From little league baseball and recreational soccer to the Superbowl and the Stanley Cup playoffs, officials play a significant role in a game. Although the judges truly are not “playing” the sport, their crucial decisions can produce lasting impacts and momentum-swinging moments. Many calls go under severe scrutiny from players, coaches, fans and broadcasters. This raises an important discussion. Do these referees deserve the blame for their opinions on a game?
Let’s discuss the key factors in the process and whether their job can be modified:
In the moment- As a referee, games can change in a split-second, specifically in professional sports including hockey and football. Officials are forced to make pivotal calls in a quick second or two. They do not have instant replay in their heads and cannot go back in time to reverse a call unless looking tape after the play concludes. Therefore, it is ignorant to harp on officials to make a perfect call exactly when something happens.
Instant replay- In the form of technological advancement, replay gives the judges time to go back and revisit a previous event. The referee can then let the call stand, confirm a prior decision or reverse the decision based upon clear evidence. The resolution should essentially be correct every single time, but it’s not. Why? That is a question that people watching the game should ask and I cannot answer. After looking at replay, the call should be made on the spot without constant argument after the game. In this case, the official is fully responsible for the any decision made after replay…plain and simple.
They are only human- People make mistakes and yet fans interpret referees to be an exception to the rule. That stigma needs to be broken down. The job of the referee to do one’s best and be as impartial as possible. Players are not flawless and that is what makes sports so exciting to watch; one team exploits the other’s mistake to score and win games. In relation to referees, the same principle should apply and should not be fought by those outside the game.
Is their any solution to officials making errors? Human mistake creates tension, but that tension is fun, laughable and thrilling.
As professionals, officials should be contradicted when incorrect, admired when correct and respected for difficult work.