On the Tunney Side of the Street 40

by Jim Tunney

After Further Review...

At a corporate presentation recently, I was asked "Did you ever officiate an NFL game where there was a controversial call made?" My answer was, "Every Sunday afternoon!" Then the follow-up question, "Were you the official who made it?"

I love the Q&A sessions in my presentations. The questions are forthright and general with the questioner curious about the job of a game official. More than often, however, the person asking has a specific incident that involved a team of which he/she is a fan. In either case, the answer - my answer - needs to be clear, concise and honest.

With the 2010 NFL season now underway, controversy is in full play. And that word - controversy - will be mentioned regularly. Fans of one T.E.A.M. or another will be angry at 1) game officials; 2) coaches, and/or 3) players. Fans want perfection from all of the above - no, let me correct that - fans want their T.E.A.M. to win (perfection not always required).

Controversy is in the eyes of the beholder. As an example, consider Washington DC and its direction; the corporate world, currently HP and Oracle among others; and in local city councils (you pick it). But nothing stirs fans' emotions like sports.

With 4th and 1 at the goal line, should a T.E.A.M. go for the touchdown or field goal? Does a coach replace his starting QB when he is struggling? Who takes the blame for a T.E.A.M. with more losses than wins - coach, assistants, player(s) or all the above?

A former NFL player wrote to me recently that "I had cheated him out of a paycheck" because of a call I made 45 years ago. They don't forget! Then there's the call in the 2010 MLB season that denied a pitcher a no-hitter. The umpire who made it wasn't cheating. It was an error in judgment, as he later admitted.

Errors in judgment happen every day - parents, teachers, executives and government officials. Were they 'cheating' or just making a decision that was honest, but incorrect? When "scandals" occur - e.g. NBA referee Donaghy; Lay and Skilling at Enron; Edwards, et al in government, it causes the public to suspect that all officials, government and corporate executives are "crooks," i.e. to swerve from a straight line. As was once said, "You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

To learn more about Jim Tunney, or if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit www.tunneysideofsports.com and click on Jim Tunney www.twitter.com/jimtunney.