September 24, 2012

∴ Crowd Calls Bullsh*t On Replacement Officials

If you stayed tuned to last night's Ravens - Pats game through the fourth quarter (I tuned out for a Dark Knight fix in the third) you were witness to what sounded like the entire city of Baltimore chanting "bullshit" at the ref's call. The crowd seemingly spoke with one voice. It was downright remarkable.

What's even more remarkable is the NFL's disregard for the game, the players and the fans for letting this go on so long. The replacement officials are clearly out of their depth. Their calls are all over the place (in one instance a team was awarded two extra coach's challenges yesterday) and in many cases, in error. There is no timeliness to their officiating. The gameplay is suffering.

I cannot believe the cause is anything more than a very greedy league letting their product suffer rather than come to terms with that critical element of their product. The owners simply don't care about poor officiating any more than they care about perpetual poor game play from teams whose owners milk their franchise for every dollar by not paying better players to join them, TV blackouts despite empty stadium seats, and highway robbery prices on souvenirs.

What's at work here is an employer refusing to bargain in a meaningful way for fear of setting a precedent. This is what happens when a monopoly is allowed to continue … the NFL doesn't moderate their position because they don't have to. Where else will fans and players turn for pro football play?

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