Dear Commissioner Mike Slive,
I know this has been a rough month for you. What with everyone suggesting that the SEC officials want to see Florida and Alabama in the SEC championship game no matter what the actual game results might be. Furthermore, I know that generally speaking the SEC's issue has been with judgment calls, celebration penalties on A.J. Green, personal fouls on some Arkansas defensive players -- it's okay, no one knows anyone's name that plays for Arkansas other than Ryan Mallet, it will be our secret -- missed calls in favor of Florida against Mississippi State, allowing Terrence Cody, the largest man on earth who still resembles a girl, to play without his helmet on. But this latest move, ignoring a clear interception by LSU's Patrick Peterson, has me steaming mad. What's the point of instant replay if you're going to use it and still get the play wrong?
That's why I'm making you an offer, I will work as instant replay reviewer for any televised SEC game.
Do you understand what a deal you're getting here, Commissioner Slive? I will work for the SEC for absolutely free. And I won't miss any calls.
You know why? Two reasons, first, I don't care who wins the games (I'll gallantly recuse myself from University of Tennessee games) and, second, because I can watch television replays and tell whether or not people intercept passes. For instance, unlike your replay officials, I watched today's Alabama-LSU game. And when Patrick Peterson intercepted Greg McElroy with just under 6 minutes to play in the game, I said, "Wow, that's a hell of an interception."
You know how I knew?
Because like the rest of America, I saw Peterson catch the football and get not one, but two feet in bounds. That's one more foot in bounds than you actually need, Mr. Slive. Yet, somehow the man you pay to sit in a booth and watch the replay didn't see this. He must have been blind ... or drunk. Perhaps he was both, so drunk he'd become blind. That's okay, I've been to Galette's before in Tuscaloosa and gotten that drunk. Although, to be fair, that's always been after a game.
(Right, a FanHouse artist's concept of how SEC replays are currently performed.)
And here's my promise to you Commissioner Slive, I won't even drink during the games when I'm working as your replay official. I'll be stone cold sober. I won't even pause the television and look closely at the cheerleaders on the sideline. Do you know how hard it is not to do that?
And I won't pause my DVR and spend ten minutes thinking about how awesome it was the CBS camera caught a 'Bama fan with four fingers doing the fourth quarter sign as they went to commercial break.
Nope, I'm completely committed to the game.
I won't even spend any time thinking about the press conference I would stage if I were Les Miles. I'd load stacks of hundred dollar bills until I had 300 stacks, or $30,000 in all, into a black garbage bag and carry it into my press conference. Then, before I even said anything, I'd turn up the garbage bag and dump all the cash out onto the table in front of the reporters.
I'd let it all spill around on the ground and then I'd walk to the microphone and say this:
"Mike Slive can come pick up this money when he gets a chance. Because that official who blew that call in the replay booth doesn't deserve to ever work another game. We're not talking about a blown judgment call, or a decision made in the heat of the game when everyone is moving a million miles an hour. We're talking about a fat man sitting in front of a television and making a dispassionate decision based on what he sees.
"And he blew it.
"I'd sooner have Clay Travis making the decisions from his house in Nashville."
And, just think Mike, you'll get me for free.
How much worse can I really be?
By the way, just between us, could you please explain to me why the guy who does instant replay review actually needs to be in the stadium? Shouldn't he be in a special replay truck with 48 television screens? Or in a NASA-like center somewhere in a bunker beneath the ground in an undisclosed location? With a bank of television screens so large in front of him that the astronauts would be jealous?
Otherwise, doesn't it defeat the purpose? I mean, just to have one dorky guy sitting in a booth squinting at one television? Can't you do more with the multi-billion dollar contract? Shouldn't America demand that you do more?
Anyway, that may be too many questions. And I didn't write this letter to make your life more difficult Commissioner Slive. You and I, we should be buddies. We're both lawyers. I tan better than you do. (Seriously, do you ever go outside?) But other than that we're like two peas in a pod, you and me, Mike.
Except, you know, for the rooting for Alabama and Florida to be in the championship game part.
But I've gotten off topic. Instead of continuing about how much alike we are -- you like William Faulkner, Chik-fil-A sandwiches, the Robotech cartoon, and thongs on shapely rears too, don't you, Mike -- why don't you allow me to list my assets?
Yep, consider this my resume for SEC replay official status:
1. I have a color television.
And it's bought and paid for.
100 percent mine.
Judging by your guy at Bama's decision today, he doesn't have a color television. Otherwise he would have seen the clean distinction between a foot coming down in the green grass and a foot coming down in the white out-of-bounds area.
2. I have an HD television.
Again, if your guy had HD he would have seen the dirt popping up from not one, but two different feet in bounds.
3. I have the Internets in my house.
Of course, the Internets are brought to me by Comcast so at any moment they might stop working. Even still, I could theoretically watch the game online as well.
Why does that matter?
I could get to within a millimeter of the screen and zoom it up to perfect definition. That way I could confirm what I saw with my bare eyes: LSU intercepted that pass.
4. I've never taken money or bet on a game I was calling.
Did that one hit too close to the striped vest?
5. I have a law degree from Vanderbilt and am licensed to practice law in the Southland.
This means I'm an SEC grad whose judgment an impartial governing body has vouched for. Can you say the same about your officials?
Didn't think so.
It's a no brainer, Mike. Just shoot me an email and I'll be ready to go by next week.
Because as my five assets listed above illustrate, I'm much more qualified than most of the people working in the replay booth.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Clay Travis is the author of three books. His latest, "On Rocky Top: A Front Row Seat to The End of an Era" chronicles the 2008 Tennessee football season and is on sale now.