I feel ya, Michael Corleone. I feel ya.
If you haven’t heard, there was a controversial call in the Florida-Mississippi State game last night.
An interception by Florida linebacker Dustin Doe was returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a close game. Shortly after/as he/before Doe crossed the goal line, the ball was knocked out of his hand. Initial replays were somewhat inconclusive, but then ESPN synched up replays from two different angles — damn you, WWL — and put them in a split screen, which threw into doubt the original call on the field and subsequent replay review that confirmed the initial ruling of a touchdown.
Personally, I was on the fence about whether it was right or wrong, whether it was right or wrong for the replay official to uphold it. However…
After a night of watching, re-watching, then watching and re-watching some more, MSU head coach Dan Mullen has come to his own set of conclusions. A very strong set of conclusions that will, in all likelihood, not sit well with the higher-ups in the ivory towers of the SEC.
According to Mullen — who earlier chastised the officials for calling numerous kickoff offsides — the replay official committed an egregious error in confirming the call on the field. So egregious, in fact, that the coach wants the replay official disciplined, if not lose his job as an SEC official entirely.
“To me, I’m going to find out who that video replay was. I’ve seen it over and over, views of the ball being out of his hand before he crossed the goal line,” Mullen said according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
“That’s twice that a SEC replay official – I don’t know why we even have replay right now in the Southeastern Conference if they are not going to utilize it. That’s twice that they’ve blown calls on the replay with our games resulting in big plays and I think that’s unexcusable for that official. I mean, I hope he is severely punished, if (he) ever works another SEC game again, because I think it is completely unacceptable.
“I can understand making a bad call in a live speed on a game like the offsides call. There’s no excuse for a guy that has the amount of time to replay the video to make sure they get the call right. That’s why we do instant replay. And I think it’s embarrassing that they blew that call. I’ve seen the still shots with the ball out of his hand. So I don’t think that’s acceptable on a guy that is not watching it in live speed, has the ability to watch all the different angles.”
“Mr. Mullen, there’s a Mr. Slive for you on Line 1…“
I don’t know what the SEC is going to do, but they need to attempt to do something.
Not about Mullen, necessarily, but about the perception of their officiating. Every call is being placed under a microscope more powerful than the Hubble telescope, and the conspiracy theorists are out in full throat. It’s no longer about the football on the field; rather, it’s about who’s gonna get hosed next in the booth or by the laundry in the official’s hip pockets.
What the SEC has is a raging PR nightmare, and its latest source of fuel is one of their own head coaches publicly calling for the head of one of their officials.
How do they go about extinguishing it? They can’t, not this season, and therein lies the issue.
Good luck, SEC. You’re gonna need it.