The controversy of sports officiating

Jayce Jessup, Reporter

Over the past couple years the most budding controversy hasn’t even regarded the players, coaches, or even teams in general but the people that officiate. Yes, I’m talking about the most hated people on the field, Referees. Lately, it seems like Refs can’t do anything right. No matter what they call someone is going to be upset and argue with the call. When asked if he thinks there is a problem with sports officiating at FMHS, Sophomore football player Drake Haley said, “I think there is a problem, and if something needs to be changed There are too many missed calls that could change the outcome of a game. ButI don’t see anything changing that anytime soon.” In FMHS sports it isn’t odd to hear the crowd bellow when the whistle blows on a bad travel or a missed shooting foul, or when that little yellow flag hits the turf, or that red or yellow card is waved up in the air even when it isn’t.

According to NFL Operations, each NFL game averages around 154 plays. Game officials are typically accurate on 97% of calls. Yet, fans seem to only care about those three percent of calls that are missed or inaccurately called. Why? Because those calls get talked about. The missed pass interference call in the Saints vs. Rams NFC Championship game in 2019 that is still being talked about. It even made the NFL institute a new rule that allowed coaches to challenge pass interference calls and formerly non-reviewable plays. When asked about the problems with officiating, FMHS Junior Peter Conklin said, “There’s little plays that are ok that are missed, but then there is no excuse to miss big calls that could change the outcome of the game.” This means that little holding penalties in football, small little shooting fouls where the defender barely touches the offensive player, and plays in soccer where both players seem to trip each other. But hits that could get a player hurt or are unnecessary in football, or intentional and flagrant fouls in basketball, and red cards in soccer must be called. Along with the calls that could change the game, like a missed pass interference call or a missed shooting foul, even a missed offsides in soccer.


The NFL isn’t the only professional league that is having controversy over their refs. The NBA has been facing similar problems with teams like the Houston Rockets saying that the officials’ missed calls cost them a potential NBA Finals berth. But, according to Ben Dowsett of, “The NBA continues to hover between 93 and 95 percent accuracy on all calls and non-calls its officials make, per multiple league sources familiar with the full data set, a success rate it has maintained for several years despite the constantly-evolving nature of the job.” Dowsett also stresses the point that the sports officiating “problem” will last as long as we want it to. That means that we’re the ones that need to fix it, and to do that we must stop focusing on every single missed call and accept that missed calls only add to the excitement of the games.