NFL Un-Reffable?

ON THE TUNNEYSIDE OF SPORTS November 28, 2016 #621

ON THE TUNNEYSIDE OF SPORTS November 28, 2016 #621 Up next…                       NFL Un-Reffable?

After Further Review…This question appears all too often in sports articles: “Has the NFL Become Un-Reffable (sic)”? This writer would disagree – but I guess you knew that. My 31-year tenure as an on-field NFL official (25 years in the position of Referee) provides me with the background to make that evaluation. Mike Pereira, formerly vice president of NFL officiating and now an analyst at Fox broadcasting told the Wall Street Journal, “We are at a point with officiating that we have never been before. I get striving for perfection, but we are at a point that anything less than perfection is unacceptable.” Perfection is and always has been the goal of NFL officiating. However, as in all human endeavors, perfection is elusive.

As an example, and with no discrimination toward the individual in question, I present the case of a Monday Night football game I watched some time ago, the Denver Broncos playing at home. Quarterback John Elway, whom I knew when he was quarterbacking the Granada Hills Highlanders in Southern California (and now for whom their football stadium is named), had just thrown an interception. The broadcaster asked Joe Theismann, the analyst in the booth, how it had happened. Theismann, who spent 12 years as the quarterback of the Washington Redskins, said “Well, Elway misread the coverage.” What? Elway, a sure NFL Hall of Famer (inducted in 2004), misread the coverage? Yes, it does happen to those involved in making split-second decisions.

Having spent three seasons recently as an NFL officials’ mentor/trainer, I can assure you that the present group of 122 NFL officials are the best available! Being present at their pre-game meetings, I am fully aware of the time and effort they spend in preparation during the week and on the day prior to their weekly game. They leave no stone unturned to be the best T*E*A*M on the field every time. Yes, there are three teams on the field; yet the team of seven officials is the only one who never gets a home game. Quarterbacks will throw interceptions (mistakes); receivers will drop passes (mistakes); lineman will miss blocks (mistakes); and defenders will miss tackles (mistakes). These all take place in nano-seconds.

Officials make mistakes in that same time frame. Yet you and I can sit at home and, with the aid of the various replays, can get the call right every time. Until you put on that striped shirt and walk onto that field with the best athletes in the world who play to win the game, criticism must be held in abeyance. Respect is more the question.

Will you judge every play, every action by an on-field official or player with the presumption that they are performing with the intention to do their very best – every time?

To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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A Father’s Advice – Pass It On!

Happy Thanksgiving from Jim Tunney

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS November 21, 2016 # 620 Up Next…A Father’s Advice – Pass It On!

After further review…“Heads Up!” my dad used to call out, alerting me to such possible dangers as an errant pitch traveling toward my head when batting; or a car approaching as I was learning to drive. He must have blurted that phrase a thousand times. The message resonated with me to this day. Being an admirer of my father, I adopted the same warning as a parent and coach, and whenever I could alert someone of a possible risk.

Playing football, as well as all sports, the word concussion was never an issue (although I did split-open the skin on my forehead once when tackled). Football season brings a renewed emphasis on injuries, especially concussions. Football played by high school, college, and professional athletes is a physically violent game. Yet with all the apparent risks of physical damage, e.g., concussions, broken bones, nerve degeneration) most former players say they “would do it all — again.” However, some of those same players have grave concerns about their sons playing football at those levels. Parents should also be heads up for their sons and daughters who play soccer, a popular sport among young athletes. The caution here is the use of “header” shots to redirect balls traveling 30-40 mph.

“Count your blessings” was another of my father’s great reminders. There are times in our lives when we get down on ourselves. When we do, my father would come forth with this, reminding me as well as my sisters and brother that there are “too many good things happening” in each of our lives to let disappointment control our attitude. However, for me it was a fortunate childhood. Each morning during weekends and summer, I would rise early, go on a bike ride, and look for neighborhood friends to play ball. Growing up in Southern California, we only had three seasons: football, basketball, and baseball. There was always a game to be played. And while we always played to win (“You play to win the game” said Herm Edwards, friend, colleague, former NFL player and coach), it was playing that was our goal.

Will you pass along my father’s advice: keep your head up and count your blessings? And in that process – enjoy and be grateful for your Thanksgiving Day as I am for your readership.

To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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On Being Disillusioned!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS November 14, 2016 # 619 Up Next…On Being Disillusioned!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS November 14, 2016 # 619 Up Next…On Being Disillusioned!

After further review…As our country completes a way-too-expensive political campaign that reached absurd levels of character assassination, how do we recover from the divisiveness that took place? Is that what politics is all about? Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson once defined politics: “’Poly’ meaning many and ‘tics’ meaning ‘blood suckers.’” Did all that negativity serve any useful purpose? Will that kind of diatribe continue from either those who will lead our government or from those who are on the outside complaining about results?

How do we teach our young that what they witnessed was superficial political posturing that often obscured or ignored what should be the true nature of candidates? How do we create a positive climate that builds and strengthens the type of personality that promotes strong character? Can sports give us the answer?

Many in the sports world have proclaimed: “Sports build character.” Others have countered: “Sports may not build character, but it can certainly reveal it.” Sport coaches can have a direct influence on building an athlete’s character. Moreover, teachers in classrooms and parents at home have that same “coaching responsibility” as well. In my book, “It’s the Will, Not the Skill,” we write “Excellence is good, exemplary is better.” We teach character better by example than by preaching. The values of teamwork, diligence, attention-to-detail, faith, hope, self-sacrifice, trust, honesty and the like are best taught through modeling.

Reacting to a defeat (see recent election results) in a hurtful, negative way by a coach only tells his T*E*A*M that is the way to behave in their future. Losing? Sure, it hurts and that feeling of hurt or loss often makes it difficult to move on. But moving on is what life is all about. When coaches or people take the “why me” or “it’s not fair” position, they limit their strength to improve the lives on their team.

Jack Canfield, co-founder and author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” enterprise teaches the E+R=O philosophy (Event+Response=Outcome); i.e., the positive response you take will determine the outcome you will have. It’s your thoughts about the event, not the event itself, that determine the quality of your future. The best coaches and teachers employ that method through the idea of bouncing back. In any sports defeat, its loyalist and backers need to come together to remain strong.

Will you understand that defeat will come to us all, but it’s our personal strengths that determine the outcome?

To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Posted in Current Affairs, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Tagged , , | Leave a comment