To Be a Referee, Or Not To Be

As might be expected, I spent part of my weekend watching Super Bowl XL. The game seems to have left many people with an array of thoughts and feelings. Some came away disappointed with the game, the commercials, and the half-time show. Others felt that, while not the best Super Bowl game, it wasn't all that bad, and that while the Rolling Stones' performance was not awe-inspiring, at least it was better than last year's downright boring performance by Paul McCartney.

I admit that my feelings are somewhat mixed. The game was okay, though I felt some of the calls were bogus. Though the commercials weren't that great, there were certainly a few of them that were hilarious. And the half-time show was definitely better than last year's. Interestingly enough, one of the most perplexing topics of conversation that came up with my friend with whom I watched the game was Steeler's Safety Troy Polamalu's hair. How does he manage to have hair that long, and let it hang out of his helmet, and still kick some serious ass on the football field? It's astounding.

Despite all this stuff to think about, I found my mind preoccupied by something else. My imagination was sparked at the beginning of the game, when they introduced head referee Bill Leavy for the game. I couldn't stop thinking about the damn referee. I don't mean I was thinking about this particular guy; I don't honestly find him all that interesting. What got me was the idea of being a career football referee.

Could you imagine what it must be like? Though this is probably a gross understatement/libel idea of what it takes to be a football referee, this is how I picture it:

You go to referee school, and get started at the YAFL level. You work your way up to high school, and then, if you're a really brilliant and promising candidate, you might be able to move up the ranks and ref college level.

From there, you spend ten years devoting all your energy to being a fair and well-liked referee. If you haven't been beat up, incapacitated, or hospitalized, you might stand a chance of going pro. And from there, you have to aggressively make all sorts of calls so that not only does your pay increase due to the amount of effort you put forth, but also to get noticed more. If you reach this level, you might be able to audition to referee for the Super Bowl.

Once you establish yourself as a Super Bowl referee, your career is in the bag. You're standing there making calls against the best players in the league, who are getting payed millions of dollars each, and you're the one in control. If I ever reached that point, I would hope to be making at least $75,000-100,000 for that game. It's reasonable, considering the expertise I would bring to the game, not to mention the amount of pressure and the fact that probably, within the year, someone will try to assassinate me for some overly technical call I made.

The thought of this is overwhelmingly enticing. Who wouldn't want to have this sort of glory? For those of us who don't shine on the playing field, this would be our one chance for stardom. Think about it: Super Bowl Referee. Imagine the respect that title will garner. It's staggering.

So if you're considering a career change, this might be just what you're looking for.