I give way too much of my time, money, and energy to the NFL to be treated like this.
I tried to write this column in the immediate aftermath, and just couldn’t bring myself too. I was too angry. I’ve definitely been sadder after Packers losses – this Week 3 heartbreaker probably doesn’t even crack the top-10 – but I’ve never been more mad. The results of last night’s game are completely illegitimate. (I won’t even bother to describe the play in question because you’ve no doubt already seen it.)
I’m still just as pissed as I was last night.
It is mind-boggling to me that last night’s egregious outcome was allowed to happen. Refereeing like this should only happen in Boxing and FIFA Soccer matches, when the officials are BRIBED.
The NFL and the real refs are, at most, $100k per team, per year, apart on negotiations. According to Darren Rovell, $150-250 million in bets were swung on last night’s results alone. Think the gamblers don’t matter? Why on Earth then would the Packers have been forced to come out of the locker room to defend a meaningless extra point last night after they had been jobbed? If I were a player or coach on that team, there would have been no amount of prodding on league officials’ part that would have made me not REFUSE to go out there.
Even if the referees are partially in the wrong here to grasp onto their antiquated pensions, how does it make sense for the NFL owners to stand by this disgrace in stubborn principle?
“But the ratings and attendance haven’t suffered so they don’t care.” – Shit everybody says.
Yet. They haven’t suffered yet.
You know what has suffered? The “integrity of the shield,” lauded so often and so insufferably by Roger Goodell, who is looking more and more like an empty suit by the hour. This rusting of the shield may not have immediate impact on the owners’ bottom line but when franchises are bought and sold not on fundamental valuations, but on perceived benefits of the NFL brand, the integrity of competition has to matter much more than the peanuts that are being haggled over.
People on Twitter keep comparing these referees to those in pro wrestling. But, in the WWE, extreme miscarriages of justice happen when the ref gets like knocked out with a chair and misses nefarious interference or a blatant pin-fall. They’re never right in front of the refs like this was.
And why was the play upheld upon further review? While referees can’t change a simultaneous possession ruling to an interception, they could have ruled the pass incomplete.
Honestly, I’m glad this happened.
A debacle like this – where a team blatantly gets screwed in the final seconds, and cannot be told to “play through” the error – had to happen before there was a brawl or life-threatening injury sustained as a result of the replacement refs’ utter incompetence. That it had to be the Packers is fine. They can recover. They have 13 weeks to cement their status as a Playoff team and this is something that they’re just gonna have to overcome. Unlike a broken neck that could leave a player paralyzed for the rest of his life, it’s ultimately correctable.
“Well what are you gonna do about it? Not watch the games? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”
I’m actually going to boycott the NFL.
I won’t miss Packers games – those are too scarce. There are only 16 of them a year and they are to be cherished and loved. But, I’m not watching NFL Network, clicking on or linking to NFL.com, or watching any other NFL games until the real refs are back. (We’ll see if I actually follow the last part but I’m DEFINITELY adhering to the first two.)
This is a major sacrifice for me. I probably watch more than 90% of the league’s TV minutes per season. On Sundays, I never miss the noon kickoff, and keep watching until the Sunday night game is over. I watch the entirety of Monday Night and Thursday Night Football. I’ve skipped cave excursions in Borneo to watch football. The NFL is my five favorite sports.
But, until the owners swallow their pride and get the real refs back WHO THEY LOCKED OUT IN THE FIRST PLACE, I’m just done.
We deserve better than this. Right now, the game we love is a complete disgrace.