On Tuesday, the Parkway North Varsity Football team joined counterparts from Seckman at the St. Louis Rams' Continuity-X Training facility in Earth City for the start of a character building program that the squads will be part of for the rest of the season.
One of the goals of the program is to help players make smart choices on the field and off. One of the main presenters at the session was former Rams Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who last played in 2010 season with the Chicago Bears.
One of the messages Tinoisamoa, who lived in Creve Coeur during his playing days, imparted on the young men was to play smart, and to not be the guy who lets a dumb penalty impact the team.
But right now, you could make the argument that NFL fans are seeing lots of dumb penalties, enforced by inexperienced replacement game officials hired by the league while the NFL is in the midst of a labor dispute.
As a result, players and coaches are openly challenging the officials, and the problem took national center stage Monday night. A nationally-televised game ended on a disputed touchdown to Seattle's Golden Tate, despite visual evidence that he didn't catch the ball, and that he was guilty of offensive pass interference when he pushed off a Green Bay defender.
Tinoisamoa's take on it all?
"They're not used to the uncertainty of things. They're overreacting so it might be a good time to remind the guys, 'get control' you are professionals, remain professional even though the refs aren't so-called professionals. There's only so much you can control and so much you can handle and I think the good coaches are actually preaching that to their players...now what they do with it, everyone's their own individual, so they're accountable for their own actions. but know that that could effect the team either in a good way or a bad way. Unfortunately, its been a bad way most of the time."
As for the fateful Seattle touchdown Monday?
"All I saw was my Twitter feed and everyone talking how bad it was. I saw it, and I would think after replay it would be something you could easily overturn but then again I don't know what happened or what they saw. I wasn't in their shoes so its kind of hard for me to comment," he said.
Tinoisamoa was active in a Rams offseason program working with other High School athletes in a Player Development Program and may be up for the opportunity to become a coach.
Patch will have more on Tuesday's character-building activities at Rams Park later this week.