NFL has a real problem with replacement refs

AP Photo/Mike Roemer

Last night was one of the low moments in the history of the NFL.

With that changed the course of an entire game, the league changed its course as well. We found out that commissioner Roger Goodell cares about winning his labor dispute with the locked-out referees more than putting the best possible product on the field for the fans.

Players and coaches have been trying to bully the replacement refs on the field for the first four weeks of the regular season — four weeks we thought would be officiated by the professional refs. When we watched the debacles that ensued in the first few weeks of the preseason, we all sat back and convinced ourselves it was so ugly that Goodell would have no choice but to get the real referees onto the field for Week 1, by any means necessary.

How wrong we were.

Everyone has different positions on the dispute between Goodell and the refs; Some fans believe the commissioner needs to show refs the money, while others are convinced he can’t budge and needs to refuse the demands of the union to give the partially-employed refs pension after they retire. Guess what? Both sides are equally as right as the other, and they’re both equally wrong.

And no matter how bad the product on the field gets, things won’t change until the fans start tuning out.

I’ll say this — I won’t stop watching the Falcons, regardless of what is happening around the league. My team has been largely avoided in the bad-officiating epidemic, aside from the occasional forgetting-how-many-yards-to-step-off-for-a-penalty snafu. I can live with that, even though the zebras should be able to do that correctly. Something like that rarely affects the outcome of a game like a bad pass interference call or a missed call on the goal line could, even with the benefit of instant replay.

The Falcons are simply playing too well for me to tune out and make my voice heard, and if Atlanta has to go all the way to the Super Bowl with replacement officials, so be it. Besides, I don’t blame the officials for anything that’s happening. I blame Roger Goodell, who is the guy who would have to hand that Lombardi Trophy to my team at the end of the season if they won the championship.

So if you want my simple answer, the easiest way to get the real officials back is to stop watching. That, of course, would only work if everyone else stopped watching, too. And as you just read, that won’t happen.

If you look at the numbers, you’d know that people are obsessed with the disaster unfolding. According to ESPN Stats and Research, SportsCenter showings after last night’s debacle averaged 6.46 million viewers per minute, making it the most-watched episode of the show ever. It’s been a decade since SportsCenter was in peak form, so those numbers show the morbid curiosity the fans have with the sad situation.

Football fans want to see change for the better, and they want their old referees back. But they’re not going to eat a $90 ticket on Sunday afternoon because the refs might blow a call, so the stadiums will remain packed and people will be as passionate about their teams as ever.

I just hope the players and coaches show more patience going forward, because it’s sad watching them curse out referees who clearly don’t belong at the highest level (when is the league office going to fine Patriots head coach Bill Belichick for running down a ref and making contact with him Sunday night, by the way?). If they did, they’d be there already, and they, too, would be sitting on the sideline right now, waiting for a deal from the commissioner.

Are you going to boycott the NFL, or will you continue to watch? I want to know. Please leave me a comment below and make your voice heard.

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Categories: Atlanta, Football

Author:Sean Breslin

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7 Comments on “NFL has a real problem with replacement refs”

  1. September 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    No love for the refs? ;).

    • Sean Breslin
      September 25, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      Honestly, it’s not their fault. But no, they won’t be getting any love from me. I’m not going to call them names, either.

  2. Bob Breslin
    September 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    I’m with you Sean, this is the year of the Falcon and I’ve been waiting too long for this team. I will watch till the glorious end, Falcons beating the Patriots in the Superbowl. 28-7. Mattie Ice MVP of league and Superbowl.

    • Sean Breslin
      September 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      Hope you didn’t just jinx them!

  3. September 26, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    We, as fans, are addicts. No, we aren’t going to stay away or not turn the game on t.v. ~ but I have turned to baseball or golf because I get frustrated with ignorant calls in football … play, stop, play, stop, etc. and seemingly the slackies don’t even know what “pass interference” really is ~ and that’s a basic. We all love our respective teams, we don’t want anyone hurt – player or official. Goodell is the mouth piece of the owners. As we know, the owners fight for every penny they make ~ and they are laughing all the way to the bank. Player concern ~ just not there. Fair play and executions of the rules ~ seemingly they could care less. It was mentioned, two alternatives ~ 1- The teams for Thursday night’s game striking ~ no show. 2- The quarterbacks would just take a “knee down” on every play. Since they players are union also ~ they could make a stand. But why? They are getting away with smack talk, bad hits = helmet to helmet, on and on. As stated on 670 The Score ~ the slackies should show up in clown outfits with big red noses!! Now it’s down to which side is more stubborn. One player made a “comparison statement” … “when a player gets hurt, the replacement is expected to the job even tho’ the experience is not there”. And how many times have we been disappointed in those types of results. This a “doubled-edge sword” syndrome for sure. No, the teams that have been unaffected….or get the win….are not going to object too loudly! “) So it goes ~ it is what it is and the owners will continue to get their revenue. Have a great day!! Eli-B

  4. September 26, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    P.S. Goodell is, also, suppose to be the mouth piece for the players …. but to date! Has been pretty biased to the one’s who sign his paycheck! Just a thought.

    • Sean Breslin
      September 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      It stinks to see that the replacement refs have no idea how to keep control of the games. That’s what has bothered me the most.

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