We would let readers vote of the world’s worst job and hopefully fare better than the All-Star Mile in terms of interest, but we already know the winner without putting it to a vote.
Without doubt, the worst possible job is being an umpire or official in a sports code where subjectivity and vague rules come into play.
A controversial call or non-call during a close match is a nightmare scenario, which, were we officials, would have us grabbing our carefully prepared disguise in order to anonymously slink out of the stadium without being identified.
Our first piece of evidence is the 2019 NFL-NFC Championship game, where a blown pass interference game late in the game in all probability changed the outcome, although absolute certainty is not assured.
Even for expert researchers such as ourselves, finding the names of the officials for the game necessitated extensive digging. The Down Judge was Patrick Turner and the Side Judge was Gary Cavaletto.
The NFL took the security measure of moving the entire officiating crew to a different hotel, our of safety concerns. Head Official Bill Vinovich, after saying that he did not see the play, was receiving death threats on his cell phone from one caller, who persisted until a New Orleans Police Officer took Vinovich’s phone and warned the caller to stop, or face charges.
Our second piece of evidence supports our proposition and demonstrates that it is not just the top levels of sports where being an official is hazardous.
A grade cricket match in New Zealand featured a five-player brawl that initiated when a player-umpire was assaulted over a disputed ruling in a match between Paraparaumu and Weraroa near Wellington, where reports emerged of the player-umpire being kicked in the head by an opposition player while the umpire lay prone on the ground.
The match was abandoned.
A well-known song by American country musician Waylon Jennings advises, “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.”
Cowboying seems far safer than refereeing.