The Best Moment of NFL Week 2 Came from a Ref Shushing a Complaining Player on National TV
In a wild, back-and-forth affair that needed overtime, it wasn’t an insane one-handed catch from a receiver, a clutch throw from a quarterback or a backbreaking defensive play from a linebacker that stole the show.
No, rather, it was a hot mic moment with a referee.
And even though, as of this writing, there is still a smattering of Week 2 games left to be played in the NFL, it’s safe to say that no moment will top this one.
To set the stage: The Seattle Seahawks beat the Detroit Lions 37-31 in a thrilling overtime game at Ford Field on Sunday.
Smith did throw to nobody in particular, but wasn’t pressured — suggesting this was actually a matter of miscommunication between him and his receiver.
The referees clearly did not agree that it was miscommunication and referee Alex Kemp made the announcement that the call was official and would stand (costing Smith and the Seahawks yardage and the down.)
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was having a conniption on the sidelines, and that energy was matched by his quarterback.
Smith’s rant, however, came within close proximity of Kemp — and his mic.
You can watch the viral moment for yourself below:
Pete Carroll is HEATED after an intentional grounding call pic.twitter.com/7zM2PSYCgm
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 17, 2023
“Intentional grounding, offense, No. 7,” Kemp began, in the classic referee spiel. As Kemp began to explain the ramifications of this call, a demonstrably upset Smith gets close to Kemp to voice his displeasure with the call.
That’s when Kemp dropped the NFL quip of the year thus far: “I’m talking to America here. Excuse me.”
Fox NFL announcer and retired NFL All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen, who was assigned to this particular game, could do nothing but literally laugh out loud at the moment.
In fact, Olsen didn’t even want to discuss the controversial penalty call — he just wanted to talk about Kemp’s retort.
“That is the best line I’ve ever heard out of an official,” Olsen said. “We’ll get to the penalty in a minute.”
For the Seahawks, this will be a fondly remembered footnote, despite the call going against them at the time, given that the team eked out an overtime win in Detroit.
They will try to keep that momentum going when they host the Carolina Panther next Sunday.
For the Lions, this is the second agonizing loss that the team has suffered in a row, continuing last season’s agonizing trend of close losses.
They will try to fix that painful trend when they host the undefeated Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.
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Was Kemp criticized or praised for his gesture of raising a finger to his lips and shushing the player
Suddenly, in the midst of Smith’s tirade, Kemp turns to him and simply raises a finger to his lips, shushing the complaining player.
It was a moment of pure authority, an acknowledgment from the referee that he was in control and that Smith’s complaints were falling on deaf ears.
And it didn’t take long for the internet to take notice.
Social media exploded with reactions to the incident, with fans and analysts alike praising Kemp for his response.
Many pointed out that it was a refreshing change to see a referee assert themselves and not be swayed by an angry player or coach.
In a league where it seems like players and coaches can argue with officials with little to no consequences, Kemp’s actions were a reminder that there are limits and boundaries to what is acceptable.
Of course, some criticized Kemp for what they saw as an abuse of his authority or a lack of respect for the players.
But in the heat of the moment, it’s hard not to appreciate the boldness of his gesture.
It’s also worth noting that it wasn’t just Kemp’s shush that made this moment memorable.
It was the contrast between his calm demeanor and Smith’s fiery outburst.
Smith was angry, frustrated, and determined to make his point heard.
Kemp, on the other hand, was composed, collected, and unmovable.
In that moment, he represented the calm in the storm.
He was the one person who wasn’t getting caught up in the chaos, but rather, directing it with a simple gesture.
And while this moment may not be the highlight of the week in terms of athleticism or skill, it was certainly a memorable one.
It served as a reminder that in the world of sports, even the referees can steal the show.
So, as we continue to watch the games unfold in Week 2 of the NFL, let’s keep an eye out for more moments like this.
Because sometimes, it’s not the players or the coaches who provide the most entertaining moments, but the officials.
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