Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lions vs. Saints: Officials Make Correct Call in Wake of Inadvertent Whistle

For all the criticism levied against NFL officials this Wild Card Saturday, perhaps the strongest round of scoffing took place during the second quarter of the Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints game.

With 5:39 remaining in the first half, Saints quarterback Drew Brees attempted to throw a pass (VIDEO), in part to avoid a sack at the hands of Detroit's Willie Young.

In a span of mere seconds, Brees was on the ground, the ball was loose past the original line of scrimmage and at least one whistle was being blown.

The Lions picked up the loose football and started running it towards the far end zone before being arrested by the familiar sounds of the pea-less mouthpiece.

At least one official had ruled the sequence an incomplete pass while another ruled a fumble and subsequent recovery by Detroit's Justin Durant.

HS Basketball Fouls Incorrectly Labeled Flagrant on Viral Video

Spectators, coaches and even players often second guess calls made by officials. Periodically—okay, frequently—these onlookers loudly make their opinions known through jeers, taunts, heckles and other uniquely sports-related behavior.

With each call sure to upset 50 percent of the enthusiasts gathered field- or court-side, accepting abuse is an inescapable necessity. Such is the nature of the beast, requiring officials to balance the distinct wants and whines of each side to ensure a fair game.

Officials must exist to perform this very intrinsic function—ensure fairness—and most commonly, complaints directed at officials imply that for one reason or another, one team is being treated unfairly.

Of course, these rules and regulations exist to assist officials in their primary role—ensuring player safety.

When a referee calls too many fouls, the official is accused of not allowing the players to play their sport.

When a referee neglects to call enough fouls or does not adequately address rough play, the official is accused of not ensuring a safe environment for the players.

Such is the case of a recent viral high school basketball video featuring an edited sequence of six fouls, called common or shooting on the floor, but labeled flagrant by the video's creator.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Six Player Finish

During the course of a game, mistakes are inevitable whether it be by players, coaches, or even the officials. Nothing brings more attention to the mistakes of the participants more so than an end of the game.

This exact type of undesired attention, the type of attention that brings the possibility of reprimand, came upon the Sun Belt officiating crew of Thursday's Louisiana-Lafayette's contest at Western Kentucky.

Coming out of a timeout with 21 seconds remaining, Louisiana-Lafayette Guard Raymone Andrews inbounded the ball in front of his own bench to Elfrid Payton, who drained the clock and made a layup with three seconds remaining to give Lafayette a two point lead. Western Kentucky missed a desperation three at the buzzer, as Lafayette held on to win, 72-70.

However, there were a couple of problems that occurred during those final 21 seconds. The first, replays indicate that Lafayette had six players on the court the whole time, which seemingly aided in their final possession. The greater problem was that the fact the infraction went unnoticed by the officials and Lafayette was not penalized at any point.

Once the ball became live, following the time out, Lafayette had committed a violation of NCAA Rule 10-2-6, "having more than five players legally on the playing court to participate after the ball becomes live." Quite clearly from the replay, Lafayette had six individuals on the playing court. The Lafayette substitute is considered a player upon the illegal entry, once the ball became live per Rule 3-4-1c.

Deaf Soccer Player Issued Yellow Card for Ignoring Whistle

Every so often, there are sports stories that seemingly make no sense. This is one of them.

According to, Scottish Junior Cup player Philip John "P.J." Dolan was issued a yellow card by referee Gavin Duncan for playing significantly past the referee's whistle, going so far as to score a goal and begin celebrating despite the referee and AR's call of offside.

Dolan, who plays for Kilsyth, subsequently received a second yellow for diving, resulting in an automatic sendoff and two-game suspension.

When such an event happens in the United States—most notably in the NBA—the offender is assessed a penalty for showing up the official. The Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard led the league last season with 18 technicals while second place Kobe Bryant picked up 16, many for showing up the referee. Just last night, Bryant received a delay-of-game warning for refusing to give the game ball to the nearest official.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dan Carcillo Suspended, John Tortorella Fined During Busy Day of NHL Discipline

Chicago Blackhawks forward Dan Carcillo was suspended seven games for a dangerous and illegal high board to the head of Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert.

The week-long suspension to Carcillo capped off the NHL's first full day of discipline, with Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque receiving a five-game suspension for elbowing Washington's Nicklas Backstrom and New York Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella receiving a $30,000 fine for claiming a Winter Classic conspiracy.