Replacements are Bad, They Should Feel Bad: Or Why The Hypocritical NFL Is Ruining Everything
Tonight, we saw something amazing. Never before has something like it been seen in the history of the NFL. Sunday night during primetime, a stadium of 70,000 fans chanted curse words with such fervor that the announcers had to address it. The words were so crystal clear and so loud that the only way to remove the sound from the telecast would have been to cut every microphone in the stadium.
The reaction was not because of a fight, not because a player giving the bird to the fans, or because of a single bad calls. The reaction was because of a game so littered with horrible calls, long waits, and just general ineptitude from the officials.
The National Football League has locked out the refs used for years over an estimated cost of $3 million. $3 million is what the NFL has probably already lost because of issues with the current referees. The situation is so bad that the current scabs are a punch line to every joke from people who don’t even follow sports.
The NFL is a non-profit that brought in $10 billion. The NFL is basically recession proof. The fact that the NFL is unwilling to compromise and is going to be the big bully on the school playground is ridiculous.
Roger Goodell is leading a charge with the owners to give an “F you” to the officials and fans of the NFL. The owners are some of the richest people in America, and really no matter how nice people are, money will change them. These people don’t care. They call the shots and they know it. The owners could keep the refs locked out all year and they know people will still watch.
There have been errors of comical proportions. It would be gut-busting hilarious if not for the fact that the company running this show is making billions and is only a couple million apart from the former officials, who, you know, do a good job. An extra timeout was given to John Harbaugh so that he could challenge a play. There were penalties of such ticky-tackiness in Pats-Ravens that they incited laughter whenever a serious penalty was not called. The inconsistency and execution is so poor that games have become almost unwatchable.
Here’s when the NFL’s full-blown hypocrisy is on display. The NFL has been hiding concussion stories for years from players and is now getting sued for it. They have a “Heads Up” tackling campaign to teach proper tackling at the youth football level and have been going on a witch-hunt through the New Orleans for a bounty program that most likely does not exist. However, today there were at least four hits that should warrant suspension that weren’t called. Matt Schaub was hit so hard today on an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit, destructively placed with the crown of the defender’s helmet leading in to the chin of the quarterback. Schaub’s helmet popped off and he was hit so violently that his left ear lobe came off Holyfield-style.
For a league that has made safety its greatest point of emphasis the last few weeks has failed miserably. Players are getting rocked with no repercussions. After almost every snap players are pushing and shoving each other because of cheap shots during play and because they know they won’t get in trouble with the replacement refs.
The refs are such big pushovers to not only players but also to coaches. The NFL had to send a memo to coaches to go easier on refs who have felt “intimidated.” It’s the NFL! Be professional! You’re job is to get it right!
It is absolutely baffling that the NFL is going to continue to let this awful product on the field. The league has constantly stated that protecting the shield is of the most importance. The shield has now become a symbol of corporate greed. The NFL has tried to bully two unions in a single year and with the fans, players, and coaches furious with the current state of the officials, the shield means something else. The shield stands for the billionaire owners, and some of them treat their teams like very expensive toys. Replacement refs have been found to be on the payroll of NFL franchises, be a diehard fan of a team they were set to officiate, and one is a professional gambler, which is directly to the contrary of how the NFL punishes anyone related to gambling in any way, shape, or form.
The replacement officials are jokes. The idea that the NFL is forcing these referees on the general public, many of whom live in cities that have to in some way subsidize arenas so that they have the “honor” of having a team in their city, is also a joke. (Even though most citizens are priced out of attending a game for a stadium they help pay for) Right now the joke is on the fans, players, and coaches. The game tonight was a 31-30 win for the Ravens, but it is hard not to imagine in some way that if the real officials had been officiating, the game would have broken differently. Maybe the Ravens would have still won, but the fans would know that was how it was supposed to happen.
At the end of the game Bill Belichick, one of the most respected coaches in the NFL ran after an official after the game and demanded a review of a call. The ref continued to run away. Like the league, he doesn’t really care. The refs should quit they are that bad and because their total lack of awareness and concern for the quality of their work. I think Bill Belichick symbolizes all of the fans, running after people who don’t care, demanding answers.