Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 14:09
No one likes when you beat a dead horse, but this is a peculiar case. The horse is still alive and running the NFL like a totalitarian government. So, I say we keep beating it over and over until Roger Goodell is forced into submission. Now, before you call PETA, hear me out.
Over the past few weeks, and especially the past few days, we have been getting bombarded by the media’s obvious disgust with the NFL and the continuing saga that is the referee lockout. The incompetence of the NFL replacement officials is becoming blatantly obvious to everyone. But what is becoming even more of a problem is the way the NFL has reacted to everyone’s displeasure by not budging on the negotiation table.
Ten million dollars and Ed Hochuli’s monstrous biceps are what stand in the way of experienced NFL officials from coming back to the stadiums on Sundays. It’s a number that doesn’t seem as large when one of your buddies majoring in accounting figures out that it’s only 3 cents that every U.S. citizen has to donate to get our real officials back. At this point, I don’t care what it takes-- I want my old zebras back.
It is difficult to blame the replacement officials for everything that has gone wrong in the first three weeks, and we should show some sympathy. The situation Goodell has unfairly put them in would be like us being forced to mediate the upcoming Presidential debate. We would simply lack the talent and proper preparation to give a good, fan-friendly performance.
What boggles my mind is that Goodell is completely going against what he was striving for when he first took over: player’s safety. He has made leaps in today’s player safety by virtually eliminating the hitting of the quarterback and abolishing headshots. But how can his rules be enforced with referees pulled from Pop Warner fields?
Last Sunday, during the Raider/Steelers game, Oakland receiver Darius Heyward-Bey was nearly decapitated when he was hit by Steeler safety Ryan Mundy in the end zone. No flag was thrown by the officials as Heyward-Bey was carted off the field. This is a perfect example of a penalty the regular refs would not have missed in a million years. By not ending thereferee lockout, Goodell is not only putting his players back into danger, but he is hurting the image of the NFL, too.
The officiating in the Seahawk/Packer Monday night football game alone should be enough evidence that the NFL needs to end the referee lockout. In the words of Aaron Rodgers, it was absolute “chaos.” I live in Fargo, and I heard Wisconsin let out a collective, “Da F*?!” following the infamous simultaneous touchdown catch by Golden Tate.
It got so bad the announcers were even flabbergasted. When talking about the penalties after the game, Jon Gruden claimed, “Two of the worst calls in a football game I can remember.” The worst had happened right in front of our eyes: a decision by a replacement official affected who won and lost the game.
In the end, it’s tough to admit that we didn’t see this coming. Sooner or later, a call late in the game was going to be made by a ref who isn’t entirely sure what’s going on. Add the pressure from all the fans and the spotlight of Monday night and it’s easy to see how the stars aligned perfectly for disaster.
Football has become America’s game and if this referee problem isn’t figured out soon, it could change the landscape of the game as we know it.