Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young has described the strangest interaction you’ve ever heard of between an NFL player and a referee.
Young writes in his new autobiography that during a December 15, 1985 game between Young’s Buccaneers and the Colts, the ref approached him and asked if Young would take the ref’s daughter out. Later in the game, Young says in an excerpt published by TheMMQB.com, the ref gave Young a favorable call in an attempt to butter him up.
“I’m in the huddle when the head referee taps me on the shoulder. ‘Can I talk to you for a second?’ he says. I step away from the huddle. ‘Hey listen, my daughter’s going to BYU,’ he whispers. Next thing I know he starts trying to convince me that I should meet his daughter. ‘I’d like you to take her out,’ he says.
“I cannot believe this. We’re in the middle of a game! ‘Oh okay,’ I said. ‘What’s her name?’ He tells me and I return to the huddle . . . Late in the game we’re down 31-23 and I’m trying to mount a comeback. I scramble out of the pocket and take a brutal hit. It causes me to fumble just before the whistle blows to stop the play. I am lying on the ground when the defense recovers the loose ball, all but sealing our defeat. Suddenly out of nowhere a yellow flag lands next to me. The referee whose daughter is headed to BYU calls a personal foul on the defense. First down, Tampa Bay. I get up and brush myself off. Then the ref walks past me and whispers she likes Italian food.”
For a referee to do such a thing is so incredibly inappropriate that it’s hard to believe it would happen, although it’s equally hard to believe that Young would make such a thing up. Whoever this unnamed referee is, he’s surely out of the league by now, but perhaps Dean Blandino should issue a memo reminding refs that they’re not to try to set up players with their daughters.