Every once in a while I like to watch a good comedy. I’ve seen that Zooey Deschanel show “New Girl” a few times and thought it was pretty funny. Let’s be honest though, if it didn’t star Zooey Deschanel, I don’t think I would have ever given it a chance in the first place so my mindset isn’t right to begin with so never mind. I also think “Parks and Recreation” is pretty good as well but my preferred time suck on television is usually a super serious hour-long drama. I love the twists and turns and then when it’s all over and done with, you really have no idea what you actually just watched, you just know that you enjoyed the pretty pictures go by.
I bring this up only because for the first time in my life there is a show on television that puts all of these components into one exhaustively long program that airs at least three nights a week. With the NFL you get all the comedy, drama and head spinning mysticism of an episode of “Lost” in every single broadcast. Now the NFL has been coming close to this point for some time now, but with the advent of the new series regulars this year in the replacement referee’s, I think they finally perfected the formula.
These new characters bring all the hilarity of an episode of “Seinfeld”, with the head-spinning craziness of a show like “Flash-Forward”. After every episode you are a little cross-eyed, tired from laughing and can’t stop saying to yourself, “These guys don’t actually know where they’re going with this, right?” I am of course over generalizing what is going on right now with the league but in some regards I still don’t think I am going far enough with it.
The thing that cracks me up the most is that this is just now happening. Now I’m not saying that the referee strike should have happened a long time ago, I honestly still can’t believe these guys get paid as much as they do, but it’s not like this is some far fetched occurrence that came out of nowhere. It all started a long time ago in a sport that doesn’t even resemble the one being played on the field today. Instant replay was first in the league twenty years ago and by all intensive purposes, it worked well. Then they got rid of it because for one reason or another, it was deemed unnecessary. Which in my mind made literally no sense what’s so ever.
Then a couple of years later when George Lucas finally let the public share in his digital technology that he uncovered from the Roswell crash, the NFL converted to HD and all of a sudden instant replay was deemed necessary again. Only this time, the referees had more control over it. We all know what happened soon after that and by this I mean the referees were no longer held accountable for their actions. “Hey, if we miss the call who cares, just look at the television and figure it out”. The only problem with this was that it didn’t work. Their laziness led to more and more rule changes that only made the problem worse. What was once a very simple game had been turned into a game of Sudoku, meaning even after you figure it out, you realize you’re still just looking at a pile of meaningless numbers.
The thing is though instead of it turning people off, the game only got bigger. It got so big that when the league locked itself out last year, you would have thought the country was at war (oh wait…). The ratings and interest level in the NFL are so high that the league can literally do no wrong, even when that’s all it seems to do anymore.
Which brings us to where we are now. The referees want more money and the NFL is unwilling to give it to them. This is no different then any other strike at a shop or a factory in the real world. Replacement workers have been brought in and the work has suffered drastically…or has it. This is truly where the NFL has told the greatest joke of all. They have brought these referees in that everybody seems to hate. Players and coaches can’t stop crying; so much so that it is honestly affecting their play. They have all of us crying to bring the old referees back, even though these are the same guys that we have been ******** about since the beginning of time.
Now some might say, “No way, this makes the old referees look good, everyone wants them back!” That should be the case but with the addition of instant replay being allowed on just about every play, this changes everything. Which is where the real trick lies: If the NFL was ever going to do something drastic, now is the perfect time. They have set this system up to be automated for over a decade now, coupled with the crying from players and coaches at an all time high, now would be the time for them to give it a shot. The first ever sport to be completely controlled by the technology that everyone can’t seem to get enough of. This way, when there is an issue it will just be blamed on the system and not a person.
The NFL would finally have complete control over every aspect of the game and the players and coaches would no longer have to deal with that pesky human element anymore. What they would be left with is a league that is so obsessed with controlling its sport, that it has just about deemed the actual play irrelevant. They would have finally perfected a safe way to play football, a game that is structured without any arguments. Now I’m not saying this is going to happen, but who’s to say it’s not already being considered. Which in my mind is funny and maddening at the same time and honestly, that’s really all I’m ever looking for.