Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fire Ed Hightower

True story from the Wisconsin-Northwestern game Saturday night:

A man was sitting behind us with several young boys. At one point, he says to one of the boys, "That's Ed Hightower, he's on of the best referees around."

Then, after one particularly emphatic call, in which Ed almost hit the poor Northwestern kid being whistled for the foul, the guy says "See how much he's waving his arms? That means it was an especially good call."

No, it wasn't a drunk college kid making these remarks tongue in cheek. The guy was serious.

(Thanks to my brother for catching these side conversations.)

Ed Hightower is a horrible referee, and Saturday night's game was a prime example why. Hightower and his cohorts, Dennis Bracco and Dan Chrisman -- who deserve at least as much blame as Eddie -- were the stars of the show for much of the game, which is precisely what refs should not be.

They called a piss-poor game, both ways. Both teams were on the short end of bad calls or non-calls. In the end, Northwestern made the plays it had to make to win, and we didn't.

But you have to wonder how the game might have been different if these bozos hadn't called 45 fouls. Or if they would have called Kevin Coble for traveling on one of his ridiculous prayers that happened to fall in. Or if they hadn't saddled Marcus Landry and Keaton Nankivil with fouls that were borderline at best.

What really bugs a Big Ten fan, though, is how Ed grabs the limelight on plays where nothing is really going on. On one play, after a dead ball, Hightower made a big show of bringing Jordan Taylor and Michael Thompson together to tell them to cool it ... when neither of them appeared to be doing anything remotely unsportsmanlike.

On another play, Hightower stopped the game to yell at Northwestern's Luka Mirkovic, clenching his fists together and pulling in opposite directions. What was he warning against? Swinging elbows? Overly aggressive screens? Mirkovic didn't seem to have done anything to warrant a lecture.

These are the times when Brent Musberger typically starts raving about Hightower.

After the Coble non-travel, I was 98% certain these idiots were going to tee up Bo, who has been on a roll with those lately. Thankfully they didn't, and if memory serves they probably made up for it with a terrible call against Northwestern quickly thereafter.

I imagine every conference has a ref or crew like this who fans of all teams shudder to see working their games. The Big Ten appears to be on an upswing again, and if it was serious about improving its product all the way around, it would find a way to replace guys like Hightower, Chrisman, and Bracco, and get competent refs in there.

11 comments:

Tyler Feuling said...

Well Mr. Tappa, this year has sucked. Plain and simple. Im talking about January 2008-Present Day. I live in seattle, but follow the packers and badgers religiously. Favre's last pass as a Packer was an interception to a team at the time should have gotten beat in Lambeau. Then the Favre situation. Not only did I lose my NBA team, my baseball team was the first team ever to lose 100+ games with a 100 million dollar payroll. The Badger football team decided to take a few games off and now this with Badger basketball. Northwestern? Really? Scott, continue writing because you are the reason I have not tied my fanhood to a noose and kicked out the chair. Thanks for givin this Seattle-ite a closer look at the Badgers, even if it is like watching a small puppy get punched in the face.

DunacnMSU said...

The sooner Ed Hightower is gone the better. Michigan State always seems to get upset when Ed's calling the game. He has called more upsets than any other ref in the big 10

http://statsheet.com/mcb/referees/stats/most_top25_upsets

Someone has even started a web based petition to dismiss Hightower: Sign it!

http://www.petitiononline.com/tower123/petition.html

witless chum said...

No doubt, man. Hightower is a drama queen, which I could deal with, and a bad ref, which is harder to take. Both together are a lethal combination.

It seems like he's working an inordinant amount of MSU's games this year.

The most common problems among refs is the inability to have the same thing be a foul throughout the game.

crispinandcream said...

You think you got it bad? How about having him call two technicals on your same player in one week? Egotistical maniac is what he is. And no one wants him in this conference haha. Even the BTN exposed his shenanigans.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1155394229/bctid9813710001

SpartanDan said...

The scary thing is, there are worse refs. Hightower is usually at least consistent; there are a few guys who can't even manage that. But he calls way too much ticky-tack stuff outside and lets pretty much anything go under the basket. The result is hideous basketball (he called the epic uglyfest that was the 43-36 game last year, and the 59-36 Minnesota-Illinois game this year). Time to hang it up, Ed.

Yahtzee! said...

Every game Hightower refs should come with an asterisk. It baffles me that this guy is allowed to continue officiating games at this level. He can't even get the right call after watching video replay.

Doesn't matter who is playing. The guy is simply awful.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. I have when I see that he is doing a game that I'm going to watch. It's Dickie V that always calls him one of the best refs. He's brutal.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

(typo)
Ed Hightower's refereeing is abysmal. He is so aggravating to watch. The way emphasizes his call toward players shows the dramatic way he views games. (what I've seen in the Big Ten)

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