I’m Back (from Hawaii)

Okay, I know, I know, I have taken a break from my blog for a month.  Jo and I did some nice traveling to San Diego, Sun Valley, and Hawaii.  It was so weird to enjoy travel during the Fall.  This is the first time since 1985 I have been able to take leisure travel during football season.  I won’t bore you with details, but it was fannnnnnnnntastic!!  Oh, and by the way, yes, I did take that picture posted up at the top.

 

Okay, now to football.  During the last month I have watched a lot football, on video, on TV, and in person.  I have seen officials make great decisions and be in the right place at the right time, but...... unfortunately I have seen not so good officiating and officials who appear to be asleep.  The sad irony of this business, is the customer (whomever the customer is) remembers the not so good work.  Why is that?  Have you ever listened or watched a football game on TV and listened to the commentators make completely wrong analysis of the officiating, or butchered a rule and then later correct themselves and have a silly little laugh about it?  Is there an expectation that they don’t know the rules?   They can make a blunder and move on like it didn’t happen, but the officials make a blunder and they don’t sleep well, they don’t eat well, etc.  What, are officials are suppose to be perfect?  What do I have to say about that....... yes, and we better get perfect or as close to it as we can.  This is not your father’s officiating anymore.  There are more cameras, more critics, more scrutiny, more accountability, more transparency than we ever dreamed there would be back when I started officiating in 1985.

 

To be really good at this profession, you need countless hours of film study.  Why can a great professional baseball player see the threads on a 90 mph fastball, because he has seen it over and over at fast speed and his mind can process it better and faster.  That’s the way it is with officiating, if you watch enough of it, and even in fast motion, your mind can process it better and faster.

 

How about rule study?  Back in the day you could get by on hustle and good mechanics.  Not anymore, the rules change and will always change to reflect the dynamics of the changing play.  Spread offenses, shotgun Quarterbacks, Pistol formations, blocking techniques, etc.  To think you can read the voluminous rule book and understand the rules once is insane.  Don’t just know the rule, you need to understand the rule and why it is in place.  Once you grasp and understand the rule it is tweaked and changed.  That’s why you must stay on top of rule study.

What about physical fitness you say.  I could go on for hours about this one but I will dedicate a whole other blog session to that topic.  Suffice it to say, you get the respect you portray.  If you look like you belong in an arm chair, that’s the respect you will get back.  If you look athletic and have that swagger, you’ll get that respect back.

The last aspect that jumps out at me, is mental concentration.  A typical play lasts between five to eight seconds.  There are approximately 150 plays during a game.  The quick math is that the ball is in play for a total of between 12.5 and 20 minutes per game.  But during that time, you must have unwavering focus and concentration.  No matter your film study, no matter you rule knowledge, no matter physical fitness, if you loose your focus and concentration, all else doesn’t matter.  And that’s the number one reason why I think officials make bad judgement and errors.  More to come on this later.

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