Norling-IFW: The Referee-cap of the United Bowl

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United Bowl
A shot of Gila River Arena - one of the proposed landing spots for the organization for the next pair of seasons. Photo by Vet Tix.

I didn’t watch the 2019 United Bowl because I was at a Minnesota United FC soccer match and watched AEW Wrestling on the way home. Now, I really really didn’t want do this, and I can’t believe I have too.

But now all I f*****g see on my timeline is these butt-hurt Rattlers fans still bitching about the result of a goddamn football game! So instead of watching something I actually care about, like New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, I’m watching the United Bowl replay . . . twice.

As a background for my qualifications and credentials I am former football player and coach (HS level), a licensed baseball/softball umpire, football referee, and qualified with my knowledge to officiate hockey.

Along with those I absolutely have no affiliation to either of these teams.

I am watching each feed once, since there has been allegations of using the shorter (in time length) of the two video feeds as a cover up by the league, even though that’s the Rattlers broadcast.

The longer of the two should be the EXACT SAME feed (save for possible post game differences) with Storm announcer Rich Roste calling the action. Yes people are this stupid, why else is someone seriously trying to find an attorney to bring a class action lawsuit against the league for collusion between SF, the IFL, and the officials. SPOILER ALERT this is the same crew they had the previous week against Nebraska that they had no issues with.

The first watch through is just going towards the penalties and apparently massive referee issues that the Rattlers claimed happened. So here we f*****g go. First a little background, Arizona was by far the most penalized team in the IFL regular season with 117 penalties for 1,022 yards that’s an average of 8.4 pen/game for 73 yards/game which jesus christ is insane. The Storm on the other hand were on the complete opposite side being by far the least penalized team in the league with just 84 penalties for 565 yards, an average of 6 pen/game for just 40.4 yards/game.

After watching the game twice, and every single play three to four times each watch I am able to make a few clear and concise statements. First being the most important for this piece (and the Arizona “fans”) the referee’s weren’t actually that bad, it was overall a well called game. And considering how the Indoor Football League officials can be that says A LOT. In terms of missed calls there was only really three of them, two holding calls against Arizona (6:21 and 1:20 in the 1st Quarter) and one against Sioux Falls (1:00 left in the 2nd Quarter). There was two judgement calls on pass interference in the 4th Quarter and I will say if you call the second one on Arizona you need to call the first on Sioux Falls.

The officials didn’t lose Arizona the game though, their coaching did. The Rattlers players outplayed the Storm for the most of 60 minutes but Kevin Guy’s coaching did them no favors and cost them the game. The best example is the lack of blitzing on Storm QB Lorenzo Brown, there were plenty of times where Arizona didn’t send a linebacker to go after Brown. If you have watched Brown at all he is a great Quarterback when you give him time, but when you rush him and make him throw on his feet he is not very good. Playing against Sioux Falls you need to rush and contain Brown on defense, it allows him not to rush but makes him throw running, something he is not good at.

In the end Arizona lost because Kevin Guy was out coached by Kurtis Riggs, not because of the officials, not because of an IFL conspiracy. Because, fun fact, the IFL would get more publicity with a team in Phoenix, AZ winning the United Bowl than a team in Sioux Falls, SD.

Also it’s a f*****g game, losing isn’t gonna kill you and shouldn’t be your entire life for a week. A friend of mine (Dave, you know who you are) said it best at the 2018 United Bowl after halftime “Let’s go hate each other for the next 30 minutes and be friends again after.” That’s exactly what this should be hating the other team for 60 minutes and grabbing a beer with their fans afterwards.


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