After several weeks of incompetent officiating came to a head last night with one of the most controversial calls in NFL history, an NFL replacement referee sat down for an exclusive interview with me to set things straight. He asked to remain anonymous so he could speak from the heart. Here’s what he said.
Mandatory: Thank you for being here today. I know you’re under a lot of criticism right now, so I appreciate you doing this interview.
Ref: No problem at all. I just want to set the record straight and let the world know that I am qualified to referee a fruitball match.
Mandatory: I’m sorry. Did you say fruitball?
Ref: Yes, fruitball. The National Fruitball Lovers.
Mandatory: That’s so far from being correct. This is not helping your image.
Ref: Whatever it’s called, I’m sure I’m more than equipped to call frowns and penalties in a game.
Mandatory: That’s not really the terminology but I guess it’s close enough. I’m also going to ignore the fact that you referred to fouls as frowns.
Ref: Are you frowning me? I didn’t come here to be frowned.
Mandatory: Let’s just get into this. What is your thought process when making a penalty call?
Ref: Well, there are a few things. First I check the player’s jersey number.
Mandatory: You mean so you can call out the correct player?
Ref: No. If a player’s jersey number is 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 or 42, I won’t call a penalty on them.
Mandatory: Wait, aren’t those the numbers Hurley used to win the lottery on “Lost”?
Ref: You don’t mess with the numbers. I think Desmond proved that when the hatch collapsed!
Mandatory: So your calls are based on episodes of “Lost,” is what you’re basically saying.
Ref: That’s just one reason. I always call a penalty on white guys because they’ve got it easy enough, right?
Mandatory: Wow! I don’t think you can say that.
Ref: If there were Asians, I’d let them have a free touchdown every time they walked on the field. I’m a huge fan of Asians. Are there Asians?
Mandatory: I find this very troubling and, honestly, offensive. Let’s talk about something else. What was your experience before becoming an NFL replacement referee?
Ref: Well, I was at the top of my game. Everyone always went to me first, and one time Randy Jackson told me I had some potential.
Mandatory: Wait, what? Why would Randy Jackson comment on your refereeing skills?
Ref: No, fella. That was from my season 4 audition on “American Idol.” I sang “Proud Mary.”
Mandatory: So you were a singer before becoming an NFL Official?
Ref: No, I’m a singer and this is just my journey. The other day, I was sorting out a fumble and I got to sing directly into Tom Brady’s ear! Taylor Hicks never got to do that. It was a moment I’ll never forget.
Mandatory: This is just weird. Let’s talk about the infamous Green Bay vs. Seattle game. It was clearly an interception at the end of the game, but you guys called it a touchdown. What happened?
Ref: Is this all people care about? I have a song I wrote that Jordin Sparks called “pretty good,” but no one wants to hear about that. It’s all about stupid catches and flags and touchdowns.
Mandatory: But what happened on that play?
Ref: Honestly, I wasn’t really paying attention. I mean, “Smash” hasn’t been picked up for a second season, so that’s weighing heavy on my heart. I bought a case of Diet Rite and forgot to put it in my cooler, so I’ve got that to think about. Ultimately, I don’t care.
Mandatory: That is a very bold statement. Are you sure you want to stand by that?
Ref: Let’s put it this way: Yes.
Mandatory: OK, this is crazy. I’m finished. Do you have anything else to say?
Ref: To all the fans out there who feel like we made bad calls, just remember that “Speed 2: Cruise Control” did terribly at the box office, so people aren’t always right.
Mandatory: That could be the worst argument in the history of arguments.
Ref: When do the Oilers play?
Mandatory: You are terrible.