Referees do not play the game, they officiate the game. Yes, officials do make incorrect calls at times, and yes some of those calls do happen to occur at more costly moments in a game then others.
It needs to be understood that through the minutes of a game, through the blood, sweat, and tears that are shed in the mist of battle, it is then, within those minutes when a games outcome is determined. By the Players, who play the game.
Not one person is happy, satisfied, or content when in the closing minutes of a nail biter, or in the bottom of a 9th inning when a poor call is made! That is a difficult way to end a game. Though do you really believe that one shameful call was what ultimately decided the outcome of the game? Numerous amounts of plays and opportunities show themselves at the starting line of a game, and last all the way to the finish line of a game. The truth is, to paraphrase The King, “not one, not two, not three…” ugly calls or even at times a no call is the determining factor of a game, unless you want it to be. If you are on that side of the fence just throw in the towel and raise your white flag before the National Anthem is even performed, because calls, or lack there of, are not the defining moments of a game.
The Whistle is in the officials mouth, not yours. As a player or as a coach, that responsibility is not in your hands to control. If the players and coaches could do their jobs and assignments as consistent and as successful as one can within the minutes or innings of a game, the outcome or finished product will be much more fulfilling.
Fans and certain sport analysts often want to rehash specific plays where they think a poor call was made, or even where one was not made but should have been. That is a fan being a fan, wanting their teams to always be the beneficiary. Though it frequently appears that more plays that involve a poor call, or again lack there of, get more attention versus the amount of plays made by the players themselves, that were not impacted by a whistle or by the silence of a whistle.
Yes, officials do have the ability to alter a game, even to alter the outcome of a game, depending on when certain situations occur. When comparing the amount of impact that a few weak calls have to that of the impact that the players and coaches have, the scale favors those not wearing a whistle.
Every game that is played has moments when a team is unable to capitalize on certain situations. That, then leads to those specific calls or, lack there of, to be picked apart and dissected like a surgeon. The team that is better prepared are often more likely to capitalize and to take advantage of the possible beneficial situations that has presented itself. With that, when the imminent bad whistle is blown, or again not blown, they will be better suited to still be successful and to not look at the officials as the reason why.
An argument can be made that maybe officials should be held more accountable, and be more qualified or to have replacement officials to help “improve” the game. That is an argument that could use its own PED’s because it is not a strong one, just ask the NFL. If every player and coach would perform their assignments as error free as human nature will allow, officials would not be able to have such an impact on the final outcome of a game. Those one, two, or three ugly calls that went against you will not be so detrimental to the team. It is more likely than not the team that commits the most mistakes, or mistakes of the most impact that leave their fans blind and questioning the ability of the officials, rather than the names on the roster.
Bad calls OR lack there of, are a part of sports and are inevitable. Yet, it is the play in between those whistles where the outcome of a game is determined.
Written By: Jason Gitler