Okay, NFL. The joke’s over. Enough of the blown calls. Enough of the unseen personal fouls and bogus, unprofessional penalty descriptions over the PA.
The second week of the 2012 NFL season is in the books and we still have replacement officials working all games. I had faith that these rookie refs could handle making calls on the big stage, but I was wrong.
Although they have been absolutely horrific, I want to defend the replacement refs a little because it isn’t their fault; it’s the NFL’s fault.
Most of these poor guys (and lady) have never officiated a football game past the division two level in college. Just like it is for players, referees have to adjust to the speed of the game. Each level of football features athletes that are simply bigger and faster. The NFL is the pinnacle of speed, so it seems unfair to bash the officials too much. They are human after all. The game simply happens to fast for them to see everything.
The real victims in this mess are the coaches and players. Over the years, teams have built relationships with refs after working with them for so long. Some of the relationships are even on a personal level.
Coaches and players knew the officials’ tendencies. They knew what kinds of calls to expect from a given official and they maintained a comfort level knowing that for the most part, the official would make the right call.
That is no longer the case. Future hall of fame linebacker Ray Lewis said it best when he told the media “There are calls that the regular refs, if they were here, we know how the calls would be made.”
Although Roger Goodell instructed them not to, multiple players have publicly expressed their disapproval of the replacement officials. Most of them are concerned about the effect of the integrity of the game, and I tend to agree.
But what’s more important to the leauge, money or integrity? It’s a question worth asking considering this entire dispute between the refs and the NFL is all about the benjamins.
The NFL seems like they are losing the fight. The officials that are on strike take a step closer towards their victory each time a player speaks out against the replacements.
I can see it; The striking officials sitting on their couch watching constant reports of frustration, disappoval and anger towards the officiating and saying too each other “Hah. Bet they want us back now.”
Goodell and the NFL seem to be backed into the corner of the ring and their legs are getting weak. How much longer can they take the jabs that are the media and players’ disapproval? Maybe it will take a haymaker across the jaw, like a blown call at the end of a game that resuslts in a team losing an important, divisional game.
The point is that the problem needs to be fixed before it gets worse. The league needs to figure out a way to end the dispute with the officials in order to get them back on the field, and I think they know it.
In the end, this nightmare could actually prove to be a blessing. Maybe we will learn to respect officials for the hard work that they do and how impressive their officiating skills really are. Applaud them for good calls, rather than cursing their very existence each time they miss a call on the field.