If you are a sports fan of any kind, I’m sure you have heard the news. With time dwindling at the end of the fourth quarter, Drew Brees threw a pass on third down to his wide receiver on the sideline. The receiver is sprinting to get into position to catch the pass when all of a sudden, BOOM! He gets nailed by the defensive back, unable to catch the pass. It is obvious pass interference. The Saints will get a new first down, can kill some clock, and kick a game-winning fieldgoal to send them to the Super Bowl. However, the referee never threw a flag. The game would eventually go to overtime with the Los Angeles Rams coming out on top. Tough break for the Saints.
A fan ended up recreating the play in Madden, which is pretty creative if you ask me. This time, the ref immediately tosses the flag. Are Madden refs better than real life refs? What if the normal, average joe had the chance to
To start off, being from the Atlanta area, I am glad the Saints didn’t make the Super Bowl. A Patriots-Saints Super Bowl would be one of the worst possible outcomes for an Atlanta sports fan. Secondly, there are also so many different plays and blown calls throughout games and I am a big believer that you can’t boil everything down to one play (even though I do admit the Saints would have won the game if P.I. was called on the play). But how did the referee not make that call? How did he not chuck that yellow flag with authority, I mean he was standing right there. This ref will be ridiculed for the rest of his life and probably be fired for not making that call in the first place. How do we prevent problems like this from happening in the future? And how do we get people to sympathize with these poor lost souls?
I have a solution. They need to make a referee video game so everyone feels the pressure of what it feels like to be an NFL ref. In a career mode much like MLB the Show’s Road to the Show or NBA 2K’s My Player, you take control of a referee. You get to customize their look, pick out a ref number, and choose what position they are. Your goal is to work your way up the ranks until eventually, you get the honor of calling playoff and even Super Bowl games. That is the ref’s dream. Maybe you even get into the NFL Referee Hall of Fame! I have no earthly idea if there is one, but this game will have that.
Your created ref, wearing that sexy, zebra-striped outfit, gets a first-person view to all of the action on the field. It is your job to monitor every play. You make the calls, the game is on your shoulders. Maybe you miss a call at one point, a player gets up in your face, and you decide to make a make-up call later in the game. Don’t like the way a player is treating you? Flag him for unsportsmanlike conduct. A big part of this mode could be the crowd factor. Say you make a terrible call and the fans are booing you and riding you for the rest of the game. This could impact your ability to see the play properly and influence how you make calls the rest of the way. I’m sure real refs feel pressure like that not to mess up again, so why not include it in the game?
Another thing that should be included are the off the field factors. Friends and family could talk some smack about how you ruined their favorite team’s season or how you cost them a win in fantasy football. Something else that should arise is bribes. there could be some kind of monetary system, and there could be bribes that would have certain levels of risk involved. Help this team win and you get this amount of money, but you have a 40% chance of getting caught. If you get caught, you get fired and go to prison for years. So long NFL Referee Hall of Fame. Let’s be honest here, there’s probably been a corrupt official at some point in time, so why not bring that to light? This could be a fun way to keep players entertained and allow an outlaw aspect to the gameplay.
Getting back to all seriousness here, this game will never exist. But come on, you have to admit, it would definitely be entertaining. None of us will ever know what it’s like to be an NFL referee. We don’t know what the pressure feels like, how cautious they are every play, and what’s racing in their minds while these massive football players viciously pummel each other every play. This is the closest we can get to stepping in their shoes, and I for one would be entertained by this concept for at least a little while.