OT: Worst officiating relative to level of play?

Submitted by bwlag on June 23rd, 2010 at 12:08 PM

First of all, let me be clear that is not intended to be a screed against the officiating in the last two USMNT games, shaky as it’s been. Thankfully, Donovan banged it home just as I was typing this, so my blood pressure is not as dangerously high.

I’m curious in what sport and level do you think the disparity between the level and officiating is greatest? In other words, high school officials generally aren’t all that great, but overall, the coaches, players and speed of play aren’t exactly elite, either. I try to think of the decisions of officials as part of the playing surface, just like goofy bounces off of boards or turf coming up when a receiver cuts. However, when decisions are consistently bad, it’s really infuriating.

For me, international/professional soccer and college hockey have the absolute worst relative officiating. I can’t think of any other sports where I’ve been closer to stroking out because of refs. It’s even more egregious in soccer since goals are at such a premium, and an official’s call/no-call can directly impact the result of a game.

On the other hand, I generally think NFL and NHL refs are pretty good. Certainly, mistakes happen, but that’s inevitable. It’s the frequency that’s the real issue.

Thoughts? Rants?



June 23rd, 2010 at 12:12 PM ^

We live in a 'what have you done for me lately' culture.  Hard to argue where the crappy officiating has come from.  Lack of instant replay hurts too.

Also, I MAY have removed my pants and ran around the block a few times, yelling at small children and spitting like Big Baby Davis...

Why was Algeria so pissy when I got back?


June 23rd, 2010 at 12:13 PM ^

NBA - they may not make the flashiest calls/non-calls, but they're admittedly (Donaghy's tell all, but we all knew that already) controlling the pace of the game and the outcomes of games. The other games at least refs normally try to make the right calls, in the NBA they just do whatever the league tells them.


June 23rd, 2010 at 12:15 PM ^

To the point that the call/nocall anomalies, dependent upon player, have affected the style of play and made for lazy players in the top league; players of great skill end up playing for the foul, not playing for the basket.

Sounds like soccer as well, actually.  Thanks, Sterbende Schwan.



June 23rd, 2010 at 12:40 PM ^

...and therefore subject to their individual biases and preferences.  Keeping politics out of this, nobody roots for the USA on the world stage.  Fans love an underdog, and every small country is cast in this role against any USA teams.  Consequently, all US teams get every team's best effort, and the refs seem to shade games in soccer and basketball, to name two, in favor of the "underdogs." 

As we have seen, in soccer it only takes one disallowed goal to change a game.  The US team almost had their entire tournament changed by two controversial calls and countless minor fouls allowed by opponents.  Is there any connection between the blown calls and the Algerian team's despondency over finishing in last place by one more point?  We'll never know, but I certainly have some thoughts on the subject. 

His Dudeness

June 23rd, 2010 at 12:44 PM ^

They are world class FIFA refs.  You are a biased fan who is watching a game you most likely have only a very basic knowledge of and you are complaining that a ref who has been trained to know or been around the game, for a number of years is not up to your level of knowledge of the game. I think that may be the problem.


June 23rd, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

If you're talking about me, I've been playing soccer since I was 4 years old, for over 20 years.  Played competitively through college.  I'm pretty sure I have a rudimentary understanding of the game.

Offisides happens when a player crosses the blue line before the ball right... so then what is icing?  And when do teams get power plays? 

True, I am a biased fan, but FIFA has fought against implementing 2 refs to watch the 18's in international play, which is ludicrous.  That is like taking pride in the fact that you blow so many calls.  I can name a handful of other terrible calls that did not even involve the US. 

I used to ref games when I was younger.  It sucks, I would never be able to do it on a world stage.  Doesn't mean that half of these guys can do it on the world stage either...

His Dudeness

June 23rd, 2010 at 1:34 PM ^

In repsect to all of you. Nobody on this board is a FIFA ref. None of you know the game better than any one of those refs. They aren't off the streets. They are world class. You are sitting at home on your couch with the benefit of replay, 360 axis HD cameras not to mention that none of you have been in game time situations after running around the pitch with elite soccer athletes. This is not up for debate. None of you have any reason to call out refs for what you view as a missed call. It is laughable to claim you or anyone else could do a better job. It helps to watch the game and not the refs.


June 23rd, 2010 at 1:42 PM ^

Haha, but I do agree that these guys don't get the credit they deserve.  That is universal.  Refs are gluttons for punishment though, comes with the territory.  Would I want to be in their shoes? No.  Would I do a better job then them?  No.  Can I still sit on the sidelines and hurl insults? Well, anything else would be un-U.S. American.

I do see the hypocrisy in my post, FYI.

Enjoy Life

June 23rd, 2010 at 12:47 PM ^

I can hardly watch NBA games anymore. Obvious fouls that are not called and fouls called when there isn't even contact. When Kobe got those 2 bogus fouls called which got him to 5 fouls it completely changed the outcome of the game.


June 23rd, 2010 at 1:23 PM ^

How you have 3 refs on a court that small and blow that many calls is beyond me.  When's the last time you could look back at a basketball game at any level and say it was well-officiated?  Baseball umpires are, with a few exceptions, excellent.  NFL refs are very good as well.  But basketball referees tend to, well, suck.

Also, as for soccer, getting the offsides call right is one of the most difficult things for a ref to do in any sport.  It used to be much easier, when you had to wait for the ball to be in front of you before passing the last defender.  Now the ref has to see the ball being played and where the player is at the same time.  The Dempsey call should have been easy, but I'll be honest, I thought he was offside when I saw it live.


June 23rd, 2010 at 1:51 PM ^

Yeah, I think that would get called offside about half the time. It's just so hard on the AR, since he has to track both the shot (he's in charge of calling a ball over the goal line) and keep track of the position of the offensive players.