So the NFL is having issues with their replacement referees. No, this isn’t about their calls on the field. That’s a different story.
This is the tale about having replacement referees who apparently don’t mind showing they are probably more fans of the NFL than professional officials.
First we hear of the replacement ref who was about to work the Saints’ game only to be pulled off the field during warm-ups when ESPN reported to the NFL that the official had Facebook pictures up of himself tailgating at a Saints’ preseason game wearing a Saints’ jersey.
Then there’s the other replacement man in stripes who told Eagles’ running back LeShon McCoy he needs him for his fantasy team.
A conflict of interest? You think?
Well, it got me thinking. What if we could go back in time and replace some of the officials/umpires and change the course of history.
If only I could go back to Oct. 6, 1985, for Game 6 of the 1985 World Series between the Cardinals and Royals and take over umpiring first base for Don Denkinger. The Royals’ Jorge Orta would have been out at first base in the ninth inning as the replays clearly showed and the Cardinals would have won the World Series. Actually, I think anyone else, Cards’ fan or not, would have called him out. Everyone, unfortunately except for the man who said safe.
What if Princeton Cub fans John Smith or Don Smith, who have been religiously waiting for “Next Year,” would have been umpiring down the left field line at Wrigley Field on Oct. 14, 2003, on the infamous Steve Bartman play.
I’m sure the Smiths would have called fan interference and the Cubs would have probably gone to the World Series. And for poor Bartman, he’d be long forgotten now, nine years later.
I know Tiger fan and Pastor Ken Wilson of the Princeton Bible Church would have called the Indians’ Jason Donald out at first base on July 10, 2010, and preserved the final out for Armando Galaragga’s perfect game.
I bet any Oakland Raider fan would have ruled differently on Franco Harris’ immaculate reception in the 1972 AFC Divisional game (I still say that it was a good call, and yes, I’m a Steeler fan), as well as Tom Brady’s famous tuck rule in the 2001 AFC Divisional game.
I asked Princeton’s Kenny Wilcoxen, who is one of the most IHSA respected officials you will find, if he would want to take his crew to work in the NFL. He said it’d be fun, but it would be a tough situation to step into.
Do you have calls/games you’d like to change if you could have been a replacement ref. I’d like to hear them.
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor, and as you can see still agonizing that World Series call in 1985. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.