Refs' mistakes payback to UF for Fenner call
Published September 22, 2004
Somewhere, Lane Fenner is sitting there with an orange-and-blue voodoo doll,
devilishly poking it with pins and relishing every blown officiating call
that deprives the University of Florida of an important victory.
Another referee's blunder went against the Gators on Saturday and cost them
a crucial Southeastern Conference game against Tennessee. Last year against
Florida State, the Gators were victimized by those low-down, no-good
Atlantic Coast Conference refs. This year, it's the blind and biased SEC
refs. What about next year? Will UFF (University of Fraudulent Flags) demand
that all their games be called by officials from the Mid-Eastern Athletic
Of course, the Gators are only getting what they have coming -- a massive
amount of compensatory karma for what they did to poor Lane Fenner nearly 40
years ago. Sure, the Gators were robbed by poor officiating this year and
last, but isn't this simply part of the eternal payback for cutting a deal
with the Grand Demonic Zebra?Quit whining about bad calls, Gators. Your
entire program was propagated by a bad call 38 years ago.
Any state football historian can tell you what happened on Oct. 8, 1966,
when upstart Florida State completed a miracle 45-yard touchdown pass from
quarterback Gary Pajcic to Fenner with 17 seconds left. FSU fans celebrated
what appeared to be a shocking 25-22 upset of the undefeated, Steve
Doug Moseley, an SEC side judge, first appeared to signal a touchdown, but
then waved it off and indicated an incomplete pass. Florida won the game
22-19.Moseley was 20 yards away when he made the call -- a call that will
live in infamy because grainy, black-and-white newspaper photographs the
next day showed Fenner falling into the end zone, his feet in bounds, his
hands cradling the football.
Ancient history, yes, but it explains the here and now. The Great
Scorekeeper keeps track of these things and knows how much Florida's program
benefited at Lane Fenner's expense. Just think if FSU had pulled the upset
that day. Spurrier probably doesn't win the Heisman Trophy in '66. And if
Spurrier doesn't win the Heisman, he doesn't become a folk hero in
Gainesville. And if he doesn't become a folk hero, he doesn't become the
head coach. And if he doesn't become the head coach, the Gators never become
an elite program.
Funny how this one monumental blown call was the genesis of the thriving
Gator football nation that now complains about blown calls. Moseley, the
official who called Fenner out of bounds, died a few years ago -- a very
good man and a very good official whose career was defined by one very bad
Then there's former FSU coach Bill Peterson, whom many of his friends say
took that play to his deathbed. It didn't help matters that when Peterson
left Florida State for the University of Houston, he moved into a nice
suburban neighborhood -- four houses down from Moseley.
Pajcic, the quarterback, is an attorney in Jacksonville and still has a
framed photograph of Fenner -- his feet clearly in bounds -- displayed
proudly on his office wall.
And Lane Fenner? Whatever happened to Lane Fenner?
"Nobody's seen hide nor hair of him in years," says Monk Bonasorte, a former
FSU player who runs the school's alumni club. "It's like he's dropped off
the face of the earth."
Well, maybe not.
I can't be sure, but I think I saw Lane Fenner in Knoxville Saturday night.
He was wearing an SEC officiating uniform and a devilish grin as he pulled
the yellow flag from his pocket.
"Cosmic comeuppance, No. 81, Gators," he called.
"That'll be 15 yards . . . and four decades."
Fris "Whiney Gator" bee?, MCNGP #13
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