UL's Marlin, Brodhead agree: Officiating is 'tough' work
It was a hot topic Sunday, and a sore subject Monday.
Why can’t they just get it all right?
From New Orleans to Kansas City, and parts here, there and seemingly everywhere, enquiring minds, and inquiring ones too, want to know.
That’s especially so in Louisiana, where the sting of a missed pass-interference call that cost the Saints dearly late in regulation of their 26-23 NFC Championship Game overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams will be felt long past this week.
In Kansas City, the Chiefs wound up on the short of end a stick that favored New England in another one that went to OT.
So it was appropriate that even UL basketball coaches Bob Marlin and Garry Brodhead were asked about the dreaded R-word – referees – as they met with local media members Monday.
The two were sympathetic and opinionated.
“I’m no expert on officiating,” said Marlin, coach of an 11-7 Ragin’ Cajun men’s team that plays host this week to South Alabama on Thursday night and Troy on Saturday night.
“And when I first started coaching, a guy that I looked up to a lot, that shared a lot of things I do today in my coaching … gave me a poem, actually, and the title was ‘Only God can referee.’ You’d get a kick out of it.”
Maybe one as hard as the Saints got Sunday.
“It’s tough,” Marlin said.
“People are gonna make mistakes, but when you make it on the highest stage, in front of everyone, then, that certainly is a problem.”
As NFL games go, Sunday’s stage was second only to the Super Bowl.
“That was a tough one,” said Brodhead, the UL women’s coach whose Cajuns have won three in a row.
“To see a couple plays like that (Sunday), it’s disheartening. I guess they say ‘it’s part of the game.’ It’s just the hard part to live with.”
Few sports are immune to officiating blunders.
Bowling may be one. College basketball certainly is not.
Sometimes the calls are a matter of judgement.
As Marlin tells it, for instance, late in UL’s 99-95 loss Saturday at UL Monroe Cajuns point guard Marcus Stroman was involved in one that didn’t go his way.
Other times, the mistakes are much more obvious.
Case in point:
Earlier this month in Atlanta, Georgia State star D’Marcus Simonds was permitted to take obvious extra steps for a game-winning layup that beat UL Monroe.
Much like Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman acknowledged he interfered with Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis, Simonds admitted on Twitter that he traveled.
Simonds then went one step farther, so to speak, actually bragging that he pushed off too.
Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson called the blown call an “egregious” error and suspended the game’s officiating crew one game.
The Simonds call was not reviewable. Neither was the one involving Stroman.
The same goes for Robey-Coleman’s intentional clocking of Lewis, which is why Marlin and Brodhead both also were asked if they wished judgement calls indeed could get reviewed.
“The time of the ball makes a big difference,” Brodhead said.
“If it’s under two minutes, it could make a huge difference – like against the Saints (Sunday). … That call right there makes it tough, so you review it.
“For me, I think (a review) takes the flow of the game out,” he added. “But I’d rather see ’em get it right.”
Sometimes even that’s not enough.
“It’s a tough job, to be a referee,” Brodhead said. “But I think they’ve got to be held accountable … for whatever calls they make.
“They’re professionals, just like us (coaches). Every loss that we (have), it’s on us.”
Marlin can attest.
But it’s complicated.
“Yes, we want to get it right,” Marlin said. “But you can’t go to the monitor the other day (in Monroe) to see if that’s a pushoff necessarily or not.”
The rules don’t allow it.
Plenty can be reviewed, though, and in Marlin’s mind that happens much too often.
“Every play doesn’t need to go to the monitor, because it does disrupt the flow,” he said.
“Football might be a little bit from that standpoint. … But when it’s a long delay, it certainly affects the team.”
So what’s the perfect solution?
Only God knows.