FRED WYANT was more than a standout quarterback for WVU - a captain, in fact - back in 1955.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Wyant was Ed Hochuli. He was Mike Carey.
He was one of the most recognizable figures in the NFL as a lead official. In all, he spent 27 years in the league.
Of late, though, Wyant has been disgusted by the events surrounding the NFL and its lockout of officials.
He wasn't disgusted by the lockout, which was mercifully settled late Wednesday night. He wasn't disgusted by the replacement refs, or even the missed calls - right down to the controversial game-ending Packers-Seahawks play that ESPN has seared into our brains.
What ticked Wyant off was the firestorm of criticism before the settlement by announcers and analysts like Mike Tirico, Trent Dilfer and Jon Gruden. Especially Gruden, who said, "There's just too much at stake. Officials shouldn't be deciding the outcome of this game."
"I just couldn't watch the announcers," Wyant, now 78, said. "What was Gruden as a coach, 50-50? He can't be serious when he says one play decides the outcome of a game. Green Bay's quarterback was sacked eight times in the first half. I don't think I've ever seen that many in one half. But the talk was of the officials. No one said anything about that offensive line."
Gruden, for the record, was 57-55 at Tampa Bay and 95-81 overall. But one can understand Wyant's point.
Now? Wyant is pleased the strife is past, but the path to the settlement struck a nerve.
"It takes five years for someone to become an official," he said. "It takes five years to become comfortable [in the NFL] and to have those [in the NFL] feel comfortable with you.
"The game is so fast, the rules have to be interpreted so fast, I thought [the replacement officials] weren't bad. Let's face it, they were in college Division III. At those places you play hard, but you play more for fun.
"I mean, they were only at this for three weeks. If [Division II West Virginia] Wesleyan plays at Seton Hill, there might be 100 people there. Then you take those officials to Monday Night Football?"
Wyant earned the right to blow the whistle on the proceedings. After starring at WVU, he officiated high school, West Virginia Conference, then major-college football. (He remembers his first game of the latter category, Furman vs. Presbyterian.) He worked three different major-college conferences and high school football - at the same time for a bit. Then, eight years in, he grabbed an opportunity to jump to the NFL.
"We had an association then, not a union," Wyant said.
The Weston native made around $3,000 a game in 1993, his last season. With the new contract, officials will begin making an average of $173,000 per season starting in 2013. Still, Wyant said, no one, especially the analysts, will be happy.