Replacing more than just the refs
September 20, 2012
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Football season is upon us, Paly. And with the return of America’s beloved sport comes the typical array of bar fights, Boomer and “C’mon Man!”s.
However, this year we have a new addition thrown into the mix: replacement referees. As many of you already know, Roger Goodell has yet to come to terms with Ed Hochuli and gang to get the real “OG” refs back in the game. As a result, we the fans are left with Curly, Larry and Moe refereeing our beloved Sunday matchups. Although this small change may seem entirely superfluous to one’s Sunday experience, the truth is that not only does it significantly detract from one’s experience, but it also displays a disturbing trend in the NFL’s headquarters.
First and foremost, let’s address the referees themselves. In the words of Charles Barkley, they are simply “turrible”. Some of the calls have been downright pitiful. While it may be at times hilarious, the refs’ clear incompetence could bring about some key missed calls that can change a game.
Now in no way do I promote professional athletes complaining about referees like AYSO soccer players, but if these refs continue their seemingly endless streak of missed calls, it is very likely that they will play a role in some controversial wins and losses this year. It is clear that these refs just aren’t accustomed to the speed of the game and that they are in no way fit to be officiating such a complex game at its highest level.
Despite the fact that I could roast the Busch-league refs for hours on end, there is a much more important issue lying in this situation. This issue, of course, is the NFL’s clear disregard for anything that doesn’t affect its bottom line.
It’s clear to anyone that has tuned in on Sundays or used any form of social media that there is a massive outcry for the NFLRA and the NFL to come to terms in order to get these chumps who call themselves referees back to Foot Locker. However, Commissioner Goodell has very little motivation to change anything. The referees have zero leverage in their negotiations. At the moment, the replacement referees are only bringing more people to their television sets. These people, who wouldn’t regularly tune in, sit down to see what all the fuss is about. Simply put, it will be a very long time until the replacement referees mar the reputation of the sport to the point where advertisers, the media and fans will begin to shy away.
Roger Goodell doesn’t care that these refs detract from one’s Sunday experience and botch simple calls that can affect a team’s record, and in turn, financial success. At the end of the day, he’s still collecting the same amount of money and has no reason to give the NFLRA better pay and benefits. This, in a nutshell, sums up what is wrong with professional sports.
This brings up the debate of whether college sports, where athletes receive no pay (with the exception of Miami), are more entertaining and accurate representations of what sport should be. As Stanford rung the bell of USC on a rowdy Saturday night, I found it hard to disagree. But that is another topic, for another day.
Until next time…