The Substitutes

I caught a little bit of the Patriots – Ravens game tonight. The unnecessary shoving and slapping I witnessed in such a short time may actually rival that of the Jersey Shore crew. However, these football players didn’t require absurd amounts of alcohol to get hype…  JUST replacement refs.

I agree, the officiating has been just plain bad, and wildly inconsistent. The delays, poor calls, missed calls, and flat-out confusion that has occurred since the replacement refs were handed the reigns is frustrating. Clearly, “frustrating” is understatement for what it’s been for players and coaches. However, I’m pretty sure of one thing: there’s no excuse for the fighting and/or harassing and demeaning of these officials.

As I watched the game unfold, I couldn’t help but notice the mounting horror on the faces of these poor blokes. They are, after all, in charge of keeping order amongst very large men who have now resorted to physical violence against one another. Not good.

Then it struck me. I’ve dealt with this before. This is what I like to call, Substitute Hysteria. If you’ve ever had a substitute teacher, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Remember that stickler of a teacher you had, whose class you dreaded? Remember the joy you felt when you walked into his or her room and saw an unfamiliar face behind the desk? Yesssss, we’ve got a sub!

Whether you were a good kid (like me ;)), or the one that made that substitute hate their life for a solid 50 minutes, you’ve experienced Substitute Hysteria. There is a certain sort of madness or frenzy that can occur when a group of kids outnumber a naive and unsuspecting substitute teacher. Spit wads, slapping people (friends or enemies), and other random acts of craziness occur. Most of which would never happen if the “real” teacher was in.

That same hysteria has taken over what used to be an orderly classroom, headed by Ed Hochuli and his biceps. Unfortunately, Mr. Hochuli & Co will be absent for at least two more weeks even if a deal to end the lockout is reached soon. Meanwhile, these poor subs have completely lost control of their classroom.

Now it only takes a few bad “kids” to evoke madness in a classroom. Likewise, there are always a few unruly parents as well. Parents who think they know better than the teacher and think they can call the shots, rather than teaching their kids to be respectful.

I mention this because there are now two coaches, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who are reportedly being fined $20,000 each for publicly criticizing the replacement refs. Then there is Bill Belichick, who made the not-so-smooth move of grabbing a replacement official by the arm while running off the field tonight. Get your checkbook out, Bill. That’s gonna cost you, too. The point is, just like parents can make jerks out their kids, coaches can do the same to their players.

OR, they can be like good mommies and daddies and teach their kids that despite the second-hand officiating they’ve had thus far, they must still carry themselves with class and act like role models.

To wrap it up, I want to explain why I’ve been so empathetic to the replacements. have been a substitute teacher. You do the best with what you’ve been given, and hope that your students aren’t heathens. For those that are heathens, a little dodgeball to the head during gym class will shut them up rather quickly, or so I’ve heard. Whoops! 😉 For the replacement officials, your little yellow flag (when used correctly) should help you maintain order as well.

Bottom line is this: These players may not respect the current officials, but they still have to answer to their coaches. Coaches, be the example for your players. These replacements are doing the best with what they’ve got. Mr. Hochuli and crew will be back before you know it. Hopefully. 🙂

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Tim vs. Tom: A Mile-High Holiday Treat

Somewhere in the North Pole, there is a bum with a white beard and a dirty red suit that is out of a job. The Claus-man has lost his sweet gig to a large man wearing blue and orange. The eight tiny reindeer have been replaced as well, by ten big dudes wearing tight pants and helmets.

Sorry, Santa. Tim Tebow has stolen your thunder this holiday season and he’s spreading football cheer to just about everyone these days. Even some of us ill-fated Browns fans have (hopefully) found an underdog to latch onto this-coming postseason in Tebow and the Broncos. Whether you’re tired of hearing the Tebow-hoopla or not, I just can’t get enough of a good thing. Of course I wrote that story a month ago, so I’ll cool my Tebow jets for a few minutes.

Besides, before Tim can hit the lucky number seven (straight victories) and bring his Broncos one step closer to a playoff berth, he must slap a big “L” in the New England Patriots’ column; or rather, the loss column of proven-veteran Tom Brady.

Now let me just get this out there. Brady’s hair is a huge distraction for me. Even his sparkling blue eyes and stellar bone structure are rendered powerless to this female due to his terrible tresses. Let alone the words that come out of his mouth during a press conference. It’s like he’s on mute while I watch him speak because all I can think is, “Wow, that’s some bad hair.” (View evidence below)

Okay, I know the last couple aren’t him, but one has to wonder who his style icons have been over the years. Moving on…

Bad mop or not, Brady is a pretty sick quarterback, and he’s still not as big of a tool as the yeti in Pittsburgh. With the heated exchange between himself and his offensive coordinator last week aside, news of Tom and the Patriots has been fairly skim this season, despite their solid 10-3 record (hard to believe now that one of those losses was to Buffalo!). Brady is second in the league in passing yards and New England is third in the NFL in points scored per game with 30.5.

No wonder nearly everyone besides Patriots fans dislike the guy. Some even use the word hate. See the video below.

When you have haters under the age of 10, you know you’ve made it. 🙂

Well, Tom Brady and the Pats are hoping to make some grown men cry in Denver this weekend, just like they did to the scorned little fella above.

However, it won’t be easy. Denver is 7-1 with #15 at the reigns, and although Tebow’s game is sometimes hard to watch for the first three and a half quarters, I’d argue that there is not a better final-drive player in the league currently.

But will the Bronco’s mid-level defense keep it close enough for Tebow to take over in the fourth? Denver has not faced an offense like New England’s yet. Brady and the Patriots have been posting and average of 424 total yards per game, with 75% of those yards coming compliments of the six-time Pro-Bowler’s arm.

Of course the Patriots’ D is nothing more than average either, and they face a unique (to the NFL) Broncos’ offense which leads the league in rushing. Tebow makes the option work, and more importantly, Tebow makes his teammates believe they can win.

Yes, the New England name may be intimidating, and that reputation is deserved in my opinion. But one’s got to wonder… who should be more afraid heading into Sunday’s game? If I’m a Patriot… I’m a bit concerned about this Tebow character. Not to mention the rest of the Broncos, who have won five of the last seven meetings with NE, and the city of Denver that will no-doubt be going CRAZY for this game. There is something scary about a team that believes in itself as much as the Tebow-led Broncos do. You never know what they’re capable of.

There is also something refreshing about a football player who is clearly not out to make any fashion statements with his hairstyles. 

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a little jingle compliments of the man who was formally one of the Tebow’s biggest critics. Yes, Merril Hoge has been reformed. This is the same guy who called Tebow starting for Denver this season “absurd,” while stating, “It’s embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow!”

Open mouth, insert foot, Hoge!

If this can happen, just about anything is possible come Sunday!

***Play Video Below***