Are NFL referees sending mixed signals?   

Updated: July 21, 2008, 12:35 PM ET

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The NFL has hired experts to determine whether any of its players are flashing gang signs as part of their on-field celebrations.

I suppose I can understand the concern, but before commissioner Roger Goodell institutes any draconian rules about non-verbal communication, I suggest he take a moment to realize that hand gestures and body language can mean all sorts of things.

Take all the signaling the league's referees do, for example. I know I often receive mixed messages from the officials.

"Just take my wallet and kindly return to your huddle. I am unarmed."

"I have caught a butterfly. Who wants to see it?"

"Your steroids dealer is over there."

"Hello up there, pretty lady. I might not be as big as Ed Hochuli, but I assure you that I am strong enough to be your man."

"I'm a little teapot, short and stout."

"Keep running for home. You can beat the throw."

"I don't care what you say. That's just how I feel."

"These are my problem areas when I take off my shirt."

"Now you've done it. I am going to put on my invisible boxing gloves and box you about the face."

"Don't make me roll up my sleeves. You won't like me when I'm angry."

"I look handsome no matter which angle I hold the mirror."

"If somebody could help me with this itch …"

"I have been shot through the hands with arrows. Seriously, this #$%&ing hurts. Get me some help. Now! It's all I can do to keep my calm expression."

"This is how we were forced to dance in middle school."

"Oh, no. I think I left the iron on."

"Talk to the hand, 'cause the face ain't listening."

"If I could just lose these love handles, I think I'd be looking pretty good."

"You must be this tall to play this game. Sorry, Colt Brennan."

"Prepare to get served."

"What? So I screwed up again. It's only a game."

"Zzzzzzooooooom. Zzzzzzooooooom. Wheeeee! Look at me, mommy! I'm an airplane!"

"Can anyone give me a ride home? Preferably a cheerleader?"

"Riverdance!"

"Whoa, it's getting a bit windy, and I forgot my hairpiece at home."

"Hmmm. You know, in all honesty, I have no idea what happened on that play. Let me think about it for a few minutes."

"Raise the roof, y'all. Raise the roof."

"No, really. It's time to raise the roof, people! Let's go! Raise it!"

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.


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