The puck is soon to drop on the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings, two teams with passionate fan bases, are about to face off in a repeat of last year's Cup Finals. Question is, how long will it take for the first fan on one side or the other to accuse the referees of making a poor call, particularly if it is one that happens at a critical point in the game or one that potentially affects the outcome of a game?
It will not be the first time this happens across all the major sports we watch. Every week of the NFL season, there is a catalog of threads specifically about bad calls in games. This year, in the NBA playoffs, we have been treated to a veritable ongoing litany of threads about officiating, or the lack thereof, in these series. The accusations in the NBA seem to get more outrageous as the playoffs go on, even to the point where a player on one team in a series accused their opponent of "buying" a win in the series. Talk about sour grapes.
That brings us to the question: Without poor officiating, what would we have to talk about? I have been guilty in the past of participating in some of these discussions, particularly regarding the NFL and the NHL. I don't watch much NBA play, but I have been intrigued to follow all the folderol about the officiating during the playloffs this year. As anyone who spends even a short amount of time as a Community member knows, this place abounds with any number of threads about poor officiating, how calls have affected the outcome of games, a player's individual stats, etc. In fact, some Community members at times appear to make a hobby out of complaining about officiating in the sport(s) they follow.
The one sport that appears to be exempt from as high a level of criticism is Major League Baseball. That is not to say that poor calls don't happen in baseball. It's just that the season is 162 games long, and fans, I think, a have a tendency to forget about a lot of bad calls as the season rolls on. Bad calls that occur in the playoffs are mostly few and far between for MLB. In the NBA and NHL, teams play about half as many games during a season, and the NFL has the shortest season of them all. NFL fans can zero in on officiating quicker than almost anybody.
So, if you follow a particular sport, what would be your solution(s) to poor officiating? Better training? Full-time officials? Closer league scrutiny of officials? I likely will come back with my take(s) after seeing a few responses. I hope we can have a constructive conversation about something that can be quite bothersome and distract fans from quality play in four wonderful professionals sports.