are the two best.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Favorite Referee Commercial

I'm sure you'll see a few of these as you watch the games this weekend. Here's a chance to see them all together. Which one do you like the best:

I never saw this one before... but it's got a ref in it - and it's fuunnny!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Is the NFL helping the Pats win?

There has been some talk this year about how the league is supposedly helping the Patriots win a few games. The reason the league would help them is because an undeafeted team brings more interest which translates into higher ratings, MUCH higher ratings...

TThe top 4 watched games of the year were all Patriot games:

Highest rated NFL games in '07.
20.1: Patriots/Colts (11/4/07, 4:15 PM CBS)
19.1: Patriots/Giants (12/29/07, 8 PM NFL Network, CBS, NBC)
18.4: Patriots/Steelers (12/2/07, 4:15 PM CBS)
18.0: Patriots/Cowboys (10/14/07, 4:15 PM CBS)

Now listen, I am not one to typically buy into the idea of a conspiracy theory. I used to work with a guy who thought every game, every race, every sporting event imaginable was fixed in one way or another. Some of you may think he has a point, but I tend to trust the integrity of the leagues, and most importantly the players themselves. In this case, however, I believe the ratings for the AFC Championship game would be so astronomically effected if the Pats were upset this weekend, that I wouldn't be surprised if there were some shady calls being made during the game Saturday night.

Consider what is on the line for the NFL and CBS:

Colts @ Pats - would easily become the most watched game of the year!

Ok scenario:

Chargers @ Pats - still strong ratings, but slightly off what could have been

Frustrating scenario:

Jags @ Colts - starting to lose interest already

Worst cast scenario:

Jags @ Chargers - who cares

If the Pats make it to the Super Bowl at 18-0, and they are playing anybody but Seattle - it should be the most watched Super Bowl, perhaps ever.

Officials have the power to directly control the outcome of the game, and based on what recently happened in the NBA, we have to believe that no game is safe from the possibility of a "fix". Plus, they can always fall back on the "we're just human" excuse.

So the question remains... would the NFL really encourage the officials to make calls in favor of the Pats and Colts? I honestly doubt it... but with all that money on the line, could you possibly blame them?

Here's hoping for a clean game with no questions for concern come Sunday and Monday morning.

Enjoy the games!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Steelers Complain About Blown Holding Call

While it doesn't sound like excessive complaining, the Steelers Inside Linebacker Larry Foote is saying that he thinks he was held during the play in which Jacksonville QB David Garrard's 32 yard gallop on 4th and 2. Via (via PFT's One-Liner's) Foote said:
Watch the middle of the defensive line, and you'll see

Ironically, it was free safety Tyrone Carter who seemed to see the play the best.
The guy basically just grabbed him and threw him, but the ref is human," Carter said. "All we can do is look at the tape. I'm pretty sure the coaches will turn it in (to the NFL), but there ain't nothing we can do about it. They didn't call it, so we lost.

Funny thing is that Carter was the one who let Garrard run right around him. Garrard doesn't appear to be that fast, how did he make Carter look like he was standing still? Maybe Carter should have been watching Garrard instead of watching his teammate get pulled to the ground.

While I was watching the game, I don't remember thinking there was a blown call during that play. Do you think there was a holding call? Discuss...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Big 12 Officials to officiate BCS Championship Game


BCS Championship (Ohio State vs. LSU) Big 12

The article goes into some interesting details about how the officials who work the bowl games are actually chosen. It's too bad it hasn't worked too well so far. We'll see how Monday night goes.

Ok... which one of you left your glasses at home today?

This neck of the woods has been pretty quiet for about 6 months now, but the state of the officiating during the BCS games has been so brutal that I have been left with no choice but to come out of hiding and say something. It seems like everytime I turn around, somewhere, someone is posting something about awful officiating. While I'm in no position to keep up with what is going on - I have made a new, new year's resolution - and that is to try and keep up a little better, and at least post a little more often than once every 6 months. As for this time - I am sick and tired of horrible officiating. John Feinstein wrote a great article on the state of the officiating in this years bowl games. In this article he mentions the following:

The amateurish level of college football officiating has been an embarrassment for years and seems to only be getting worse.

While I was watching the Orange bowl the other night between Virginia Tech and Kansas, it seemed like ever other play there was either a ridiculous pentalty being called, or one that wasn't called that should have been called. Even the announcers were making comments about the poor officiating. It was beyond ridiculous. I know in the end, they probably evened themselves out - but seriously - the whole college football thing is so ridiculously run with the whole BCS nonsense, you would think they could at least get some decent officials in there.

At least John gives us a ray of hope in his article:

The NCAA hired David Parry last week to coordinate college football officiating, a bold step forward that comes only 20 years after Hank Nichols was hired to do the same job in basketball.

He goes on to say,,,

Maybe the first thing the new coordinator can do is make sure that everyone working as a college football official actually knows the rules.

I couldn't agree more. Please NCAA, to show the fans the respect they deserve - please give us a playoff, but if you can't do that... please put officials on the field that at least know the rules.