Sep 252012
replacement refs blow it in Seattle


What the NFL has done this season with the replacement refs is a disservice to everyone: the teams, the players, the coaches, the fans and, perhaps most of all, the replacement referees themselves.

The third weekend of NFL play was by far the worst of all. It seemed every single game was marked by blown calls, confused looks on the refs’ faces and even the loss of control of a game. From John Harbaugh bullying and conning refs into an extra timeout to players taking advantage of no-calls and launching themselves helmet first into ball carriers and QBs to awarding a phantom touchdown to Seattle’s Gold Tate, the Mt St Helens-like volcanic eruption of anger and indignation from almost all quarters has landed a ton of “you gotta be kidding me” molten lava on the heads of Roger Goodell and his band of billionaire bandit owners.

“After further review, the call on the field stands!”

Really? Which call? the one from the ref that saw the play, waving his hands like he is calling a runner safe at home, or the one from the ref that didn’t see a thing and signaled touchdown Seattle?

(Both signals were wrong. The signal should have been for a touch back.)

The owners may not budge. They may not care that the ever-deteriorating league over which they preside has become a sideshow to rival anything P.T. Barnum could have ever envisioned. They may, as Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports so eloquently put it, hold the line:

If you subscribe to the theory that the only bad publicity is an obituary – and that the bottom line is some sort of holy covenant – you undoubtedly believe the owners should tune out the noise and press their advantage until the locked-out officials cave and accept a contract to the NFL’s liking.

This may, in fact, be the league’s strategy, and it is well within the owners’ rights to pursue it.

Silver goes on to suggest that the better road is compromise—the owners and the locked-out refs moving towards each other and resolving this dispute.

The debacle in Seattle was one of the most surreal scenes I can ever remember in an NFL game. I don’t know which was more painful to watch:

  • The two refs simultaneously signaling an opposite call;
  • Pete Carroll (the man that left USC in shambles) celebrating like a junior high girl, as if his team had legitimately won the game;
  • The umpire telling the “after further review” joke;
  • The Seahawks kicking the extra point uncontested;
  • Golden Tate insisting he caught the ball.

The debacle in Seattle was more than a win for the Seahawks. It was a win for the NFL refs sitting at home. It was a win for every skilled worker that has ever been made to feel he or she could be easily replaced, that anyone could be trained to do what you do and do it just as well. It was a win for everyone who believes there is more to the bottom line than a dollar sign.

The debacle in Seattle was more than a loss for the Green Bay Packers. It was a loss for the NFL. It was a loss for the owners. It was a loss for the integrity of the league. It was a loss for football fans everywhere.

The debacle in Seattle was a joke. And the joke is on us.