SEEING IS BELIEVING
Television's all-seeing cameras have been playing havoc lately with the credibility of NFL officiating. When a referee, like Fred Silva, declares a Bert Jones fumble not a fumble, thereby, in all probability, beating New England, putting Baltimore into the playoffs and keeping Miami out, and then television's replays of the incident show the world that the referee was quite clearly in error, fans begin to think fix and to call for drastic but impractical measures.
We have a suggestion for the NFL, a simple procedure that would use the very TV cameras that exacerbate the controversies, to settle them. One special official, a sort of super referee, could be assigned to a spot from where he could see every play on TV monitors, from every angle that the cameras see it. The official's sole responsibility would be to reverse an obvious, clear-cut, no-question-about-it officiating error the minute it occurs. He would push a button or flip a switch, signaling a reversal, and that would be the end of it. There would be no appeal from this decision and no opportunity for personal intimidation by coaches or fans.
The exercise of the power of the super referee would be infrequent, because incidents such as a Bert Jones non-fumble occur only rarely. But we feel that when there has been an error and millions of fans are being shown visible proof of it over and over again, as viewers in Miami and Boston have in this case, the NFL would be serving the credibility of its product and its officiating by admitting the error and correcting it.
Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets is only 5'9" tall but has a large pugilistic reputation in pro basketball. "My first reaction was I'm going to make someone pay for this," he said about the anger he felt when teammate Rudy Tomjanovich was severely injured by Kermit Washington's punch. "Once my anger subsided," he continued, "I realized how asinine that would be after seeing what devastation can be done to a person. You've seen Calvin Murphy throw his last punch."
Not exactly a happy ending to a sad story, but it helps mitigate the gloom.
Hughes Norton, one of Mark McCormack's agents, phoned Nathaniel Crosby, recently named chairman of the Bing Crosby Memorial National Pro-Amateur Golf Championship, about a client who wanted to play in the tournament. "I'm sorry, but I can't talk to you now," said 16-year-old Nathaniel, "I'm on my way to school."
RETURN OF THE KID
Wearing saddle oxfords, as befitted the occasion, and looking as splendid as ever, if not as splinterish, Ted Williams recently paid a visit to Hoover High School in San Diego, from which he graduated into organized baseball in 1937. With him were Tom Seaver, in the role of interviewer, and a television crew for a syndicated series to be called Greatest Sports Legends. The series will not be aired until spring, but thanks to Charles Maher of the Los Angeles Times, who was there, we have some tidbits to tide us over.