As i strolled down the sidelines of Lincoln Financial Field before the Eagles and the Steelers fandangoed in Philly, i was musing about the pressure facing the two gold dust twins, David DeCastro and Michael Adams, both rookies, both making their first NFL starts in their first NFL game.
I went down to the end zone where the hogs were warming up to keep an eye on Michael and David to see how they were handling the pressure cooker that is an NFL game.
“Believe me now and hear me later,” it’s a pretty sizeable jump to go from even the biggest collegiate program to the NFL, and to the starting line-up, no less. While both young men seemed to be wearing the frenzied atmosphere well, i could see in their eyes they were “feeling it.”
After watching the goings-on for awhile, i came back over to the Steelers sidelines and settled in next to another guy making his first NFL start. He was a Line Judge, the guy who stands on the line of scrimmage and a part of the “Replacement Refs” who were making their first appearance in an NFL game while the regular NFL Ref’s were being locked out in a labor dispute.
These replacement refs are mostly division 2 and 3 college refs, and Arena Football League guys. So this was a gi-normous jump in officiating for these guys.
I said to him “You gott’a be a little nervous, ain’t ya?”
The Line Judge looked at me with a wry grin and said, “I was in a shoot-out (he was a police officer in his regular job) three weeks ago with a guy who wanted to kill himself and take me with him. No, this doesn’t bother me one bit.”
I laughed and said, “It’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it?”
The twinkle in his eye was all the response i needed.