This is a public service announcement intended to warn the masses of a complete nervous breakdown of one of the most profitable organizations known to man. The NFL, that global sports league that is a $9.5Billion enterprise, has decided to skimp on its product by offering a generic brand that does no satisfy any longer. The reason? A paltry $3.3Million and a decision to go with a pension instead of a $401K plan is basically all that stands between its owners and the referees that control the game. Are you serious?
Where are you Commissioner Roger Goodell? Why have you not stepped in and mediated this atrocity and fielded the best personnel in order to advance the game of football? Throughout the preseason, every team, fan, bettor and casual observer knew that the replacement referees would need some time to adjust to life in the NFL. However, through the first three weeks, the transition has been absolutely horrendous and in most instances, game changing. There are simply too many games now that are being decided by the refs instead of the players and coaches, and quite honestly, this can not continue.
Phantom pass interference calls, non-calls on holding, misinterpretations of rules and basic math on spotting the ball are the predominant topics after the game, not the actual breakdown of the game itself. Sunday night’s match between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens ended on one of those phantom interference calls and there were 24 penalties between the teams. Monday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks saw another 24 penalties and a hail mary toss at the end that saw two different officials give two different signals while only a couple feet from each other. The final ruling was that it was a simultaneous catch by the defender and receiver, and the Seahawks won the game, even though clearly it was an INT.
Can you continue to live with the fact Roger, that this would never have happened under Paul Tagliabue or Pete Rozelle? Can you understand that if this continues, revenues will go down as fans get fed up and no longer tune in on their tv’s or go to the games? Will you send out meaningless statements after each weekend that explain nothing, defending your replacement refs and watching your product sour? When will it end, Roger? When will you realize that as a liaison to the owners it is your duty to help them understand just how much this league is suffering? Or will you just sit back and know that no matter what, the fans will be there, just like they were after the lockout in 2011.
That is what you are counting on, Roger. You are betting on the fact that the fans are idiots and will always remain loyal. But it is a different scenario when your team loses, not by lack of effort, but by outside forces that no longer can control the game. Bring back the real referees, not these everyday people that are fans of the teams they are refereeing. The money should not be the issue. The pension should not be the issue. The only issue should be the dwindling of support that has built this league into the strongest in the world. Wrong headlines to grab, Roger. We all just hope you find your backbone and lead the NFL like it needs to be led. Your league needs you, Roger. And never forget that you need this league.
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