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OFFICIAL REBUKE

As a life long Bills fan, I was extremely disappointed by the Bills' loss to the Tennessee Titans. This loss was tougher to take than all of the Bills' Super Bowl losses except for "Wide Right." The poor sportsmanship displayed by the majority of Western New Yorkers, including the media, was even more disappointing than the loss. While I will admit that the Bills have suffered at the expense of some questionable calls, blaming this loss on the "zebras" is not justified. While the Bills were, in my opinion, the better team, they were soundly beaten on the one play that had the biggest impact on the outcome of the game.

The term "zebra," as used by The Buffalo News when referring to football officials, is completely unacceptable. This reflects poor sportsmanship, a lack of appreciation for the difficulty of officiating football at the highest level.

As a newer football official working at the little league/high school level where football is still a game, I feel this lack of respect for NFL officials has trickled down. At the high school level football is intended to teach kids, among other things, sportsmanship and respect for authority (coaches, officials, etc.). Certainly people, (the media included) have the right to disagree with the officials' call. This disagreement should be voiced in a respectful, constructive manner.

Finally, maybe you could do a better job as an official? The Western New York Football Officials Association is always looking for new candidates. They can be reached through your school district's athletic department.
SCOTT BIXBY
Lockport

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