And you thought MLB umpires were bad! Well they are, but they look like all-stars compared to the NFL replacement refs. However, if you feel the officials cost the Green Bay Packers a win last night, there is still a glimmer of hope and it rests on the shoulders of the same man who is partly responsible for the real referees being locked out.
Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL, has the power to reverse the call and give the win to the Packers. I’m not making this up. In the NFL official rulebook (there is no replacement rulebook), there is something called an ’Extraordinary Unfair Act.’ It’s in section 17, article 2 and it is headlined under ‘Commissioner Authority.’ Here’s what it says:
The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which he deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect or the result of the game.
That’s the rule and it’s just a fancy way of saying that Roger Goodell has the power to reverse the call, if he believes an injustice has occurred. I’m sure Packer fans and most fans will agree to that point. A calamity? Not so much, but it’s interesting to note that if Green Bay chose to protest the game, things could get even crazier.
Whether you agree with the call or not, it makes no difference and Goodell is not going to change the outcome of the game but he does have a huge problem on his hands. I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that the replacement officials were eventually going to cost a team a game, and it has finally happened. But it’s actually far worse than anyone even realizes.
This play may not just effect the Packers and Seattle Seahawks, but the entire NFC! Imagine it’s late in the season and the playoffs are on the line — and in this example, the Arizona Cardinals end up in a tie with Seattle. And let’s just say that Seattle wins the tiebreaker and they go to the playoffs and Arizona doesn’t — how mad is Arizona going to be? How mad will you be if your team misses the playoffs because this call pushes another team in and your team out?
See, the result of this one game, this one call, can effect more than just the two teams on the field. The regular officials make mistakes all the time, too, but this mistake has put the entire NFC into a frenzy, even if we don’t realize it now. You can bet that this game will be brought up during weeks 16 and 17 when playoff spots are on the line.
The integrity of the game has been suffering for a few weeks now, and by continuing to use replacement officials whose actions effect the entire league, all integrity appears lost.
No, I don’t blame the refs for everything that went wrong last night because the Green Bay Packers have no one to blame but themselves for getting sacked 9 times and failing to execute offensively. Yet despite all of their faults, they still had the game won and the replacement officials took it from them.
Look, this is hardly the first time officials, replacement or otherwise, have blown a call to decide a game. The difference now is everyone is watching it on TV and the explosion of social media makes everything a huge deal. The call was wrong, we all know it. And until the NFL gets the regular officials back, how can we expect the results to change?
What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, the NFL is officially (see what word I used there?), insane.
Somewhere, the locked out refs are sitting back, having a beer and smiling. Maybe they should tell their wives to go on a shopping spree because they should be on the verge of getting paid.
Enough is enough.
You can follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi