After further review ...
To all who are reading this, I want to wish you a blessed day — the birthday of Jesus as Christians celebrate this day. But whatever your faith, this is a joyous time of the year. Despite the personal hardships or struggles we face in the world, Christmas is a day we need to take time to give thanks. Speaking of which, let me give a huge thanks to you, the readers of this weekly column, for your support. This is column No. 672 of “TunneySide of Sports.” As of January of 2018, this column will be 13 years old, and I have been privileged to write one every week.
While the National Football League has its difficulties on and off the field, I am proud to have been an NFL on-field official for 31 years. I met some wonderful players and coaches as well as officials during my 57-year association with the league. I was fortunate to have officiated four Super Bowl games as well as 10 championship games and 25 Monday Night Football games, which during my career was the only night game played. There are two Monday night games tonight in the NFL and 12 games played Sunday on Christmas Eve. That means that 14 of the 17 NFL crews were away from their families.
Christmas is meant to be for families celebrating together, but for these 112 officials (14 crews of eight) they are in meetings or on a football field, instead of being with their families. It happened to me more than a few times — flying on Christmas Eve and/or officiating on Christmas Day, or flying on Christmas Day to officiate a game on Dec. 26. There is nothing so difficult as to not be at home with your children when Santa arrives.
I dedicate this Christmas to my family for carrying on those days without me. To my four children, Maureen, Michael, Mark, and Janet, who I missed being with on that glorious morning. To my sisters, Joanne and Loretta, and brother Peter and their families, who when we were younger would often celebrate a Christmas dinner at our mom’s house — but with me in an airplane or at an NFL game. Regrets, not apologies, but I only wish to have been with all of you on Christmas.
After you celebrate on Monday, will you log-in and share your feelings about spending Christmas with family?
Contact Jim Tunney at jimtunney.com or email [email protected]