Tv commercials

American football referees stage ‘fouls’ to fit in TV commercials

the herald

The Rhodesia Herald,

May 16, 1967

YORKSHIRE-born referee MP Rhodes today said 11 of 12 ‘fouls’ he committed in a televised football match were wrong and were to allow Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) to get away with it. include in their advertisements.

The game, played yesterday in the North American National Professional League, pitted the Toronto Falcons against the Pittsburg Phantoms.

Mr Rhodes said that before a televised game he would go into the dressing room to tell players to deliberately lie down or stage a protest when he whistled.

He wears an electronic unit and a smaller receiver strapped to his back during matches. When he hears three glitches and the voice of the producer saying “Commercial coming soon”, he stops playing.

Mr. Rhodes said that all actors are cooperating. “It gives them a break and at the same time it makes money for the league.”

The maximum number of commercial breaks during a televised match is 10.

But an American referee at a recent game in Los Angeles was so distracted by boos from the crowd that he forgot to listen to his receiver and called just three “commercial” fouls.

Mr Rhodes said: ‘I don’t think he’s around anymore.’ – Iana Reuter.


  • Advertising is big business in the media fraternity. This is what brings in the most income and as such, it will always take precedence over everything.
  • It’s always important to follow directions and be able to stay focused even in the face of distractions. The other referee mentioned in the story was fired because he failed to follow the TV producer’s instructions.
  • Things are not always what they seem. In the story, we are told it was a professional league, but the referees and players fabricated fouls.
  • The world of sport is littered with cases of players and officials who have behaved unprofessionally for economic gain. In Zimbabwe, we had the Asiagate scandal where players and officials of the country’s senior national football team were paid to fix matches.