Monday, September 18, 2006

We Take Our Football Pretty Seriously in Oklahoma

The rest of the nation may not know much about the state of Oklahoma but they do know that we like our football. During the 2003 football season when Mike Lupica made disparaging remarks about Bob Stoops after the Sooners thumped Texas A&M 77-0, Oklahoma fans filled his inbox with e-mails regarding their opinions on Lupica’s fictional writing.

All-Americans, Conference Championships, Heisman Trophies and National Championships have spoiled Oklahoma football fans into a losing is unacceptable attitude. God save the man who would cost the Sooners a nationally televised game between two Top 25 programs out of ignorance.

Gordon Riese is that man! He was the replay official in the booth that botched the call on an onside kick that gave Oregon a win over the Sooners. He now says that he will soon decide whether to finish the season, or even whether to return next year.

"I'm struggling with it," Riese said "I feel so bad I missed that call, it's driving me crazy."

With the Pac-10 announcing Monday that the officiating crew made mistakes that cost Oklahoma the football game and the one game suspension of the officiating Riese says his health is being affected by the whole situation. "I can't sleep, I can't eat, my blood pressure is skyrocketing."

It may not just be his bone headed blunder that’s causing high blood pressure though. Police are now investigating threatening phone calls. "They not only threatened me, they threatened my wife and kids," Riese said.

While I do think threatening phone calls are much too harsh I don’t feel bad for Riese or his situation. If he had just looked at the video monitor he could have picked any one of the following options; a) Malcolm Kelly was interfered with inside the 10 yard zone b) an Oregon player was the first to touch the ball before it traveled 10 yards c) Allen Patrick of Oklahoma actually recovered the football. Anyone of those options would have been the correct call and they are all plain as day on the video but some how Gordon Riese missed all three of them. For that my man you have to pay your dues and endure your suffering.

"I don't know how to deal with it," he said. "I guess it's just one of those things." Don’t expect anyone in Oklahoma to feel sorry for you. As you are finding out, we take our football very seriously.