If you have checked your Facebook newsfeed on the last few Sundays or Monday Nights (or Thursday nights for that matter), chances are you have seen some significant rants about the ‘performance’ of the replacement referees brought in by the league while the normal officials are in contract talk lockout.
The talk isn’t just the normal grousing you would expect when your favored team loses – I have seen friends complain when THEIR team won about the job done against the opposing team.
And it extends to players and coaches as well – here are a few quotes:
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I have never seen anything like that in my time in football.”
“These games are a joke,” Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman tweeted.
FoxSports has a whole list of player tweets regarding the refs.
The issue is that the referees have been locked out of their jobs due to contract disputes. There is a good summary here, but basically:
The main issue? No surprise there – it’s money. It’s always money when it comes to these things, of course. The referees feel that the raise offered to them by the NFL were too much lower than the raises they got back in 2006, the last time the two sides renegotiated. They claim that, despite record revenues for the NFL, they want to cut costs by underpaying their officials
And … by hiring replacement workers they essentially shift the power in the negotiation wholly to their side. As noted, while the replacement refs are happy to get the money and fame of officiating the NFL, it devalues the bargaining position of the REAL refs.
So far we have seen what is described the most systemic bad officiating – and worse yet INCONSISTENT officiating – in the history of the NFL. Many games have been won and lost in the final seconds due to calls made or not made, and the total randomness of the outcomes makes it hard to even the most ardent fans to celebrate some of the outcomes.
What do you think? Should the players take action as some have suggested and force the league to deal with the issue? Should the real refs just deal with already getting better deals than any other league and get back to work? Or … what?