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Thread: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

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    Honorary Area 55'er TMJ31's Avatar
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    Question When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    I feel compelled to open this post with a disclaimer. I am not posting this in an attempt to start a flame war, incite an argument, or anything even remotely in that vein. Truly, I'm not. I am genuinely curious to hear peoples honest opinions on this topic. Not knee-jerk post game reactions.

    Ok, now that's out of the way. Here we go:

    LeBron James fouled Paul George at the conclusion of Wednesday night's Pacers loss. I know it, you know it, every single basketball analyst on social media knows it. All the folks who enjoy posting .gifs and sports meme's SURE know it. (See Below)



    So here is my question to everyone. Why isn't it ok to assign partial (or significant) blame to botched end-game calls when we are dissecting a loss? It very clearly is a foul. The foul would have resulted in 3 free throws which at that point could have led to the Pacers extending the game into overtime. The exact same situation we faced in Game 1 of the ECF's last season, by the way.

    Yet, when a poster on PD, or someone on Twitter or what have you expresses anger over a blown call/no call, they are almost instantly and overwhelmingly inundated by people chastising them with quotes like "We didn't deserve to win", "They NEVER call that", "We should have never allowed it to get to that point", etc. etc. Tonight, I even had the pleasure of some random jerk on twitter writing this gem directed at me. And I quote (somewhat censored): "quit b*tching f*g" - What a lovely specimen of humanity.

    The only thing I can think of that makes it "OK" to complain about calls in some cases, but not in others is the context. I'll explain.

    In last night's game we were rolling. We had the Heat right where we wanted them. Unfortunately, due to foul trouble (another topic...), lack of offensive and at times defensive execution, and an overall lack of poise down the stretch, the lead dwindled and we eventually relinquished it. (Not to mention LeBron is apparently allowed to step out of bounds directly in Joey Crawford's eyeline)

    So perhaps then it is only "OK" to complain about bad late game calls if the team played well ALL the way to the moment the bad call in question happens? Is that the only way we 'deserve' to be the recipient of a call that may change the outcome of the game? What my anecdotal evidence shows me is that many fans fall into the "We didn't deserve to win, therefore we shouldn't have gotten the call" category. This simply baffles me!

    Basketball games are 48 minutes long. Last night, the Pacers were the better team for MORE of those minutes than the Heat. About 30-18 or so, by my rough estimate, maybe even a touch more. So, because in the waning minutes of the game we were outplayed, that means that our early efforts to build a 15+ point lead are completely inconsequential? Yes, we did give up that lead, which meant that we found ourselves needing a 3 pointer with time expiring to go into overtime. But because the previous 5-6 minutes hadn't gone our way, we suddenly forfeit the right to fair calls?

    I realize that a few of you may see where I am going with this and post in agreement with my sentiments. But I am fully aware many more of you won't, based on previous PD and Twitter reactions to my opinions. (See this thread on a game last year...) I am not trying to sway opinions or preach that my view here is superior. As I said in my disclaimer, I honestly just want to know WHY people who feel the other way, have that opinion.

    Call me crazy, but I just feel like if in the final seconds of a game, if you have an opportunity to tie or win, REGARDLESS of the previous circumstances that got you to that point, you deserve the same calls.

    The Pacers were robbed of that opportunity Wednesday night. Yes, we gave up a lead. Yes, we played poorly down the stretch. Yes, it should not have gotten to the point where we needed to rely on a proper foul call. But alas, it did. And we didn't get the proper foul call.

    And for the life of me, I just cannot fathom why we aren't more upset about it.

    Have at it.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?


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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    People would be upset if the shoes were flipped, and we are called for a foul that gives the Heat a chance to send it to overtime... Just a matter of where you fall on the side of the call... Heat fans (both the true fans and the social fans) would be upset if the foul was called...

    But for the record, I prefer that the refs swallow thier whistles at the end of the game like in this instance... In this instance, we should have not even been in the position to tie the game if we make a few playes late in the fourth...

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by bballpacen View Post
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    People would be upset if the shoes were flipped, and we are called for a foul that gives the Heat a chance to send it to overtime... Just a matter of where you fall on the side of the call... Heat fans (both the true fans and the social fans) would be upset if the foul was called...

