The NFL is the Titanic of sports. It’s big, fast, powerful, and at the moment it’s sinking fast. After watching last nights match up between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, I think it is safe to say that Roger Goodell has done a poor job “protecting the shield”. I was originally a supporter of Goodell’s reluctance to give in to the NFL referees demands. In reality, being an NFL referee is the best part-time job anyone can have. So give me a break refs, you guys need to appreciate the fact that you have the highest per-game salary in American sports. That being said, Goodell has truly tarnished one of the most powerful and influential brands in the world in the course of 3 short weeks. The debate is over and the verdict is in, the replacement referees are taking away from the integrity of the game. As Steve Young put it last night after the game, “everybody senses it, that this is impacting the competitive landscape of the NFL and it brings it down”. Trent Dilfer, an ESPN analyst, took it one step further by claiming that “the NFL has insulted our intelligence by trying to tell us that this isn’t a big deal.”
The intensity surrounding the referee lockout seems to have increased dramatically since last night’s GAME WINNING Hail Mary “catch” by Golden Tate. In the final seconds of what was otherwise a fairly droll match up between Seattle and Green Bay, Wilson hurled a desperate final pass into the corner of the end zone. As Packers Safety M.D. Jennings and Seahawks Wide Receiver Golden Tate came down both possessing the ball (80% Jennings 20% Tate) the referee signaled for a touchdown. This was under the stipulation that in the case of “simultaneous” possession, the catch is awarded to the offense. As all scoring plays are reviewed with the most sophisticated slow motion technology known to man, the world assumed the replacement refs would catch their mistake and reverse the horrible call. But unfortunately simultaneous possession is not a reviewable call. The game will go down in the books as a Seattle win over the Packers. But this touchdown call will go down as one of the worst and most influential on field decisions in NFL’s history.
It is important to keep in mind that these replacement referees are not at fault for the missed and wrong calls happening throughout the league. These are former Social Studies teachers and Lingerie Football League officials out on America’s biggest stage, doing the best they can. But trying telling that to those who bet on last night’s game. “The shift was 100%. After the Seahawks score, all bets were reversed” leading to an approximate $200 million swing on the bet. The outcome of last night’s game must have put Goodell’s feet to the fire over the referee lockout. Especially since Twitter is now buzzing with death threats.