It can be fun and games for the officials, too … at the right time
When you officiate, you have to find humor in the game. You have to, or you’d go insane with all of arguing, berating, second-guessing and dangerous situations on the field. Officials can’t (and shouldn’t) find humor in a player’s or coach’s performance. So who can be the target of some good-natured fun?
A perfect example of this occurred during the Week 14 game between the Panthers and Falcons. According to The Charlotte Observer, just before the two-minute warning with the Panthers up big, the Panthers’ backup quarterback tried a sneak on fourth down. The officials called for a measurement and the ball was just short. If the Panthers got a first down, all they would need to do is kneel on the ball three times and the game would be over. Instead the Falcons got the ball back for a desperation drive that was meaningless to the result. At the two-minute warning, referee Tony Corrente’s mic was left on and the mic picked up his crew teasing the head linesman about spotting the ball short a first down, prolonging the game.
This is not the first time Corrente has had a hot mic issue. Thankfully this little moment was not as controversial.
This is common for all officials of all sports at all levels. Officials have light moments like this during many games during the season. It helps keep the mood loose, relieves tension, can relax the officials, and even cause them to ramp up concentration before play resumes.
It is hard to concentrate during blowout or poorly played games and officials have to guard against drifting on the game. They have techniques to prevent that. This joking is different and not a symptom of the officials drifting. It was during a timeout where the officials could briefly come together and relax. Unfortunately for the officials, what was a private moment was heard by the rest of the stadium.
Officials make calls in real-time and in good faith. They don’t make calls to get a game over.
Fans were able, accidentally, to hear how officials keep things loose on the field at times. No harm, no foul.
If people are upset about this little exchange, I’ll let Sargent Hulka from the movie Stripes have the final word.