Tuesday, September 25, 2012

0 The 13th Man


By Shaee Flatt

The phrase “12th man” is thrown around a lot in football, referring to the crowd noise at a home stadium.

Sometimes, the phrase can be literal however, for instance, Texas A&M has the phrase “Home of the 12th man” posted inside their stadium in reference to E. King Gill, who was called from the stands to serve as a backup in A&M’s 1929 game against powerhouse Centre College.

The NFL, however, is taking it to a whole new level. The NFL has come up with a 13th man. And here I was thinking that football was supposed to be played with 11 at a time. Nope. You’ve got the 11 on the field, the crowd, and now…  the replacement referees. We won’t get into the details on why they are here, or where they came from, because that quite frankly, doesn’t matter. What does matter is that these referees have truly become the 13th man. There are horrendous calls in what seems like every game, and now, the referees have let the wrong team walk off the field as the winner, possibly, twice.

Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, everyone watches the primetime NFL games. Firstly, we go to Baltimore, where Sunday night, the Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots game down to the foot of Ravens placekicker, Justin Tucker. Or did it? With two seconds remaining, and the Ravens down by two, Tucker lined up for a game winning 27 yard field goal. A chip shot, right? Not so much. Tucker kicked the ball straight right, and it appeared at first glance to miss right, after replay, all I can say is I’m glad it wasn’t me making the call. Some say he clearly made it, some say he clearly missed it. It’s controversy at its finest. The tune was a little different Monday night in Seattle, where the Seahawks took on the Green Bay Packers. In Seattle there was no denying the result of the final play. With eight seconds remaining and Green Bay leading Seattle 12-7, the Seahawks and rookie Quarterback, Russell Wilson, had one last shot to get the ball in the end zone and win the game. Wilson took the snap and rolled back, and to his right, with no time on the clock he hurled the ball 40 yards in to the end zone. In the eyes of millions at home, Packers defensive back, M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball and sealed the win for Green Bay. In the eyes of the referees calling the game, Seahawks Wide Receiver, Golden Tate, reached in and had equal possession and therefore caught the ball? Whatever the thought of the referee on that play, it was wrong. Everyone in that stadium, including Golden Tate, knows he didn’t catch that ball. Except for the one man that is being paid to know. Pathetic. Fans, players, broadcasters, journalists, everyone took to twitter and let their voice be heard on the replacement referees last night. Their voices though, went unheard, as the NFL upheld the ruling this morning, and said “The game is final.”

While it was a long shot at best that the NFL would somehow step in hours after a game, and change the winner, it is, despite the even more controversy that would have appeared, what many would suggest, should have been done. Fans can argue about may things discussing the replacement referees in today’s NFL, but one thing is for certain, the “13th man” has become just as important as any of the other 11 men standing on that field with them. 

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