They're armed and not afraid to unleash their ammo. No, I'm not talking about men with guns. I'm talking about college football referees. With penalty flags.
Now before anyone starts making assumptions, I want to state that I myself am an official (a flag football official, but a football official nonetheless).
I believe it is important to maintain order on the field of play, and officials help out greatly in this respect. Without referees, college football would be mass chaos.
With that said, I still have a problem with the way those who wear the black and white stripes affect the game of football.
Here is my list of referee flaws:
1. There are too many of them. Seven to be exact.
More refs mean a greater number of flags, which translates into more penalties.
If one referee calls a penalty, all 50 of them have to huddle up and discuss it, while the players, coaches, and fans alike twiddle their thumbs and wait.
And what's with the ref that is lined up next to the defensive linebackers, practically rubbing shoulders with them? All he does is get in the way. I have seen numerous highlights of the ref in that position being run over by players or causing disruption.
2. They are sucking the fun out of the game.
Why do referees feel like they must be a part of every play? Are they jealous they aren't able to catch a pass or tackle someone? I'm not sure.
But it's gotten to the point that I'm surprised when a 40-yard touchdown run is not called back due to some penalty.
I can't even really enjoy a kickoff return taken all the way without first scanning the field for that famous yellow rag. I have to hold my breath for a few seconds.
It's obvious that even the players are sometimes fearful of the penalties. A defensive back could do an excellent job of breaking up a pass and still turn cautiously towards the ref or throw his hands in the air as if to say, "I didn't touch him."
And, of course, you've got to love the unnecessary roughness penalty. The only thing that should be considered unnecessary is the penalty itself, yet it is called quite often now in college football.
We are talking about COLLEGE FOOTBALL here, not powderpuff tennis.
Let 'em play refs!
3. They have become overly involved in the game
Prime example of this: Georgia vs. LSU
A.J. Green scored the go-ahead touchdown against LSU with a minute left to put the Bulldogs up 13-12. He was called for excessive celebration for doing, well...nothing (as video recording would later show).
UGA ended up kicking from it's own 15-yard line, which set up great field position for LSU. The Tigers scored moments later and sealed the victory.
It does not help Georgia that Mike Bobo is their offensive coordinator, but that's neither here nor there. My point is, referees can greatly impact a game with one bad call. They've been given too much authority and it has gone to their heads.
It would be so nice to watch a NCAA football game without listening to the man in the white hat call out players' numbers for eternity (half of the time the wrong numbers).
Seems like it's going to take a lot more than crowd boos and coaches arguing to make the refs see the light of day.