Monday, May 3, 2010

Crappy Officiating: What to Do?

Crappy Officiating: What to Do?

Bad officiating is a fact of sports. It happens, and it happens a lot. Far more than officials or league officials for a given sport are willing to admit. Now granted, I never ascended the professional ranks as either a player or an official, but I have done both in my lifetime. (For reference umpiring baseball and softball and playing Baseball, Hockey, Football, Basketball, and Soccer).

I think this at least gives me a perspective that most don’t have. I have dealt with the calls on both sides of the coin. I know it’s easy for us fans to say that there should be a certain level of accountability among officials for calls that may have been made in error. Certainly some of the exemplary examples of officials, such as Ed Hocculi in the NFL, have been able to do that. However, I think that by and large this is not the path to take in assessing poor calls. Speaking from personal experience, if you give coaches or fans an inch, they will take a mile…and those are just Little League coaches. Professionals are an entire different ballgame (no pun intended).

As a fan it’s frustrating because it is usually obvious and there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t even tell the guy face to face how bad you think he is at his job. Adding to this is the fact that no one likes a fanbase that whines about bad calls costing them the game, even when it is completely accurate. Is there ever a justification, can there be clear thoughts without bias in the matter? I think we need to define a set of “Bitching About Reffing Rules.”

Let’s Consider the Team:

Are you one of the top five markets in the league?
(i.e. New York, Long Island, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Chicago in the NHL)
  • -1 point for top 5 markets
  • +1 point for bottom 5 markets

Is it in the league’s best interests for you to succeed?
(Any team constantly in the media spotlight or a good national ratings draw such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, or any Original 6 NHL franchise)
  • -1 point for teams that achieve good national ratings or lots of media coverage
  • +1 point for teams that achieve poor national ratings or no media coverage

Are you on the east coast?
  • -1 point for yes
  • +1 point for no

Are you the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, or generally from the Boston or NYC areas?
  • -5 points unless also playing one of those teams
  • 0 points otherwise

Are you any sports team from Buffalo, Cleveland, Seattle, Philadelphia, or the L.A. Clippers?
  • + 2 points unless also playing one of those teams
  • 0 points otherwise

Has the team won a championship in your rememberable (alcohol doesn’t count) lifetime?
  • -(10 - the number of years since) for a maximum of -1 point if yes
  • +(The number of years divided by 5) rounded down if no


Is there a possibility of moving within the next 5 years?
  • +2 points if yes
  • 0 points if no



Time to Consider the Circumstances:

Is it an NHL or NBA playoff game?
  • +1 point if yes
  • 0 points if no

Is it the last minute of a close NHL or NBA playoff game?
  • +1 point if yes
  • 0 points if no

Is your team facing a larger market/better national draw?
  • +1 point if yes
  • 0 points if no

Is your team favored?
  • +1 point if yes
  • 0 points if no

Where are you playing?
  • -1 point for home
  • +1 point for the road
  • +3 points if it’s on the road in Canada


Now the Infraction itself:
(If it’s your player, then use the values as shown. If it’s an opposing player, all values shall be opposite).

Does the player in question commit a lot of penalties?
  • -2 points if he’s known for it
  • +2 points if he’s a saint
  • 0 points for players that are in the middle

Does the player have a “watch that guy for this infraction” reputation?
  • +2 points if yes
  • 0 points if no

What is the nature of the call?
  • +2 points for “screwed it up according to the rules black and white”
  • +1 point for “called something completely contrary to how it’s been called in the regular season/past)
  • 0 points for judgment calls

Is the number of penalties even for both teams?
  • +1 point for no, skewered in their favor
  • -1 point for no, skewered in your favor

Could it have been a dive?
  • -2 points if yes and it's a marquee player
  • -1 point if yes and it's an average player
  • 0 points if no

Are you watching soccer?
  • -1,000 points if yes. Please stop.

Is it historically bad? (i.e. Hocculi’s early whistle, no goal, the goal through the side of the mesh)
  • +5 points if yes
  • 0 points if no

Did the other player commit a penalty only to have your guy penalized (does not apply in cases retaliatory violence)?
  • +2 points if yes
  • 0 points if no


The formula is simple. Add it up and if the value is positive, complain away! If not, shut up.

(Note: This is not a real formula)

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