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Waxing Philosophical about the NFL Debacle

East Coasters can have a hard time justifying staying up super late to see the end of Monday Night Football.…

post by Pat Gerber

East Coasters can have a hard time justifying staying up super late to see the end of Monday Night Football. So some of you missed this one. But last night, the replacements Referees created an incredible memory for all of us, a day that for sports fans will live in infamy. Here’s the deal for those of you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed folk who slept through it:

After a brutal showdown that left the Green Bay Packers head 12-7 with 57 seconds left, the Seattle Seahawks got the ball about mid field with no timeouts left. That means 4 quick shots at scoring a TD to win. They botch the first three, and so it’s fourth down, 8 seconds on the clock, and in a classic desperation Hail Mary heave, Seattle lofts the ball toward the end zone with no time on the clock. If Seattle catches it, they win. If it falls to the ground of Green Bay intercepts, it’s over, Packers win.

By the time the ball comes down most players from both teams are standing in a huddle in the end zone looking up and waiting for it, like an eager nest of baby birds waiting for a worm. Tate from Seattle pushes Packers out of his way and tries to go up for it, only to have the ball snatched from his hands by Jennings from Green Bay … sort of. They fall to the ground, both of them wriggling for the egg like toddlers fighting over a teddy.

The refs were apparently at Denny’s grabbing a sandwich or something, because about 14 minutes later they come trotting in to see what all the commotion is about. Finally, we think to ourselves, a definitive word from an authority figure to settle the confusion of this melee once and for all! They stare down at the pile, surveying the sprawled bodies still pulling and yanking on the pigskin. Then it happened. One ref sort of half-heartedly raises his hands into the touchdown signal, arms up overhead – and simultaneously the other waves his hands signaling, no, it was an interception touchback. Yep, that’s right – one said, Seattle had it (and he did, kind of) and the other one said Green Bay had it (and he did, even more so, sort of, I guess, kinda).

It’s a touchception! An intertouchdown!

Here is what it looked like.

At any rate, it was finally ruled a touchdown and Seattle win. Trust me when I say I’m no Packers Fan. As a lifelong die hard bleed-purple Minnesota Vikings fan, I can barely eat a cheese sandwich without getting nauseous. But um, even I, for a brief milli-second, felt a little bad for the way the Lambeau fans got gipped out of a game by the 13th man.

But now I’m over it.

But I will say it’s kind of too bad. It’s one thing to lose to a good team. It’s another to lose to bad refs. So folks everywhere will show the replay and complain and cry about it all week, ad nauseum. “Why can’t we have good reffing!” “We deserve better than this!” “We are above this!” “The outcome of the game should not be decided by one fluky decision like that.” “This debacle is an embarrassment to the game.”

Okay, I guess I see all that and kind of agree that at some point we’ve taken a big step back in NFL reffing of late. Pay the good guys I guess.

But there’s this other thought I can’t get OUT OF MY MIND. And that is how life is lot like football. There are bad calls. Things don’t go your way. You do your best, work hard, follow the rules and sometimes you still get the shaft. And sometimes a person who could have made it right comes in and messes it up. They make it worse.

Life isn’t fair.

I’ll bet your life isn’t fair either. Somewhere along the line we swallowed the lie that it was supposed to be, that we deserved a gilded walkway to paradise without any bad calls going against us. But it doesn’t work that way in real life, does it? This life is one long awkward end-zone moment, where the good doesn’t always prevail, and justice doesn’t happen. This week a friend had a precious baby die. Another received a bad diagnosis. Another told me her husband just won’t listen to reason and wants out of a marriage. Bad things happen to good people.

So what are you going to do about it? Yell at the refs all day? Keep staring at the replay, screaming, “But it isn’t fair!”

I’m trying to think about the things in my life that I don’t like – the things that I whine about, and the things that are legitimate hurts or places where it just doesn’t seem fair. And instead of whining today and trying to find who might agree with me, just for today, I’m going to thank God that he’s up in the observation booth, sees all, knows all, and is with me when life is hard. And I invite you to live with me in the incredible promise of Romans 8:18:

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

In other words, no matter how bad the call is today, in the big scheme of things, God’s on it, and he knows and cares and is busy fixing the League we live in — and all the stuff we don’t like is all small potatoes compared to the good life Jesus has made possible beginning right now. So choose to live the blessed life (Matthew 5:1-12), no matter how hosed you feel by the way life is going for you.

And Packer nation – it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of folk.

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