I’m sure that every NFL fan in the world is upset with the replacement officials, as they are getting heavy criticism for how they have done during the first three weeks of the season.
It got even worse Monday night with that debacle on the last play of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
You know the National Football League Referees Association was hoping for just that for leverage in their negotiations with the league on a new collective bargaining agreement. The worse the officials are, the more the real officials will be wanted. In fact, on Wednesday there was a leak that said there suddenly was “progress” in negotiations with the NFLRA.
Still the lockout persists and we can expect to see replacement officials hurting our enjoyment of the game for their incompetence.
The lockout will continue until one group of people finally decide enough is enough. That group of people? The players themselves.
Just before the season started, NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith said a strike was not off the table when it came to getting the replacement officials off the field. He has yet to follow through on that threat, though he did send a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claiming the the replacement officials create unsafe working conditions that were agreed upon to end their lockout.
Goodell brought in the replacement officials so that the games would still go on and the NFL could continue to make money. If the players actually did strike the games wouldn’t go on and the league wouldn’t make the money they are now.
And if the players did strike the NFL would negotiate in a hurry with the regular referees and get them back on the field quickly so that the games played on.
Of course, that won’t happen. The players want to get paid also, and if they didn’t play they wouldn’t get paid. Also all those incentive bonuses in their contract wouldn’t get met, so there wouldn’t be any extra money to be made there either.
And what about the fans? Even though the fans never mattered to NFL types, not having the games would be killer to the league. The public backlash that would cause would be difficult to overcome.
But don’t expect to see anything different any time soon. This is one lockout that is sure to drag on for a long time, if not the entire season.
The complaints will grow, and the NFL will come down harder and harder to silence the critics as they try to spin the replacement officials’ performance in the public eye.
Regardless, if the players and coaches would like to see the regular referees return, they are the ones with the control. They can thwart Goodell’s plan of continuing to make money without the interference of the regular referees. They are the ones who can change how firmly the NFL stays with their stance against the NFLRA.
But since that will never happen, try to enjoy the games as they play on your TV screens.
In my next post, I’ll address the other lockout that is going on as we speak: the NHL lockout.
UPDATE: The players won’t need to do anything, as there was an agreement announced at midnight Wednesday night/Thursday morning between the NFL and the locked-out referees. Early reports have the regular referees working Thursday night’s game.