Replacement Refs Prove Real Refs Deserve More Money
by Gus Jarvis
Sep 27, 2012 | 1045 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

If you are reading this and the scab NFL replacement referees haven’t yet been kicked back to the high school field before this weekend’s games, it should serve as a warning sign that the NFL is going straight down the toilet.

Before I get into this, though, I must first backtrack. It was a few weeks ago when I wrote one of these manic columns about the NFL’s replacement refs and how they won’t be such a big deal – that these refs will do a standup job while the labor dispute gets ironed out. I believe I even stated something along the likes of, “We aren’t trying to land on the moon here, we’re ref-ing a football game. How hard can it be?”

Apparently landing on the moon or Mars or any other planet in the solar system is easier than ref-ing an NFL football game. I was a complete fool to think this wouldn’t be a big deal. I was totally ignorant in my judgment of these scabs. Not only have they done just about as bad a job as possible, they somehow get worse every week. Hell, with these guys wearing the stripes, I’m not sure we’ll be watching anything that resembles football if this goes on much longer.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Broncos lost their last two football games because of these refs. Yes, they played a big part in those losses, but Peyton Manning and the Broncos are simply ironing things out in a tough schedule. That’s how things go. But any enjoyment of those last two games was completely bled from them because of the refs.

At first, it didn’t seem like the scabs were missing too many calls. Yes, some were missed, but there are always missed/blown calls and there always will be. What became very apparent early on with these guys is that they have no control over the players, coaches or the game.

The Monday night showdown between the Broncos and the Falcons was proof. How long was that game? Did they spend something like 20 or 30 minutes reviewing calls and arguing with the coaches? Maybe not that much, but it sure felt like it. There was no rhythm to the game, which was on the cusp of chaos throughout the evening. You could tell by that game alone that trouble was brewing across the league with the players, coaches and these nervous refs.

Last weekend, more of the same occurred. There was no control over the games, and it seemed like the way to winning a game was to get into the ref’s ear about a call or non-call and they would throw a flag, just because someone told them to. I’m not sure who said it over sports talk radio last week, but he was right in saying the situation has morphed into a substitute-teacher-in-a-classroom situation.

If the substitute teacher doesn’t lay down the law on the first day in the classroom, it won’t be long before the kids seize control. These substitute refs did not take control of this league early on in the season, and now they have lost control. These players and coaches are walking all over them, and there is nothing these poor refs can do about it. They have lost the control battle and they will never be respected on the field again. The boys in Vegas knew this early and have adjusted their spreads, because the home team with these refs have an added advantage. (Turns out these refs listen to hometown fans, as well.)

So the loss of control was one thing. Now they are just blowing calls, plain and simple, and oftentimes actually don’t know the rules surrounding certain situations. It’s gone from bad to worse. The NFL is in a complete state of chaos right now. Fans are pissed. Players are pissed. Everyone watching the game is shaking their heads at this nasty situation.

Here’s a snapshot of the NFL right now: Coaches are challenging plays they can’t challenge. Coaches are so angered that they are being fined for either bumping, grabbing or berating the refs. Players don’t stop when the whistle blows. Skirmishes after the play aren’t stopped fast enough. Announcers are having to quietly tell their audience that now may be the time to end the labor strike and bring in the professionals.

The NFL is in chaos and it led to Monday night’s final-play questionable victory by the Seahawks over Green Bay. No need to get into the details of it here. You’ve seen it on TV. Two refs confer over a possible game-winning catch. They both signal a different call. It goes to the review booth. The booth says the catch is good. The catch really isn’t good.

The video has gone viral, and it’s proof that this league really isn’t the National Football League any more. For those of us who like to make our weekends interesting, it’s hard to even bet on these games any more. That blatantly wrong call in the Green Bay game shifted nearly $250 million in bets instantly. That’s bad business for Vegas, and in the long run, that’s bad business for football.

Does anyone remember the XFL? It was that cross between WWF wrestling and football? It was kind of a circus. Nobody could really understand why it was being played the way it was being played. Well, it didn’t last long.

I get the same feeling when I watch NFL football these days as well. Very chaotic, not easy to understand. It’s a circus. If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t settle this labor dispute with the pro refs, the NFL could be heading for some dark times.

And that’s who this really falls on right now. I’ve berated the replacement refs in this column. While their inability to referee a football game is their fault, it’s not their fault they are still in the game. They should have been pulled last week.

Goodell needs to understand that he’s losing this battle and he should understand it right now. The pro refs have all the leverage in the world. Hell, they can probably ask for even more money, now.

The pro refs have proved they are worth their paychecks, and the sooner we can get back to them the better. Frankly, Goodell needs to pull his head out of his ass and sign the check to get the real refs back to work.

I hope when you sit down to read this that decision will have already been made. I suspect that it will.

Twitter: @gusgusj

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