PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The instant replay official whose failure to overturn a bad call led to a narrow victory for Oregon over Oklahoma said he feels like he is under siege after receiving menacing phone calls and a death threat.
A little background for those not paying attention: On Saturday, Oregon came from being down 33-20 to defeat Oklahoma 34-33. The pivotal play of the comeback was an onside kick after Oregon scored a touchdown with 1:12 left in the fourth to make the score 33-27. Oregon recovered the onside kick, and went on to score another touchdown, winning the game 34-33. The problem is, that footage revealed that an Oregon player touched the ball before it had gone 10 yards, as required by the rules. If that had been caught by the officials, Oklahoma would have received the ball, and the game would have ended with Oklahoma winning 33-27. Unfortunately, neither the officials on the field or in the replay booth saw things that way -- they ruled that the ball was first touched by Oklahoma, and the call stood. It was only after the game was over that the mistake was revealed.
I can understand the frustration of the Sooner fans -- it was a bad call, and I'll be the first to admit that if it had been made correctly, we would have lost. But that's the way things go in football -- referees make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes cost teams points -- earlier in the same game, for instance, the refs failed to flag OU for Delay of Game on a play that got them out of a deep hole and led to one of the scores that UO had to overcome later. Sometimes bad calls cost a team a game. It shouldn't happen, but it does. This isn't the first time it has happened, and it won't be the last.
But Oklahoma -- both the University and its fans -- need to get some perspective. Oklahoma is threatening to cancel a game with Washington unless the PAC-10 changes its rules for who officiates home games ("We'll take our ball and go home!"). They also requested that the game be stricken from the records as neither a win nor a loss for either team.
Here's an idea, first suggested by my friend Lurch: How about a joint resolution by the Pac-10 and the Big 12 that IT'S JUST A GAME!? Seriously, this is the biggest case of being sore losers I've ever seen. I'm also a Seahawks fan, and to this day believe that crappy officiating cost them the superbowl. But you know what? That's the way it goes. The Pittsburgh Steelers won that game, and they're the Superbowl champs -- not the Seahawks. Sportsmanship means you accept the outcome of the game, and you strive to make sure that next time it doesn't happen like that again. I agree with the PAC-10's suspension of the officials who made the call, and there's a valid argument for reviewing how officials are assigned. But threatening to cancel games? Pretending they just didn't happen? DEATH THREATS?????
You really do need to get a life.