Does It Help or Hurt Your Team to Boo the Referee?

(AP Photo/Stephen Morton) ORG XMIT: JVS

As I love to do in the fall, I watched NFL football while eating lunch today. There was a controversial play in one of the games, and the referee ruled in favor of the visiting team.

As sports fans do, they booed the decision. As they did, I couldn’t help but wonder: Are they helping or hurting their team by booing the referee?

I could actually see this going either way:

  • Hurt: My gut instinct is that booing hurts your team, because it puts the referee on the defensive. Even though they’re meant to be impartial, referees are human, and the fan response can have a slight impact on the way they officiate.
  • Help: On the flip side, if you boo the ref about a call that they themselves have some doubts about, they might try to overcorrect on a future call in a way that assists your team. Also, it’s possible that the players on your team will hear the boos and interpret them as a sign of support.

This is a tough one–I’m not sure. What do you think? Personally, I’m just not a fan of booing in general, especially directed at the referee. Imagine if people showed up at your work and booed at you all day!

1 thought on “Does It Help or Hurt Your Team to Boo the Referee?”

  1. While I did my fair share of booing in the student section during my college days, I think we were pretty good about booing mostly when the calls appeared wrong on the replay. I definitely think it had led to some over correcting in the past to appease the raucous fans. The referee entrance/exit to the field was also placed (strategically?) right next to the student section for extra overcorrecting. 😉


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