[Not single-page] An interview with Jerry Frump, who left his job as a Division I college football referee to work as a replacement official in the NFL during a labor dispute between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association.
“What was the most surreal moment in this whole experience?
“I suppose it was – not when it happened, but afterwards – there’s been a number of pictures that have appeared in the newspaper and the Internet and so forth, but I think the one that seems to be most popular is me signaling intentional grounding on Ben Roethlisberger and him with his hands on his hips looking down on me. You know, he’s a very big man. I’m only about 5’9” or 5’10”. So it was – I had to look at it with some amusement myself.
“And was that the right call?
“Yes, I actually got the correct call on it.
“Was there a low moment?
“I suppose you really felt bad for your colleagues when they blew a call, or there was one that was getting a lot of negative media attention. Again, everybody goes out there and they work hard, and we kind of stand side by side. When somebody makes a call, obviously, the microscope is very big at this level. I think the NFL in one of our conference calls indicated that ‘there will probably be no one in history has gone through such a high level of scrutiny, and the microscope has never been as big as it is on you guys at this time.'”
I had a courtside seat for that game in Indianapolis, on the Princeton bench. I was a sophomore, small — too small, and slow — forward on that 1996 team. The only action I saw was the pregame layup lines. But countless times over the past 15 years, my former teammates and I have all had conversations, even with people we’ve just met, along these lines: “Oh yeah, you played basketball at Princeton? Were you in that team that beat UCLA?” “Yes.” “Man, I remember that game, I was at my frat house at Scranton going wild.” Or “I was at a sports bar in Baltimore,” or “I was in my den, screaming at the television.” People — and, believe me, not just Princeton or UCLA alums — know precisely where they were, what they were doing and what they were drinking (often alcohol) during that game.