COLUMNS

A farewell to mediocrity

Kyle Riviere

It's official. The NFL and their referees finally came to an agreement last week to end the lockout. We fans, the players and all of the coaches can now happily wave farewell to a month of pure, unadulterated mediocrity.

No longer will we have to put up with guys that couldn't even make it as referees in Division-1A football

No longer will we have to see the guy that dubiously became the symbol of replacement ref incompetence, Don King. No, not the one with the puffy hair famous for bankrupting boxers and saying, "only in America." The Don King that you could catch each Sunday routinely stumbling over his words and getting calls wrong with his fellow-replacements.

That's over now. The veteran refs are back.

They had been there for so long that we took them for granted and even dished out our fair share of criticism every Monday and Tuesday morning. Those days are over--at least for a while.

We're now looking at them like super heros here to save the day. Forget the movie; this is our real-life Avengers.

We already know who's the Hulk. Ed Hochuli will come out to the field each week to as many cheers as the players with his two-sizes too small shirt and looking like he just finished pumping iron at Muscle Beach.

I think we might finally cut these real NFL refs a break now and truly appreciate how good they are at what they do. How can't we after what we witnessed for the past month?

The debacle last Monday night was so epic that President Obama and Mitt Romney were being asked about it.

It was such a bad call that it became comical (unless you were a Packer fan). Not only did Seahawks receiver Golden Tate blatantly push off, but Packer defensive back M.D. Jennings clearly had possession of an interception.

In typical replacement ref fashion, one ref stood in the end zone signaling that it was an interception, and another came in and signaled it was a touchdown. The head ref didn't even have a conference with the two to discuss it; he instantly ruled the play a score.

Falcons' tight end Tony Gonzales tweeted that Pop Warner refs could have made a better call. After seeing the play more and more, maybe you could say the same about Stevie Wonder and Ronnie Milsap.

The play some are coining the "Immaculate Deception" was just the tip of the iceberg though.

Just the night before, the refs ruled a field goal as good that resulted in a last-second Ravens win over the Patriots. However, the kick appeared to be wide-right in the instant replay.

Other replacement ref mayhem included: marking off 27 yards for a personal foul penalty rather than 15, 11 yards for defensive holding instead of five and creating a six-minute delay after a scrum for a fumble on Monday Night Football.

Sure, the real refs will make their mistakes, but I feel confident in saying that they will never make the kind of glaring, asinine calls as discussed above. And I don't know about everybody else, but that's good enough for me.

We should all have a greater appreciation for the NFL refs. Any time you want to harp on a missed call, just think about the ludicrous nature of the "Immaculate Deception" and repeat to yourself, "It can be a lot worse."