Super Bowl Officiating

Last week, someone suggested that the NFL had “manipulated” the grades assigned to various officials and crews over the course of the 2012 season in order to assure that Jerome Boger was the referee for the Niners/Ravens game. No motivation was asserted in that suggestion so the idea left out there had to be that the league wanted Boger as the referee because he is Black. Obviously, I have no inside information here but the suggestion did sound far-fetched when it was made. My only thought at the time was that the statement put a lot of pressure on the officiating crew to be sure they did not determine the game’s outcome.

Looking back at the game, I think the officiating crew did a good job in the sense that they were consistent in their calls from beginning to end. Their idea was to let the players play and call only egregious violations. I do think, however, they were far too lenient in the first half fight where one Ravens player threw a punch – clearly visible – and then shoved a referee. Both actions call for 15-yard penalties and ejection from the game. Nothing happened. Other than that omission, the crew set a tone for the game early and stuck to the script – so to speak – for the rest of the game.

I have heard several statements from Roger Goodell regarding the power outage in the second half. Pardon me, but I have no interest in hearing from Roger Goodell on that subject. The folks I want to hear from are the engineers who finally figure out what caused the power outage and how they plan to “fix things” so that it does not happen again.

I have written several times that the Little League World Series is a grand example of child exploitation – an example far greater than the one provided by collegiate athletics. On Sunday, I saw another grand example. The Sandy Hook Elementary School Choir had no business at the Super Bowl; this was not a part of the program that event planners had on their radar prior to mid-December 2012. Do not misinterpret what I mean here. What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was horrific and I feel very sad for the families of all the people who died in that monstrous action. In my mind, the NFL exploited the survivors of that tragedy on Sunday and I do not think the NFL should be proud of that action.

Yesterday, I mentioned Randy Moss’ comment that he considers himself the greatest WR ever. Here is what Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot had to say on that subject:

“Quick hit: Randy Moss says he’s the NFL’s best receiver of all time. That must explain why he’s played for five teams.

The Ladies Home Journal is not a source that I cite very often, but there is a feature in that magazine that may be relevant to a current sports figure. In the LHJ, there is a feature called, “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” What happens is that each member of a “troubled marriage/relationship” presents its perception of what is going on and then a marriage counselor comments on the situation and shares whatever paths toward resolution might exist for the troubled couple. Usually an outcome for the couple is included in the feature; but given that there used to exist some serious difficulties, one can never assume that any détente would be permanent.

I mention this because I plan to alter the normal sequence of this feature and declare from the outset:

    This relationship cannot be saved; it is finito.

According to a report on Deadspin, LeSean McCoy (RB- Phila. Eagles) fathered a child with a woman to whom he is not married. Not a problem – except that the mother of his child has indicated that McCoy is a “deadbeat dad” who has not contributed financially to the support of his child. That is a bad situation to be sure but it is one that can be overcome – at least in theory – with some behavior modification. However, the child’s mother has gone just a tad further here and has announced publicly that:

    A. McCoy has herpes and

    B. McCoy has undergone surgery to increase the size of his penis.

Even if both of those assertions are true, announcing them to the world at large makes it much more difficult than it would seem to be worth to patch this relationship up. If someone can put this one back together, his or her next assignment should be Humpty Dumpty.

There is an NCAA scandal in – wait for it here – tennis. Imagine that; someone actually cared enough about collegiate tennis to go out and cheat on the NCAA rules. I find that stunning.

The NCAA investigation folks concluded that two former men’s tennis coaches at Southern Mississippi “promised impermissible benefits to student athletes” and that the coaches also “engaged in academic misconduct”. Putting the icing on the cupcake, the NCAA says that one of these coaches “directed the student-athlete to lie” to the investigators.

Southern Miss is banned from any postseason championship competition for a year and is on probation for four years. The NCAA determined that Southern Miss had not monitored its men’s tennis program adequately. This is just a hunch, but I would imagine that the Athletic Director at a university that plays in Division 1-A football and Division 1 basketball probably devotes 0.0001% of his time to monitoring the tennis program. Such an Athletic Director can probably only tell the difference between the tennis team and the cross-country team by the really strange looking Ping-Pong paddles that the tennis players carry around.

The coaches involved here got hammered by the NCAA. The head coach has a “seven-year show cause order” attached to him. The assistant has a six-year order. What that means is that for the next seven years, any school that plans to hire that former head coach has to notify the NCAA that they are doing so and they have to agree in advance to suffering the same penalties that might befell Southern Mississippi when either of these coaches was employed there. A show cause order does not prevent a coach from getting another job and another university, but it raises the ante very significantly. You can read the news release from the NCAA on this matter here.

Coaches in the more visible sports who have had “show cause orders” pinned to them generally have not returned to the collegiate coaching business even after the orders have expired. Consider:

    Dave Bliss
    Clem Haskins
    Kelvin Sampson
    Bruce Pearl (order is still in effect)
    Jim Tressel (order is still in effect)

Finally, Greg Cote had these two tennis related items in his column in the Miami Herald recently:

“The Junior Orange Bowl Championships ended in tennis. The most extraordinary performance that really stood apart was by that one parent who did not berate his losing child.”


“Parting thought: Victoria Azarenka withdrew from a tennis tournament this week with an infected big toe she blamed on a pedicure. So now I really have heard everything: A professional athlete injured by pampering.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Siggurdsson  On February 5, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Sir: I agree with you about the Sandy Hook Choir at the Super Bowl. They had no business being there; at least the announcers didn’t subject the crowd or the TV audience to a “Bob Costas/Piers Morgan” screed on the tragedy.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 6, 2013 at 12:18 am


      I felt “less than clean” watching and listening to them. I was embarrassed for the NFL…

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