2013 CFHOF Profile: John (Jake) Ireland

jake_ireland_featured
In every sport there is one type of person who will never be right and will also never be wrong as they get the boos and cheers from fans on either side of the game. The umpire, referee, or judge is a massive part of sports. They enforce the rules and make calls that can change the face of a game in an instant. They hold this power in their hands and for teams that calls work against they become enemies while for teams calls work for they become heroes. They are one of the most important aspects of the game and they are constantly debated. There is already a call out to make officiating any game more automated rather than having the human element to the game. Instant Replay has taken away the ability for referees to be wrong and forgot about. If a referee makes a mistake everyone will see and in most sports the challenge from the coach the mistakes they make can be changed. With more technology the referee is becoming less and less important in a game. They are still a big part of the game though and rightfully so as they are a very important part of the game. The human element of the game is needed even if it means that there will be mistakes. The need is not for the fact that it needs to be imperfect but more for the fact that only a human can make judgments on the field. It is far from easy as games are getting faster and faster but when two players are running downfield fighting it out to get open it needs to be let go. They are a lightning rod for fans and players alike and do not get a lot of recognition for their efforts but in Canadian Football there is a place for the best of the best.

John (Jake) Ireland is one of the best of the best in terms of officiating and he will get the respect he deserves. After being yelled at and second guessed Ireland will join the people who made Canadian Football what it is today and become a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. The CFHOF makes room not only for great players in the CFL and some builders from the CFL but instead welcomes all of those people who made an impact on the game. This includes players who had great CIS career but may not have made the CFL. Coaches that changed the game in college but never in the CFL are also welcome. Of course the referees that had an impact on the game have their own spot in the Hall of Fame. Jake Ireland will be the latest edition as one of the best and most reliable referees in the game. When looking at a referee for the Hall of Fame it is not an easy task as they do not have stats like players. You can’t look at how many mistakes they made in a game or any stats that show performance. Instead you have to look at the body of work and they way they were received. A referee’s career is based on how players and coaches perceive the referee and how solid that referee was when he was on the field. The biggest stat for a ref is the amount of Grey Cups that they referee and how many games they were in during their time as a ref. Ireland would be one of the best in all of these categories as he would referee at 555 games while doing 15 Grey Cups during his career. These are important because Grey Cups are decided based on how the league believes the referee is. If the referee is well-respected and considered one of the best during the season they get the invite to do the championship game. Ireland was one of the best referees in the game when he started in 1979 and with a career that went until 2008 there is no doubt that he belongs among the best to ever have their time in Canadian football.

 

John (Jake) Ireland, Referee (1979-2008)
555 Games
15 Grey Cup Games
– Selected to referee four consecutive Grey Cup Games from 1985-1988
– Currently the lead replay official in the CFL Command Centre

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