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The NFL's replacement refs aren't the only ones off-kilter

On Sports
Rochester Business Journal
September 28, 2012

With all the stuff going on-and not going on-in sports, I was surprised that what happened yesterday didn't happen sooner. There I was, chilling out and checking out the New York Yankees game, when the phone rang.
For some reason, the ring was louder than usual; I should've known why. Yep, it was Billy Bob, my cousin down in Louisiana, the Mouth of the South. So I muted the TV, pushed the answer button, and before I even said hello, he started.
"Well," he said, his volume up as well, "you're still alive! Hadn't heard from you in so long I almost sent flowers! Just kiddin'! Anyway, how you doin'?"
"Hanging in there," I said. "How 'bout you?"
"Glad you asked," he said. "I've been having trouble sleeping this week because the sports world is upside down as we speak-at least most of it."
"Not quite sure what you mean, cuz," I said, trying to mentally prepare for his upcoming rants.
"You gotta be kiddin'," he said, his volume going up. "You been living in a cave or hanging out on Mars? All you gotta do is turn on the TV, read the newspaper or go online, and it's all there."
"All?" I said, throwing another log on his fire.
"OK, here goes, and you might wanna take notes, snow top," he said disgustedly. "How 'bout our beloved New Orleans Saints? They're 0-3! Ain't won a game yet! Did that bounty mess mean that much? Then there's your Buffalo Bills, 2-1 and tied for the AFC East lead, and New England is 1-2, despite Tom Brady's great passing numbers. Then there's ..."
"Whoa, hold it right there!" I said. "First of all, it's pretty obvious the Saints defense couldn't stop another team's water boy if he was wearing a helmet and holding a football. I just did the math, and the Saints are giving up 34 points a game. And they're scoring just under 28 a game. And 3-0 Atlanta is scoring a field goal more points per game than the Saints but allowing only 16. 'Nuff said, BB. Got it?
"OK, on to the Bills," I continued before he could say anything. "Everybody's saying they should come out Sunday with their hands up and surrender to the Patriots. Never mind that the Bills are confident and on their home field. Supposedly they're not 2-1 because they're pretty good, only because they're lucky. But we'll see, won't we?"
"Time out!" Billy Bob yelled. "No, we won't see-can't watch the Bills down here in Cajun country, even though Buffalo's Terrence McGee played at Northwestern State. Anyway, so much for football. Why are your Boston Red Sox stinking up the AL East for the first time in years? Is the answer manager Bobby Valentine, who supposedly is about as popular as athlete's foot?"
"Yeah, bummer, BB. I guess most people are blaming Valentine for the team being about 20 games under .500, but if a major-league ballplayer is performing lousy because he doesn't like his manager, then he should forget the millions he's making every season and pursue another career. Has any player ever said, 'I'm gonna bat .211 and be sure I strike out with the bases loaded.' Of course not."
"What are you smokin', old man? Look, a player, no matter what sport, has gotta be comfortable and feel good. And if a baseball manager is a jerk or whatever, then the players and the team have a serious problem. Make that several serious problems."
"Sorry, my crawfish-eating Cajun cousin, but you just got picked off first base. Valentine or no Valentine, the Red Sox have had to deal not only with injuries and poor pitching but also with the red-hot Yankees. My guess is they'll can Bobby V when the season is over, but as far as I know, he hasn't played poorly this season. Well, Billy Bob, what else is on your pea brain?"
"Well, the two lockouts, strikes, whatever you wanna call 'em, that make no sense-no NHL season yet and the pitiful replacement referees in the NFL. Don't know about you pucks up there in New York, but we can live without hockey down here, where Ol' Man Winter doesn't spend much time. And did you see that Hail Mary pass the Seattle Seahawks made to beat Green Bay 14-12 Monday night?
"The NFL even agreed that the call should've been reversed because the receiver, Golden Tate, should've been called for offensive pass interference. Not only that, cuz, but from what I saw, the Packers' defensive back had control of the ball till they all hit the ground and Tate wrestled it away from him. Pretty bad, and maybe the real refs will get back on the field soon."
"Well, don't faint, Billy Bob, but for once and-who knows?-maybe even the last time, I agree with you!" I said. "So ..."
And before I could finish, Billy Bob yelled, "It's about time! See ya!" and then hung up.
Rick Woodson's column appears each Thursday on the Rochester Business Journal website at His book, "Words of Woodson," is available at Listen to his weekly program, "The Golf Tee," at 9 a.m. Sunday on WHTK-AM 1280 and FM 107.9/28/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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