    But for the record, I prefer that the refs swallow thier whistles at the end of the game like in this instance... In this instance, we should have not even been in the position to tie the game if we make a few playes late in the fourth...
    Yes, if the roles were reversed and it was the Pacers on the negative end of an end-game foul call I would be bummed. But, if I was being honest with myself, I would at least be able to accept it *IF* it was the correct call.

    What I am getting at, and what just eludes me, is the bolded portion of your post. Because we failed to make a few plays in the last 3 minutes, we somehow are disqualified from receiving a legitimate foul call that gives us an opportunity to atone for our late game blunder?!

    Maybe I am just looking at this whole thing too logically and analytically. But, to my knowledge there is no written or un-written rule in the NBA that a teams (good OR bad) play during the first 47 minutes of the game somehow makes them more or less deserving of an officials whistle on their behalf in the last 1 minute.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    I'd like to see a different angle of that play. I mean from the side I can NOT tell if he actually moved Paul or just put his hands there. I mean Paul badly missed the shot so I do wonder if he wasn't pushed but honestly from that angle I can't tell.

    Look over the course of a game fouls are missed on both sides and I'm not defending the refs at all and believe me nobody hates Joey Crawford more than me. But a missed foul with time running out is no more of a missed foul than at the 6 min. mark of the 2nd quarter if we are to use your logic, which btw is vulcan like because yes it is logical.

    So with that in mind I will remind you of the David West shove off to Shane Battier where there can be no doubt that West took one forearm square into the back of Battier and moved him a good 2-3' and got himself a wide open putback layup because of it. No foul was called and even West smiled after it occurred, it was really blatant because Battier had him clearly and cleanly blocked out. Also while we are at it let's not pretend for a min. that Paul George didn't flop on that call on Wade. I mean I'm not complaining about it mind you because it is Wade but let's not pretend like it wasn't either. I believe they were in the penalty so George shot free throws. Right there are 4 points that were either no calls or bad calls against the Heat.

    So explain why Paul George's foul merits more attention than the others just because it was at the end of the game?


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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    So explain why Paul George's foul merits more attention than the others just because it was at the end of the game?

    All valid points. Yes, there were missed calls that benefited the Pacers earlier in the game, just as there were missed calls that benefited the Heat earlier in the game. Roy's big toe fouling Chalmers? LeBron stepping out of bounds in front of an official? Roy getting an offensive foul drawn by a Bosh flop? We could go back and forth with examples all day. I don't contest that.

    What I am saying is that in the final moments of a game, there are double standards applied to what a ref will or won't call in many instances. Not every game, but once in a while like tonight, they affect the outcome of the game.

    With the ticky tack calls that were going against both teams at times throughout the game, I am pretty certain that a forearm grasped onto the waist of a jumpshooter would have been whistled at ANY other time.

    Why isn't it ok for a fan to complain about it, just because it happened with 2 seconds left after a disappointing final 3-4 minutes of play?

    That's the crux of the issue here.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    I'd like to see a different angle of that play. I mean from the side I can NOT tell if he actually moved Paul or just put his hands there. I mean Paul badly missed the shot so I do wonder if he wasn't pushed but honestly from that angle I can't tell.
    I assume the rule is that you can't touch the shooter ( in any way ) when the Player is in the air ( in this case, the opposing Player's Midsection )....if the Player is touched ( regardless of the contact and whether it altered the shot or not ), does that automatically count as a foul?
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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC View Post
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    I assume the rule is that you can't touch the shooter ( in any way ) when the Player is in the air ( in this case, the opposing Player's Midsection )....if the Player is touched ( regardless of the contact and whether it altered the shot or not ), does that automatically count as a foul?
    I think you are correct.

    The shooters hand counts as part of the ball, supposedly (although attempting to strip the ball and hitting a hand will almost always get a whistle anyways).

    But apart from the shooters hand, if a defender comes into contact with an airborne shooter, that's a foul.

    The Knicks were really upset about that play where Shumpert BARELY made contact with PG's elbow on a shot. It was very minimal contact, but it WAS contact on an airborne player and the whistle was blown.

    How many times do we see a three point shooter go to the line because the defender runs out at him, just barely touches him with the body, and gets called for a foul.

    By any sane definition, that had to have been a foul on LeBron last night.

