Growing up, the only job I had was being a referee for Great Falls Basketball. I started in seventh grade and continued all through high school.
By my fourth year, I was training the young refs just entering the program, and I even ran the program the year after I graduated. It was good money and even though fifth-grade girls apologize for fouls more often than they score, I was still getting paid to watch basketball.
From that experience, I learned two things: there is no bigger power trip than throwing out a rowdy parent arguing about how his son was fouled, and when your team loses, it is never the referees’ fault.
For every blown call at the end of a game that “loses” it for a team, there was the same blown call in the second quarter that went the other way, but it wasn’t seen as a big deal. In the end, they always balance out.
This is what I’ve thought my entire life … until Monday night.
I won’t go into the offensive pass interference that should have been, or even the “simultaneous possession” crap that gave the game to the Seahawks.
My change in philosophy is the culmination of three weeks of making holding calls from my couch and watching under-qualified morons ruin a sport I used to enjoy watching.
If you somehow have had your head in the sand and have no idea what I’m referring to, let me get you up to speed. The NFL owners have locked out the usual referees and hired replacements because hey, anyone can throw a yellow flag, right? Wrong.
The first three weeks have been pandemonium. Flags have been thrown for seemingly no reason, the new guys don’t seem to know the rules, players seem to be fighting because of more frequent cheap shots — the list goes on and on.
It even got so bad that the NFL almost let a die-hard Saints fan referee his own team’s game, only to pull him at the last minute when ESPN broke the story. It did miss, however, a situation where a former-Seahawks employee officiated a Seahawks game in week two.
My personal favorite story of the replacement refs' incompetence came Tuesday night when I found out several of these new zebras are so terrible at their jobs they were fired from the Lingerie League.
Let me say that again … they were fired by a league where team uniforms are just underwear.
First of all, I didn’t think the Lingerie League was a thing; rather, it was a gimmick for a Super Bowl halftime pay-per-view event one year that was beaten out by the puppy bowl — and rightfully so because they’re adorable.