Christine M. Flowers: Just like NFL refs, history might have been replaced

Galileo
Galileo
Posted: September 28, 2012

SO THE REAL refs are back, thank God and Lombardi. The replacement guys who seemed to have been recruited from an erectile-dysfunction commercial, where scoring is a matter of "perception," were awful. I felt sorry for these Keystone Cops in pinstripes, trying to keep up with the rapid fire of an NFL game. The best example of this came on Monday night, when Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings intercepted a Hail Mary pass in the end zone, but the "refs" ruled that the Seahawks' Golden Tate had "simultaneous possession." This ended up giving the game to Seattle.

To my mind, the only thing "possessed" in that scenario was the ref who made the call. So it's a very good thing that the owners and the - let's be honest here - greedy professionals came to terms.

But the crazy three weeks in that parallel universe made me ruminate on what would have happened if some great and/or notorious events in history had taken place in Replacement Ref World, where up was down, down was up and Plaxico Burress had the sharpshooting accuracy of an Army Ranger.

What if, for example, Replacement Refs were present at the Battle of Thermopylae. Imagine that they were positioned at the pass, shielded from combat but eagle-eyed and ready to report back to Athens with the results of the great skirmish. The battle takes place. The mighty Spartans fall, to a man. But their valiant sacrifice delays the Persians, which will ultimately allow Greece to defeat this threat to civilization. The Refs hurry back to tell the tale of bravery. Only they counted wrong. By their account, there were 247 Spartans lying dead on the battlefield. And posterity gets stuck with an odd number.

Par for the course, in Replacement Ref World.

And what if, instead of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we had Replacement Refs writing the Gospels. Lets imagine one of them at the death of Lazarus who, lying prostrate on the ground, looks just like Michael Vick after his offensive line becomes really offensive and opens our QB up to a sack. In the original version of the story, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead to the amazement of all observers, including those with bad health-insurance plans. In RRW, they go to the instant replay and realize that Lazarus wasn't actually dead to begin with, just engaging in a delay of game, and they penalize him. And not even Jesus gets to overturn that ruling on the field.

Moving on through the centuries, we get to Galileo. It's commonly thought that the great scientist recanted his statement that the earth moved around the sun under pressure from the Catholic Church. Thus, he was forced to admit that the sun danced around our wee planet instead. But in the parallel universe of the NFL (No Freaking Logic), the Replacement Refs rule that the sun and the earth have "simultaneous possession" of the galaxy, which means that neither revolves around the other. But Seattle still wins, anyway.

And then we catapult forward to the 1700s, when our valiant little country embarked on the great experiment of freedom to protest taxation without representation. As any schoolchild knows, Paul Revere alerted the Colonists to the encroachment of the Redcoats, flying through the town on his horse yelling "The British are coming! The British are coming!" But in RRW, the brave Bostonian was actually yelling quite a different audible, namely, "Don't worry, be happy!" and the citizens of that parallel universe now speak perfect King's English in clear, clipped tones. And 53 percent of them pay taxes.

Onward again, to the 20th century, when Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon, followed shortly thereafter by Buzz Aldrin. A small step for man, a giant leap for mankind. But only in real time. In RRW, there were too many men on the field, so the play and the moment were nullified.

Later on in that same century, the Supreme Court looks into the shadows and penumbras of the Constitution after calculating just how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and finally comes to the logical conclusion that humans aren't human until their mothers say they are.

And then, in the 21st century, we have a president who thinks that the assassination of an ambassador is a "bump in the road," that he can't be blamed for anything because the guy who held the job before him made all of the mistakes and that he's just a clean-up crew, and that David Letterman is a foreign head of state.

Come to think of it, those last two examples actually happened. I guess Replacement Ref World has some competition in the crazy department.


Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer. Email: cflowers1961@gmail.com. Blog: philly.com/flowers

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