Archive for the ‘Ref’ Category

Once Is A Mistake; Twice Is A Problem

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010


The first thing I thought when I read that the Steelers had been awarded a phantom first down in their game against the Jets Sunday was, “Wow. Two weeks in a row.”

Then I read the story and saw it was Pete Morelli’s crew that made the mistake. The same crew that gave the Redskins a first down they didn’t earn the week prior against Tampa Bay.

This latest SNAFU happened early in the second quarter on a 1st-and-10 play from the Jets’ 35, so it’s not quite the same as scoring on fifth down to nearly tie a game with just seconds to play. But this has to be addressed. Where is Mike Pereira on this?

Five Down Territory

Monday, December 13th, 2010

It turned out not to matter, and not a lot of you saw it happen (few who did are likely to care), but the Washington Redskins apparently did get an extra down and used it to score their nearly-game-tying touchdown against Tampa Bay yesterday. Only one of the stranger endings to an NFL game that I can remember kept the mixup from mattering.
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He Fought The Law And HE Won

Monday, April 12th, 2010

By now you’ve seen this goal by DC United’s Jaime Moreno, which came when Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz got a bit flummoxed and dropped the ball, which Moreno cashed in for the tying goal Saturday.



On Monday, US Soccer referee guru Paul Tamberino said the goal shouldn’t have been allowed, and Moreno should have been booked for interference.


“By law there can be no interference, no fakes, no head attempts, nothing that interferes with the goalkeeper’s ability to release the ball within the six or seven seconds,” Tamberino said. “The goalkeeper needs to be free of interference and he can do whatever he wants in those six to seven seconds.”

Here’s the actual Law (it’s Law 12): “It is an offence for a player to prevent a goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands.”

My copy of USSF’s Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game also says this:


12.17 PREVENTING THE GOALKEEPER FROM RELEASING THE BALL INTO PLAY
An opponent may not interfere with or block the goalkeeper’s release of the ball into play. While players have a right to maintain a position achieved during the normal course of play, they may not try to block the goalkeeper’s movement while he is holding the ball or do anything which hinders, interferes with, or blocks the goalkeeper who is throwing or punting the ball back into play.

Tamberino said “FIFA states that the referee must issue a yellow card on interference plays.”

Unless it’s for “delaying the restart of play,” I don’t see in the Laws where interference calls for a caution (actually, I can’t find a Law that addresses that type of “interference” at all). Can you?

But the bigger question is…why didn’t anybody realize that until today? It was never addressed on the FSC telecast. To be fair, the Union didn’t protest much (perhaps coach Peter Nowak would have, but he was not on the bench because of the tragic plane crash in Poland on Saturday), and I doubt many people have seen that play before.

Blast From The Past

Friday, July 31st, 2009

I found this while I was cleaning out a closet last night – a letter to the editor of ESPN The Magazine from December 14, 1998. This was five years before I became an official, and was in response to an article that suggested the NBA re-hire referees who had been indicted for tax fraud because their replacements were inexperienced and it was messing up the games.


The refs were reinstated by NBA Commissioner David Stern. Shows how much pull I have.

Quick Trigger

Monday, July 13th, 2009

My man Kenny Stern pointed me to this, a red card in the first 15 seconds of a Copa Libertadores match yesterday. Striker Ze Carlos of Cruzeiro was sent off for this elbow to the head of Atletico Mineiro’s Renan. Judge for yourself.



Four At The Back – Episode 4

Friday, April 17th, 2009

The new episode of Four At The Back features discussion of MLS officiating, a visit with Chivas USA’s Jesse Marsch, theories on lagging MLS attendance and the US Soccer Supporters Club.

Download the show here, send us your feedback and go to iTunes and subscribe to the podcast if you like it.

Four At The Back is a weekly soccer podcast featuring LA-based soccer-blogger and philanthropist Dan Loney and myself. We like to think it’s (fairly) intelligent, but at least (as the saying goes) it’s short. So what do you have to lose?

One Reason I Don’t Officiate Basketball Anymore

Friday, March 6th, 2009

One of the big reasons, actually.

This is just sad.

Dear parents: at the scholastic (high school and below) level, the court or the field is an extension of the classroom. We’re trying to teach and to provide a positive experience for young people while being involved in a sport we (well, most of us) love. That’s it. That’s the list.

We’re not trying to “get” anybody. We don’t care who wins. And you do not have the right to cross the line with us.

I Made The Super Bowl! (Sorta)

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Super Bowl Field at Moon Valley High School in Phoenix AZ

One of my high school officiating assignments this year took me to Moon Valley High School in Phoenix. It’s notable for the fact that they took the complete grass field out of the University of Phoenix Stadium after Super Bowl 42 and transplanted it to the school’s football stadium.

It’s a nice field, consistent and lined well. A bit dry, but it’s hard to keep grass lush here unless you just water it all the time and that’s not likely here.

I’ve covered two Super Bowls and was on the field for Media Day and after the game, but just on the edges. This time I got to run around on it and enjoy the whole thing.

It’s probably as close as I’ll come to being in a Super Bowl (who am I kidding, it is as close) and it was pretty cool for one night.

Super Bowl Field at Moon Valley High School in Phoenix AZ

Not-So Mellow Yellow

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Show Botafogo’s Andre Luis yellow and he sees red. Go figure.



Let Me Save You Some Time

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

If you’re like me, you probably can tell that a column in the Kansas City Star with the headline “Bad call spoils all the good for the Chiefs” was probably written by none other than crap columnist Jason Whitlock.

Whitlock, who has made a career out of fighting The Man (and apologizing for Jeff George), finds it impossible to just acknowledge the obvious reasons for something. There has to be an ulterior motive, a smoking gun, a man behind the curtain.

It couldn’t be that Tony Gonzalez actually pushed off on his fourth-quarter reception against the Bucs on Sunday. Nah, that wouldn’t give him the chance to fight authority by declaring that “the ref,” Bill Schmitz, “stole” the game for Tampa Bay (Schmitz must have had a hand in Kansas City blowing a 24-3 lead, too, I guess).

Schmitz, the Back Judge (not the Referee) made the call on a 20-yard reception by Gonzalez with just over two minutes left in a game that Kansas City led 27-19 (but would lose 30-27 in overtime). There’s a push, there’s separation…sorry, Jason, that’s offensive pass interference. Today, tomorrow, in the Super Bowl and in the preseason.

There were seven penalties on each side on Sunday. The Chiefs got three first downs via penalty, the Bucs one. Gonzalez and Ronde Barber tangled up on a pass in the first quarter, the call went against Barber and the Chiefs scored a touchdown two plays later. I guess that was a great call.

Yes, my team won. Yes, I’m an official in my spare time. But if there’s a blown call, I’ll acknowledge it.

This wasn’t a blown call. And Whitlock may even realize that. But one rarely gets popular as a columnist by writing the truth as he or she sees it. Sometimes you get popular by rallying the villagers with pitchforks and appealing to fans’ persecution complexes.