The NFL currently sits in a festering mess of its own creation. After three laborious weeks witnessing mistake after mistake from replacement referees, the debacle that unfolded at Lambeau Field on national television Monday night, seems to be the straw that has broken the camel’s back.
Over the past 24hours (unless you live under a rock), we have all seen the explosion of petty whining, social media expletives and downright childish idiocy from a number of Green Bay Packers players.
Look I get that the Packers feel wronged, watching them lose in such a manner felt frankly hollow as a Chicago Bears fan, but these guys need to implore a basic amount of common sense into the situation.
Posting out Roger Goodell’s phone number over the internet (Clay Matthews III), going on 6 minute tirades about NFL’ corporate greed and it’s hypocrisy over player safety (Aaron Rodgers), not only makes you look stupid and unprofessional, but in truth highlights one of the unmentioned issues in the whole debate over replacement Referees.
The conduct of numerous players and coaches since the first whistle blown by replacement referees has been deplorable. From the word go, players have viewed it is an opportunity to govern themselves.
The number of penalties has increased because intrinsically players believe with rookie referees they will get away with more chippy, dangerous, cheating, and downright idiotic actions on the field. In short they have directly helped to snowball the lawlessness we are currently viewing on NFL fields around the country.
As a result in week 3 we witnessed not only referees second guessing each other on key decisions at Lambeau Field Monday, but an epidemic that is sweeping the league like wild fire.
Matt Schaub damn near had his jaw broken in the Houston Texans versus Denver Broncos matchup, all anyone could say was why was Joe Mays not ejected from the game. Not many actually said why in this modern era of football Mays decided he would get away with such an idiotic hit.
I have lost count of the number of coaches who have been swearing, screaming and in effect dehumanising these referees. It is ridiculous that these guys who know the rules better than anyone, openly abuse them to gain a competitive advantage (Jim Harbaugh in Minnesota this weekend to name but one instance), then scream injustice when a call doesn’t go their way.
Look I am in no way trying to excuse poor decision making or the leagues apparent disinterest in coming to an agreement with the real referees. I merely wish to highlight that the conduct of numerous players and coaches around the league has added fuel to the fire of this collective ineptitude. As always the true losers in the situation are the fans.
To sum up how I feel this situation is progressing, I can’t help but draw a comparison to William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”. Without the eye of an on the field authority, trusted and respected by players and coaches, they are regressing week by week into undisciplined and disrespectful children. As a result, they are also a major contributor to the overall officiating problem.