Such is the story of Lance Easley, a vice president of small business for Bank of America in California, who had been refereeing NFL games in his spare time while the league had locked out its full-time referees during exceptionally bitter contract negotiations. But the professional referees now suddenly find themselves back at work, and it might be due in part to a particularly contentious call Easley made during last Monday's Seahawks-Packers game -- a call contentious enough for the president to weigh in on.
Sorry, Mr. President, the call will stand
According to an NFL statement on the controversy, Easley was in the end zone when Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate and Packers safety M.D. Jennings both went after a pass thrown by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. In the fight for the ball, Tate can be seen shoving Packers cornerback Sam Shields to the ground.
President Obama, an infamous sports junkie, said it was a "terrible" call. In its own statement, the NFL has said the call will stand.
All Good Things Must Come to an End, Luckily for Easley
The professional refs may have Easley to thank for the sudden end to the lockout, with the league apparently caving in on all their demands. Had it not been for Easley's controversial touchdown call -- and the resulting media, fan, and presidential furor -- the lockout might still be going on.
Easley had apparently never refereed anything above junior college games before this season in the NFL. And while this must have been the thrill of lifetime (refereeing a pro football game likely being a bit more exciting than his day job), Easley's days as a big-time referee are at an end.
However, maybe that's something worth cheering about, and not just for the fans enraged over bad calls by amateur refs, but for Lance Easley as well: Bankers aren't exactly the most popular people in the world these days anyway, but being an NFL referee on top of that? Even JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon may never have faced such pressure.
John Grgurich is a regular contributor to The Motley Fool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.