Well what a week it's been. What a firestorm over the blown call on Monday Night Football this week. The result? The "real" NFL referees return to work just in time for our Cleveland Browns to take on the Ravens tonight on national TV.
I am glad. Mostly for finally not having to watch that silly play rerun a million times a day on television. We get it. It was missed, and the Packers still lost. Now ESPN can resume talking about the New York Yankees, and New England Patriots every second of every day again.
We have the refs back. This is certainly going to be the shortest honeymoon of all time. Of course, tonight at 8PM the refs will be cheered wildly, then on the first blown call they will really hear it, as per norm. This will probably happen midway through the first quarter. The reality of this whole thing is, these guys are overseeing the largest, fastest, most physical sport on the planet. And there are going to be problems in officiating it. The replacements can't be called ou either. They were over matched by the NFL game, the spotlight and stage.
But let's not forget, the "real" refs have their problems too. They are in fact, the reason we have instant replay in the first place. Fans became so enraged and weary of decades of blown and missed calls on national TV they demanded to institute replay. And they still don't always get it right. Heck, remember it was the "real" officials that even blew a coin flip on the 50 yard line of the Superbowl a few years ago in front of literally a billion people. That play of course is not reviewable. So what's the over/under on how fast it will take for living rooms all over Northeast Ohio and Baltimore to be screaming at the TV that the ref blew a call or two tonight? And they will. Because they are human.
Human frailty. As much as technology is injected into our sports lives, and our lives in general, the more we see how fallible we really are. The fallibility is now forever preserved on film. Somehow there is more and more demand for absolute resolution, or cut and dry everything. And thankfully, I'm not so sure that's possible. At least I hope not. The subjectivity, the discussion, and the disagreement that life, and sports, can provide is half the fun - if not most of it. That was so evident to me this week. Reminded me of this famous quote, "I have never learned anything from a man that I agreed with."
I love the fact that sports of all kinds are one of the great tools to teach all of us how to deal with loss, and adversity. Whether your playing the game or watching it. We are defined in life partly on how we handle defeat. And the debates of, "was he in or out of bounds" or was he, "safe or out". or "did the shot go in before the buzzer?" To me that is a lot of the fun of sports.
Or what about, "did I do the right thing", or "am I making the right choice", or even, "where, what and when?"
No replay, replacement or real refs for that one. - Not yet. GO BROWNS!