Sarah Thomas is one of several finalists for a job as an NFL game official. If she gets the job, she will be the first woman to hold that job permanently. During the nightmare that was the “Replacement Ref Era”, Shannon Easton was the first woman to officiate in an actual NFL game. Ms. Thomas has worked at the college level in C-USA games and she has done some games in the now defunct United Football League. I have mentioned several times here that I used to officiate basketball; one of the best partners I had for games in my area was a woman; she was a better official than I was and made doing the game a breeze. I would be skeptical about a woman trying to play NFL football; I have no doubt at all that women can officiate the game very well.
Assuming that Ms. Thomas is the person selected for this position, lots of folks will treat it as a “breaking of the glass ceiling”. Actually, that will only make her transition to this level of football even more difficult than it might have been in a vacuum. Once the rhetorical and emotional reactions to her presence on the NFL officials’ roster are over – and hopefully, they will be over in short order – people would need to see her as a person on the field doing a difficult and often thankless job. Then, they need to “judge her” on the way she does that job as compared to her compatriots – all of whom will be male and all of whom will have done the job longer than she has.
Bonne chance, Sarah Thomas.
Speaking of the NFL, the league and the NFLPA announced recently that there would be changes made to the Pro Bowl Game. Spiffing up the Pro Bowl is like polishing a turd; the shine just is not going to last very long. Here are the “innovations”:
There will no longer be teams based on conferences. Captains will select their team via a draft of players eligible to play in the game. [By the way, this is not innovative; the NHL has been doing this for a couple of years in their stupid All-Star Game.]
Captains will be “assisted” in the draft by Deion Sanders, Jerry Rice and “selected NFL.com fantasy football winners”. I would rather watch a Ron Popeil infomercial marathon than watch Pro Bowl draft nonsense.
There will be no kickoffs in the game.
There are changes in the timing rules and even though I read a summary of those changes twice, I do not understand exactly what they are or why they are there.
The reason that the Pro Bowl is a useless waste of time has nothing at all to do with any of these changes. The Pro Bowl is stupid because the players really do not want to be in the game and they simply go through the motions waiting for the final whistle. I think the guiding principle that the NFL and NFLPA used in coming up with these changes is:
Since it is already broken, who cares if we try to fix it and wind up breaking it even more?
A small bit of bad news came from the Colts’ training camp earlier this week. The Colts cut unrestricted free agent Rodrick Rumble – a WR from Idaho State. Imagine him catching a pass; breaking a tackle and heading for the end zone as Chris Berman narrates the play:
“Rumble is rumblin’, bumblin’…”
Vikings WR Greg Jennings – late of the Packers – has had some less-than-wonderful things to say about his former team and teammates recently. He previously had opined that Aaron Rodgers was not a great leader and asserted that Rodgers was more interested in Rodgers’ stats than he was in team results. After making those remarks, Jennings apologized for them – presumably with the urging of Vikings’ coaches. After a period of quiet, Jennings offered up another “insight”:
Jennings said that Packers’ players are ‘brainwashed” by the team.
Jennings was interviewed by the local sportsradio station and said:
“When I came over here, I was kind of brainwashed … Being over in Green Bay, you’re brainwashed to think anyone in the division is tiers below. And so, coming over here I meet the people within the organization and I’m like, ‘Wow, these are really great people.’
“It’s like everything that you know in Green Bay is like the best, the best, the best, the best, the best. And it’s like total brainwashing. And I think you don’t open your eyes to see what other teams have to offer unless you are in that position.”
May I offer just a couple of observations here regarding Professor Jennings’ commentary?
I am positive that Greg Jennings has never seen the movie, The Manchurian Candidate.
In order to avoid his charge of brainwashing, should the Vikings start telling the team that everything they have and do is “the worst”?
Should someone find it necessary to brainwash Professor Jennings, I suspect that a thimbleful of water would do the job.
Finally, here is a comment from Brad Rock in the Deseret News regarding a report that Redskins’ coach, Mike Shanahan does not use Twitter nor does he have an e-mail address:
“Sources say Shanahan plans to send a telegram to each of his players this month, warning against overexposure to the sun, which could cause the vapors.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………