I’ve gone to quite a few officiating clinics over the past few years and with each one I always learn something new. One of the things I’ll always remember was something Mason “Red” Cashion talked about. He was talking about when a coach requests a conference with an official. He said when your crew mate informs you that the Head Coach is requesting a conference, you should be more than happy to talk with the coach. The reason is because you already know the outcome of the conversation. You know that no matter what your decision has already been made.
Some really good advice I received from some officials; Richard Brown, Undrey Wash and many others. These gentlemen taught me a lot about philosophy and the rules. One thing I remember being drilled in me was the Rule Book. One of the things about this book is that it was written for a reason and a lot of people put in time to have these rules put in place and those rules need to be enforced. Doesn’t matter the outcome or what you think should be enforced. Moral of the story is it’s a “law” and those laws need to be enforced. A situation that was brought up to me was what if there is a screen pass. The linemen go down field to anticipate the screen. The quarterback is under pressure and panics. He then throws a pass that goes over the intended receiver and crosses the neutral zone and lines just behind a lineman who is blocking a linebacker or is in the way of a defender to intercept a pass. This is when I was first told to call it “by the book”. I was told that if the defense gets a great jump and puts the quarterback under that much pressure and that situation happens and you simply call the pass incomplete. You are punishing the defense for their hard work.
A couple of weeks ago I was attending a meeting at my local officials association meeting and our state rules interpreter was in attendance as a guest speaker. While conducting his presentation I was listening off and on and reading my rule book when, sure enough, he brings up the situation I talked about earlier. When he concluded talking about that situation he finished with saying “just call it incomplete”. I had to look up and see if what I heard was correct or if I was day dreaming. We talk about uniformity across the state and how all officials need to be on the same page. How can we do that when the state rules interpreter tells us not to enforce the rules appropriately? Then my next thought is how did this person get to this position by telling people not to call it by the book? This is the kind of person I talked about in a previous article called Dying Breed. These type of people need to go somewhere else or resign their position.
A week later I attended another meeting and this same person was present as a guest speaker. I basically sat in attendance and tried my best to drown this person out. Once he was finished some of his last words were “Next week I will be talking about mechanics and how I think they should be done”. My first thought, “who gives a crap what you think”. The officials manual was written for a reason and EVERYONE across the state should do what is said in that book.
I feel as if my frustrations will always be present. Every year I find out that people above us are against officials and their success. We should all be more studios of the game and listen to everything we hear. Once we hear these things, go look it up. You cal learn for yourself who to listen to and who not. We as officials are going to show initiative to study and hope one day we have someone that’s supportive of officiating and progress.