The 2012-2013 NFL season will not go down as a memorable one for referees. From the replacement fiasco, to a myriad of missed calls, it seems everyone’s got a gripe about how they do their job. Now the latest saga is the controversy brewing over the selection of Jerome Boger as Super Bowl referee.
New Jersey blogger, Ben Austro, for the site FootballZebras was the first one to chime in on the potentially ‘unfair’ selection, going so far as to say that Boger was “cherry picked”. As evidence, Austro pointed to the 8 ‘dings’ or reversed calls Boger had this year, that had subsequently been changed once Boger appealed. Austro said the following to 11 Alive News:
“Generally you see one or two reversals in a year, but not eight, so somebody had changed all of these bad grades to neutral,”
Another point Austro brought up, was the fact that Boger had never officiated a Conference Championship game, something had once was a prerequisite before getting to officiate the Super Bowl. Many of Boger’s colleagues have anonymously come out to bash the League’s choice, one official flatout stated:
“[Boger] shouldn’t even be eligible for the game,”
“Everybody basically knows what’s happening. You see when grades appear, and when grades mysteriously disappear. Any incorrect call or missed call will disappear for no reason at all.”
But then there’s the implications that race was indeed a factor. With Boger being the only African American referee who’ll be working the game. Austro commented
“Some people have thought that there might be a diversity element to it; he would only be the second African-American referee to head the Super Bowl,”
There’s definitely something fishy about Boger’s selection, but is pointing to the race card the route to go? One could make the argument that this is the NFL’s answer to the flak they’ve taken over having no minority hirings during the off season.
The NFL has come out to refute any claims made about the NFL purposely changing grades to intentionally favor Boger.