You may have heard “Tyler Simmons was onside” during a pivotal punt that could’ve propelled Georgia to victory in the 2017 national championship game. It became a popular meme almost immediately, and UGA fans apparently still haven’t forgotten the bad call that went against the Bulldogs that night.
The SEC announced Monday it was starting a Twitter account to address in-game officiating. The account is the culmination of a promise league commissioner Greg Sankey made in May to increase the transparency involved with controversial calls.
Sankey was quoted on the subject by the Associated Press in an article explaining why the conference had hired the accounting firm, Deloitte to oversee its officiating process.
“I believed then and I still believe we have as good a college football officiating program as there is yet we can still keep improving,” Sankey told The Associated Press. “And we started first looking at how do we communicate about officiating? And it was forward looking to this coming season that the nature of media, the focus on officiating, the fact there are commentators and broadcast booths giving opinions, sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re not correct. You don’t have complete information. Those are game changers for us.”
The first tweet from the new account yielded predictable results.
Tyler Simmons was on-sides.
— Breda Pest (@BredaPest) July 15, 2019
— Chris Landers (@Chris_A_Landers) July 15, 2019
— Bryce Unterwagner (@BUnterwagner) July 15, 2019
Tyler Simmons was onsides !
— Bryce Dixon (@dixonbryce1) July 15, 2019
A host of SEC fans took time to rehash old gripes – including UGA fans who haven’t forgotten about the call against Simmons.
Of course, SEC refs weren’t responsible for the call against UGA and Simmons. The officials for that game were from the Big 10.
Don’t tell that to Georgia fans though. They still want answers from someone regarding what happened that night whether the SEC was responsible for the error or not.
For what it’s worth, Simmons seems to have moved on from what could’ve been a historic moment for him.
“I don’t really watch it much, other than when other people show me,” Simmons said before last season. “They made the call. We just have to move on… the best we can.”
That’s good advice, but for many UGA fans there won’t be true closure on the bad call against Simmons until UGA wins the national championship.
That opportunity could come this season, and it would also probably be fitting for Simmons — who’s now a senior — to get another chance to be a hero.