Yup, blown call and the refs should be castigated.
As a high school ref I might add a couple of things. First, unlike what is written in the article it would be a stretch to call the refs professional. I’ll never be a college ref because I started too late but a few guys in my association are. One guy owns an appliance business and the other is a state penitentiary captain. They get paid a few hundred dollars a game plus travel money and that’s about it. No one below the NFL can truly be called a professional ref. We do it because it’s fun, because our personalities hopefully like attention to detail, and because it gets us out among a bunch of guys in a kind of delayed locker room camaraderie well past our playing days.
Second, this stuff is hard. It’s a rare youth, high school, or college coach who has even read through the rule book even once. No spectator ever has. Folks watch the NFL and now they think they are experts. I’m looking at some of you here on YOGWF
. Throw on top of that the human nature to disbelieve what is right in front of them when it is something unusual and people make mistakes. My referee and I both blew a youth game call on Saturday because it was 4th and forever in punt formation and we were unprepared for a long pass and probably missed ineligible lineman downfield exacerbated by linemen at that level wearing any number they want.
In this play on Saturday it should be the umpire’s responsibility to note the first legal pass and then for both the referee and the umpire to know that a second is impermissible. The fact that it was on the other side of the field should not have mattered but it obviously did. A blown call for sure in a situation you don’t see every day. It’s like that business school presentation where there is a gorilla in a picture and half the class misses it because it was so totally unexpected that your brain discounts it.