You Don’t Need to be a QB to Get the Fans Cheering!
We all know by now that the sports word is based on “star power:” The elite quarterback; the running back who racks up hundred yard games like J. Lo does husbands; the field goal kicker who brings down the house when he scores that point in OT to head to the Super Bowl – you know the types. BUT, 2012 will go down in football sports history as being the only time that the refs – the background players – got the most cheers.
I mean, it was amazing this past week to see QB’s become almost humbled before those referees who they finally understand are the most needed people on that field. It was almost like watching a show of Glee and seeing the “geeks inherit the earth” – proving to the “popular” crowd that they are far more talented and far more skilled than the ones who always get the girls and the glory.
It began in the Cleveland Browns game when seven men (I’m telling you, they got treated like the Apollo crew before blast-off), walked onto the field and were given a standing ovation. And not just by the fans, mind you; quarterbacks, the coaches – everyone made sure that a referee by the name of Gene Steratore, and his crew, were made to feel like THEY had just won the Super Bowl and were now headed to Disney World. Of course, the last thing anyone wants to see are these guys heading anywhere! The NFL made it right (finally). After some seriously hideous and appalling calls on the field of football this year, the “crews” are back – and in the place they belong – calling games out of absolute skill instead of just simply “guessing.”
The Browns’ Thursday night game went off without a hitch, and when yesterday’s games began everyone in every stadium was thrilled to see that they had the ‘Right Stuff’ back in their black-and-white stripes. And even when their home team was flagged with a penalty, or got the call that their catch simply wasn’t valid – it didn’t seem to matter. There was no animosity for the black and white crews this weekend – people were simply ecstatic that they had come home.
Beyond efficient, the refs were a bit choked up when tens of thousands of people welcomed them back to the nest. And these refs paid homage right back to the fans by calling smooth games without a hitch and no one yelling and whining that their team had been messed with in any way, shape or form. Now…upside is? They are back! Downside? Now when your team loses, they are actually losing and can put the blame squarely on their own shoulder pads.
Unlike the movie “The Replacements, where a replacement football team was used when the “star players” went on strike – having replacements for the refs had grown into a controversy far bigger than Tebow versus Manning and how each one would stack up in their new teams.
Yes, there were fans who were ripped this weekend that their team didn’t win, but no controversy came out of the games. One of the funniest signs held up in the stadium which many reporters and cameras commented on, read: “Finally! We get to yell at real refs! Welcome back!” So…yes, the yelling began, BUT even the fans were delighted to be yelling at a ref who was actually absolutely 100% correct about his call!
It was a proud moment for the refs as well. When Gene turned on his microphone to greet the captains for the pre-game coin toss, he said: Good evening, men. It’s good to be back,” and the stadium erupted in a roar! These have always been the faces with no names, but after this particular moment in history, these referees are NEVER going to be seen as nothings again!
Let’s be honest, however, the cheers did turn to boos in many stadiums on Sunday – but it was only because their specific team just wasn’t up to par. The yellow flags did wave for personal fouls, etc., but these crews kept their straight, determined faces on throughout the games, knowing (and having the instant replay show time and time again) that all of their calls were absolutely correct! In fact, it was as if they were the leaders of every NFL game this weekend, and more people were praising the black-and-white than they were the QB’s bringing down a billion dollars a second!
Even the President of the United States while on the campaign trail took time to say that Thursday was a “great day for America.” He was on the ref’s side for this one just like the rest of us were. And we should ALL note that the new agreement between the National Football League and the Officials is in place for the next eight years. Even the Commissioner, Roger Goodell, hated to admit it but did say that the controversy of the Seahawks-Packers game was what “may have pushed the parties further along” in the talks. Therefore, I suppose all football fans everywhere can thank the Pack and the Seahawks for taking the brunt of the replacements bad calls just for us to get some ‘fine’ football back!
Hence, from one very interested football fan – a person who believes that football is the All-American sport and has reveled in the game for years – I want to take this moment to say to the refs – WELCOME HOME!
This Moment in Sports is Brought to you by: To Gain the “Slight Edge to Get Noticed” Be First Inc can take you there.
Until Next Time, Everybody,