    Otherwise you would see NBA players just putting their hands on opposing jumpshooters torso's in the act of shooting without *really* pushing them, hoping to throw off their rhythm.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?
    It is always OK, but keep in mind that it won't make one bit of difference,
    so don't get too wound up over it.
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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    If anything, I think you would have more grounds to be upset about the lack of 5 second call against Singler in the Detroit game on Monday. It was damn near 6 seconds before he let lose of the ball. Denari was even uncharacteristically critical of the official on that one.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by bballpacen View Post
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    In this instance, we should have not even been in the position to tie the game if we make a few playes late in the fourth...
    This is when it is NOT OK as far as I am concerned - when your team dug itself into a position where that last call makes a difference, shut yo' mouf.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    I'd like to see a different angle of that play. I mean from the side I can NOT tell if he actually moved Paul or just put his hands there. I mean Paul badly missed the shot so I do wonder if he wasn't pushed but honestly from that angle I can't tell.
    FSI showed it a bunch of times and Quinn remained convinced it was actually a foul rather than explaining it away as a good no-call. That's ample evidence to me

    Of course, he also said no ref in the Association would ever make that call, which I think is absolutely right.
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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    This is when it is NOT OK as far as I am concerned - when your team dug itself into a position where that last call makes a difference, shut yo' mouf.



    FSI showed it a bunch of times and Quinn remained convinced it was actually a foul rather than explaining it away as a good no-call. That's ample evidence to me

    Of course, he also said no ref in the Association would ever make that call, which I think is absolutely right.
    BUt if the roles were reversed, then they would absolutely call PG for a foul if he had 2 hands on Lebron James.
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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    This is when it is NOT OK as far as I am concerned - when your team dug itself into a position where that last call makes a difference, shut yo' mouf.

    Of course, he also said no ref in the Association would ever make that call, which I think is absolutely right.
    Which is absolutely wrong of the refs. A foul is a foul no matter when it happens. If anything it is more important to get the calls right at the end of the game than at any other point of the game. If players know they can get away with fouling at the end of the game just cause it is the end of the game it will ultimately lead to players intentionally foul at the end of the game to give themselves an advantage. I have always, and will always, be opposed to the idea that refs should swallow their whistles late in games. That is the point in the game that you want the players and team who can win without breaking the rules to be able to. If you have to break the rules to prevent the other team from winning you don't deserve that win, no matter what happened up until that point.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    I'd like to see a different angle of that play. I mean from the side I can NOT tell if he actually moved Paul or just put his hands there. I mean Paul badly missed the shot so I do wonder if he wasn't pushed but honestly from that angle I can't tell.
    How is it not a foul, even if he's not pushing? (I don't expect that call btw) I was thinking about it last night, when was the last time you saw a defender put his hands on a jumpshooter, and not get the foul call, excluding last night? It rarely ever happens, because the defenders hands aren't even supposed to touch them, regardless if they were pushing or not.
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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    It wasn't called. He missed the shot. And if you think we are going to get the benefit of calls over Lebron you need to wake up. It may not be right. But it is what it is. He has a bigger platform to spread anti-Roy propaganda. The NBA gave it to him and he has used it to the best he knows how.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by TMJ31 View Post
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    I feel compelled to open this post with a disclaimer. I am not posting this in an attempt to start a flame war, incite an argument, or anything even remotely in that vein. Truly, I'm not. I am genuinely curious to hear peoples honest opinions on this topic. Not knee-jerk post game reactions.

    Ok, now that's out of the way. Here we go:

    LeBron James fouled Paul George at the conclusion of Wednesday night's Pacers loss. I know it, you know it, every single basketball analyst on social media knows it. All the folks who enjoy posting .gifs and sports meme's SURE know it. (See Below)



    So here is my question to everyone. Why isn't it ok to assign partial (or significant) blame to botched end-game calls when we are dissecting a loss? It very clearly is a foul. The foul would have resulted in 3 free throws which at that point could have led to the Pacers extending the game into overtime. The exact same situation we faced in Game 1 of the ECF's last season, by the way.

    Yet, when a poster on PD, or someone on Twitter or what have you expresses anger over a blown call/no call, they are almost instantly and overwhelmingly inundated by people chastising them with quotes like "We didn't deserve to win", "They NEVER call that", "We should have never allowed it to get to that point", etc. etc. Tonight, I even had the pleasure of some random jerk on twitter writing this gem directed at me. And I quote (somewhat censored): "quit b*tching f*g" - What a lovely specimen of humanity.

    The only thing I can think of that makes it "OK" to complain about calls in some cases, but not in others is the context. I'll explain.

