For those of you who are looking to put a name to the face that cost the Green Bay Packers a win on Monday Night Football against the Seahawks, the name would be Lance Easley. And for those of you who were curious about his officiating credentials, well, apparently he was deemed not good enough to officiate at the Division 1 college level this past summer.
Easley, working as a side judge in the Packers-Seahawks game, is a longtime Southern California high school and junior college official. This past summer, he attended the Stars and Stripes Academy for Football Officials in Salt Lake City, which is hosted by Karl Richins and his staff of Division I college officials and is a course to train and determine who is ready to make the bump to the next level of officiating.
According to Richins, Easley wasn't one of those who were ready.
"I got to know Lance at a June academy I worked at in Reno and when he came to my academy in July," Richins said. "He's a very polite, good Christian gentleman, a good father to his son, Daniel, who was at my academy as well.
"But was Lance ready to work at the NFL level? Absolutely not."
Easley, a vice president of small business banking at Bank of America in Santa Maria, California during the week, was determined by Richins' staff not ready for Division I games let alone the NFL. In fact, before this stint as a replacement ref, Easley had never even officiated at a higher level that Division III.
Much to the dismay of Richins, that lack of experience shows. Richins keeps having to field e-mails linking Easley to his school.
"I'm getting e-mails saying, 'Boy, you must be proud,'" Richins told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. "This is not what we intended for our officiating students to do. We train officials to work at the Division I level.
"At no time do we say, 'We can train you for the NFL.' After three days at our academy, Lance was determined by our staff not to be ready for Division I officiating."
With this less than startling revelation, once again we have to ask another question: why hasn't the NFL made a deal already with the regular refs to get these obviously overwhelmed individuals out of the game?
Granted, smart business is making smart deals that don't cave to pressure. But honestly, it would probably be better to cave in a few million dollars than to continue to put your product at risk on a weekly basis.
The NFL, its teams, and its fans don't need any more Lance Easley's deciding the outcome of games.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.