Monday, October 24, 2005

The Oblong Pigskin Ball, Part 2

As I have watched much more football in recent years, I have learned a new appreciation for those involved. Sure, I cheer for Husband’s team, but they get paid lots of money to do what they do. The real heroes of the game are the referees.

Most of the refs are just regular guys who have regular jobs and have earned the right and acquired the skill to referee NFL games. They start in pee-wee football and go all the way up the ranks through Junior High, High School, and College. They get paid, but not nearly as much as the players. They do it because they love the game. Most of them work all week and then sacrifice their weekends to be at these games. Most give 15-30 hours a week to refereeing; studying rules, watching film, traveling, etc. And yet most people don’t give them a passing thought until they make a bad call.

Yes, I have a favorite referee. His name is Ed Hochuli, #85. I’ve even searched for a Referee’s jersey with #85 on it, to no avail. Mr. Hochuli is from Phoenix and is a founding partner in a law firm. He’s head of the NFL Referee’s Association, and is also probably in the best shape of all of the refs. In an article from, Mr. Hochuli explains in detail how he prepares for the games and what is expected of NFL Referees. I admire him for the skill and confidence he has in making calls. He rarely ever has to overturn a play due to a challenge, and he’s not afraid to stand up for the refs on his team. He has the guts to stand his ground, and you rarely ever see players or coaches give him trouble. I think that must be a reflection of the way he lives his life, and think he would be a cool person to know. Again, I say these guys do it because they love what they do and not because of the glory.

There can be no glory in some of the signals they must give. I tried to find pictures of these signals, and did, indeed find them, but Blogger wasn't obliging me when I wanted to post them, so here's the website where you can view them for yourself. Of course, the “holding” call is probably the most often charged foul, and is easy to signal. But I think watching these guys make the “tripping,” (cross your ankles while standing) “roughing the kicker,” (hands to your side, feet togehter, make a small kicking motion) or even “safety” (palms together over your head) signal can be downright hilarious. I also think using the word “encroachment” is fun. I once got on an “encroachment” kick and yelled, “Encroachment!!!” and did the hand signal (hands on hips) every time Husband would jostle me when he jumped up off the couch to yell at the TV during a game. He got tired of that pretty quickly. I wonder why?

Yes, football can be a brutal sport, and lots of people get hurt playing. But they’re asking for it, if you want to know what I think. If you don’t, why are you reading this? Anyway, lots of people can get hurt on the job and don’t get paid nearly as much to risk life and limb. These guys get paid enough that they are able to take out extra insurance policies, etc. to protect themselves and their families. Most people who have hazardous jobs aren’t.

So I think football is fine for those that love it, and it’s ok if you don’t. But if you are familiar with the sport, you’ll know what I mean if I suddenly yell, “Encroachment!” at you. Pin It

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