    In last night's game we were rolling. We had the Heat right where we wanted them. Unfortunately, due to foul trouble (another topic...), lack of offensive and at times defensive execution, and an overall lack of poise down the stretch, the lead dwindled and we eventually relinquished it. (Not to mention LeBron is apparently allowed to step out of bounds directly in Joey Crawford's eyeline)

    So perhaps then it is only "OK" to complain about bad late game calls if the team played well ALL the way to the moment the bad call in question happens? Is that the only way we 'deserve' to be the recipient of a call that may change the outcome of the game? What my anecdotal evidence shows me is that many fans fall into the "We didn't deserve to win, therefore we shouldn't have gotten the call" category. This simply baffles me!

    Basketball games are 48 minutes long. Last night, the Pacers were the better team for MORE of those minutes than the Heat. About 30-18 or so, by my rough estimate, maybe even a touch more. So, because in the waning minutes of the game we were outplayed, that means that our early efforts to build a 15+ point lead are completely inconsequential? Yes, we did give up that lead, which meant that we found ourselves needing a 3 pointer with time expiring to go into overtime. But because the previous 5-6 minutes hadn't gone our way, we suddenly forfeit the right to fair calls?

    I realize that a few of you may see where I am going with this and post in agreement with my sentiments. But I am fully aware many more of you won't, based on previous PD and Twitter reactions to my opinions. (See this thread on a game last year...) I am not trying to sway opinions or preach that my view here is superior. As I said in my disclaimer, I honestly just want to know WHY people who feel the other way, have that opinion.

    Call me crazy, but I just feel like if in the final seconds of a game, if you have an opportunity to tie or win, REGARDLESS of the previous circumstances that got you to that point, you deserve the same calls.

    The Pacers were robbed of that opportunity Wednesday night. Yes, we gave up a lead. Yes, we played poorly down the stretch. Yes, it should not have gotten to the point where we needed to rely on a proper foul call. But alas, it did. And we didn't get the proper foul call.

    And for the life of me, I just cannot fathom why we aren't more upset about it.

    Have at it.
    First of all a small tangent: The play where Joey ignored or didn't see LeBron step out despite seeming to be looking at him pissed me off only when later Joey made a big point to look for I think CJ Watson doing it at halfcourt after ignoring the fact that Watson was pushed first. Which brings me to a bigger concept that still angers me with officiating: When they don't call it both ways. I felt like Miami could flop and get a foul, then if we got hit hard but didn't flop it would get ignored. I suppose logically this means the Pacers should flop more (they do some, but not as much as they could), but it just makes me unhappy to think that's the 'solution' to that problem.

    Anyway, getting to the main topic at hand, just my take:

    I think it's always okay to be critical of officiating, so long as the following criteria is met:

    1) There is actually room to complain about a given call, rather than you don't like that a Pacer didn't get away with something (if the violation is called on them) or you wish it were a violation on the other team but in actuality it wasn't.
    2) You acknowledge that this is but one of several factors that result in a game's outcome, and that it's very likely the team could have won despite the officiating.
    3) Acknowledgement that officiating basketball is hard to do, and mistakes just come with the territory.

    In my opinion, officiating is completely fair game under those circumstances.

    Keep in mind, this is only speaking to how FANS feel, NOT players or coaches who actually directly affect the games. THEY ought to just suck it up and play on because they can't make it better by complaining about calls (well... mostly; sometimes I think refs do get affected by complaining, good or bad), and I think they're better off just keeping their focus on what they have to do now/next rather than occupying any time thinking about ******** calls/no-calls. But for fans, that's not the same circumstance, and I think for them it's understandable to complain because no matter how little or how much they criticize the officiating, it won't change the game one bit, so who cares if they choose to complain?

    Now, is there an argument to be made that it does no good? Sure, but you can say that about just about any aspect of being a fan. Watching or not watching the game doesn't change anything, either, so why bother watching, right? Of course not. So I think it's fair.

    Personally, my big problems with officiating are in no particular order:

    1) Inconsistency
    2) Favorable treatment depending on which player it is
    3) Rewarding flopping
    4) The later in the game it is, the more it pisses me off because the players have LESS TIME TO ADJUST OR DEAL WITH IT. Case in point, LeBron tickles Paul George on his final shot or tries to go all Titanic on him (Jack and Rose), yet nothing is called, and now the game is over whereas Paul George legitimately should have been attempting 3 FTAs to try to tie the game. Now, if Paul misses any of the FTs, that's on him, but he deserved to be attempting them in the first place due to LeBron's infraction.

