By RISHABH KAPOOR, sophomore
Sports are as unpredictable as can be. But one thing that’s guaranteed to happen in any game of any sport is a close call a ref will make, a call that will certainly be argued by one team or the other.
Fans of the team that got the bad side of the call are quick to throw food at the TV and curse. Fans of the other team, even if they know the call is probably wrong, just shrug and thank the universe, all while saying “sometimes, you need a little luck.”
Either way, there really isn’t anything to be done. The only sport where you can challenge a call is football, and even then, if the tape doesn’t provide “conclusive evidence,” the referees just stick with the call they originally made. Both sides end up having to live with the call, even if it determines the outcome of the game.
And that’s exactly what occurred twice in the last few weeks of the NFL playoffs.
Primarily, there was a botched call in the game between the Cowboys and Lions. It was third down and Lions had the ball, hoping to seal the game while leading. Instead, on a pass by Stafford to Pettigrew, Cowboys defender Hitchens obviously interfered, resulting in a penalty (which is correct). However, after the officials talked it over, they picked up the penalty flag and said there was no penalty at all! This enraged many Lions fans as there was clearly a penalty, and it ended up costing them the game.
Another instance was the Cowboys’ next game against the Packers. It was fourth down and once again, the game was on the line for the Cowboys. But this time, the refs did not side with them. Instead, on an amazing catch by Dez Bryant, the officials ruled it “no good,” and gave the ball to the Packers, who went on to win. Even after a challenge, it was called by the referees to be a “no catch” according to an unfortunate rule in the NFL rule book. Cowboys fans were enraged, quick to point fingers here and there at the referees. There’s also huge controversy going on right now, aptly dubbed “Deflategate,” with the league having found eleven of twelve Patriots balls deflated per league standards. Many are blaming the refs for carelessness.
Something to note is that referees are only ever in the news for having missed one or maybe two calls per game. No one notices the ones they get right! It’s only human that they miss one or two. And not to bash on the fans that get upset; they’re only human too!
Refs are still going to miss calls. Fans and players will still argue. But that is simply a part of sports and entertainment. Everyone should wind down, relax, grab a bowl of popcorn, and enjoy the show.