    So with 4 what I'm saying is it doesn't bother me so much in the first half because no matter how terrible the call is, there is plenty of time for the guys to play on and deal with it. But late game bad calls or no calls? Drive me nuts because then the players have precious little time to recover.

    5) Refs with an attitude. See Crawford, Joey. He's full of himself, and while that can sometimes be entertaining, it can also be downright insufferable, too, and I feel the same way with refs as I do with judges and attorneys: If it's supposed to be about facts and interpretation of facts... check your ego, check your temper, and just shut up and do your job without making it a spectacle.

    That all having been said, I don't generally believe in the notion of teams 'deserving' to win, lose, get a call, not get a call. I'm sure I've said things like that before, and for all I know I may again, but when I consider it outside the heat of the moment, I feel like the games are what they are. Both teams always play flawed games, it's just a matter of how flawed, and the same goes for the refs, so it's always going to be that way. There are no perfect games in basketball, ever. If you won, you won, if you didn't, you didn't. BUT... that doesn't mean bad calls or no-calls don't happen, and that brings me back to thesis: Yes, I believe it's fair to criticize bad calls or no-calls, for the above reasons.

    As for why I'm not upset about it... I probably could be. God knows I've been livid in previous games because of things like this. I think for me, I've reached a new level of acceptance in regards to it. I still hate it, but I also hate the fact that everybody dies, too, but at some point you just have to accept it and keep living because you can't do a damn thing to change it.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by graphic-er View Post
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    BUt if the roles were reversed, then they would absolutely call PG for a foul if he had 2 hands on Lebron James.
    Sadly, I think this is correct, and it angers me.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Major Cold View Post
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    It wasn't called. He missed the shot. And if you think we are going to get the benefit of calls over Lebron you need to wake up.
    Has anyone else heard this type of reasoning for other sports? I don't think I've ever heard anybody dismiss what should have been a defensive penatly get excused because the player in question is a NFL superstar. Or how about a called third strike not going against a batting champ?

    I think that type of excuse would get laughed at in leagues not named the NBA, and sadly, it's stated as common fact in the league named the NBA.
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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    Has anyone else heard this type of reasoning for other sports? I don't think I've ever heard anybody dismiss what should have been a defensive penatly get excused because the player in question is a NFL superstar. Or how about a called third strike not going against a batting champ?
    yes I have in both the NFL and MLB

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    yes I have in both the NFL and MLB
    Yep it happens a lot to guys like Manning and Tom Brady, I mean they also changed the rules to "protect" them.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by vnzla81 View Post
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    Yep it happens a lot to guys like Manning and Tom Brady, I mean they also changed the rules to "protect" them.
    There have been two rule changes because of those two, the Tuck rule and illegal contact. Neither have anything to do with protecting a superstar, but rather clearing up ambiguous rules.
    Just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right. ― Ricky Gervais.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    yes I have in both the NFL and MLB
    What were the scenarios?
    Just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right. ― Ricky Gervais.

    What if someone from a school of business or management school were to ask, How did you do this? How did you get the Pacers turned around? Is there a general approach you've taken that can be summarized?

    Larry Bird: Yeah, patience.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    What were the scenarios?
    Off the top of my head. I have heard Mike and Mike morning on ESPB radio. discuss both specific scenerios you mentioned.

    I don't watch baseball at all, and only very little football. So I can't say I have any first hand knowledge, but I have heard it discussed.

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Mike and Mike.
    Explains a lot.
    Just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right. ― Ricky Gervais.

    What if someone from a school of business or management school were to ask, How did you do this? How did you get the Pacers turned around? Is there a general approach you've taken that can be summarized?

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    Default Re: When is it OK for fans to be critical of end-game officiating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    Or how about a called third strike not going against a batting champ?
    I would find it very hard to believe you haven't heard umpires excoriated for expanding strike zones for certain pitchers and narrowing them for certain hitters. That's one of the primary umpiring gripes. You also get complaints about how tags are called against runners with reputations for stealing bases and how pickoff moves are treated depending on how well-known the pitcher is.

    Are there as many? No, but it isn't because MLB is somehow more rational, it is because the area of subjectivity is smaller and the time given to make the decision is longer. There's a reason the NBA is considered one of the hardest (if not the hardest) sports to officiate.
    BillS

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