Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/10/14

For all intents and purposes the National Football League as of today has been relegated to a circus. From players taking to social networking sites to curse out the officiating crew, to some of the League’s most prominent coaches chasing after refs and getting physical, the game is the proverbial asylum and the patients are running wild.

The NFL’s on-going feud with the regular referees has pressed on with either side not willing to give an inch. As the weeks progress and with every bone-headed flag tossed, every missed call and every 20 minute tape review the regular refs are gaining more and more leverage. The NFL and the refs are reportedly just $3.3 million dollars away in negotiations, but the NFL is stubborn and doesn’t want to concede. If I can be so blunt as to mention that the NFL makes in excess of $10 billion in revenue each year, so why in the blue hell is the League willing to risk their integrity just for the sake of nickle and diming?

Yesterday’s game between the Packers and Seahawks was the final nail in the coffin. Many had seen it coming for weeks, and deep down it’s the NFL’s worst nightmare come true, the replacement refs blew a game. And it’s not so much as just blowing the game (if that’s not bad enough) it’s the blatant ‘are you blind?’ totally obvious in every which way manner in which they did it. Now taken, offensive interference calls are arguably the toughest calls in the sport to call, but how do you go from thinking possible offensive interference to full on touchdown? And then there’s the bare facts of the matter, two refs right there in the Endzone one is signaling touchdown the other is signaling interception…which one is it? The lack of consistency and just plain ole fashion common sense is frankly maddening.

Add to the everything the very poignant fact that the Greenbay Packers do not even have an owner who could’ve raised hell to the NFL offices about this, and it feels like we’re stuck at square one again. The Owners are the main cogs in the referee strike, as they’re the ones who ultimately get matters resolved. The Greenbay Packers are owned by the average citizens of Greenbay, there is no mega sauve billionaire Jerry Jones-type figure at play to say ‘Look we have to get things done’. Now, if there is one positive thing from the end of the game from Sunday between the Patriots and Ravens it’s that over 20 million Americans bore witness to one of the most prominent and reserved coaches in Bill Belichick (for lack of a better word) go ******* on the substitute refs.

There’s a domino affect of rebelliousness brewing throughout the league with the players giving absolutely no damns about the Open Letter the NFL put out essentially asking them to not be mean to the refs. Well, that experiment has failed, and not only do the players openly bash the refs they take advantage of their lack of experience as well and we’re witnessing games where there’s no decorum whatsoever. From players getting into near fisticuffs, to uncalled chop blocks, swats at receivers and players being pushed down to the ground with no calls it’s just turned into ‘WWE Raw’. Then there’s the off-field matters that the refs’ lack of experience is bringing about like with games running over.

Sunday Night’s game ended at 11:58 PM EST…that’s midnight for East coasters and with many people having jobs to go to in the morning that’s not acceptable. The latest ending 4:25 PM game  was the one between the Raiders and Steelers, that didn’t end till 8pm when by that time the NFL pays good money to have fans tuned to NBC for the pregame show. Hell, even Redzone cut off after that time and many people could’ve even watch the ending of the game altogether. The NFL runs on a very precise and sensitive schedule that’s directly tied back to money–you mess with the schedule and you mess with their money. God forbid if Monday’s disaster doesn’t open the NFL’s eyes up hopefully the losing money part will.

But let’s put aside some of our anger for a second and look at the matter as a whole. It’s not the replacement refs fault (albeit I still have no idea what they were looking at Monday) they lack the experience to do a job that even the professional refs consistently have a hard time doing. You can’t just throw them into open water with no life vest and expect them to swim, the NFL did a horrendous job in not preparing them. There’s is too much money, too many devoted fans and too much at stake to put into the hands of what are just amateurs in this field, (literally) and the NFL is truly to blame for this. These are just average people trying to do a job, and sadly they were not given the proper training beforehand to take on this mammoth task.

So as of today as we enter Week 4 what is the NFL? The NFL issued out a statement today saying that Golden Tate’s push to Sam Shields was offensive interference and that a penalty should’ve been called thus ending a game. They then went on to say (after half blowing off the fact that even had offensive interference were the case the refs didn’t call it) that it was a simultaneous catch and added some bullets from the rule book which in no way applied to this play. Take the NFL’s statement for what it is, you’d have to be quite naive to assume they’d come right out and admit they screwed up big time.

But let’s talk about the integrity of the game as it stands now, it seems almost like something from ‘Lord of the Flies’ with the sense of ‘lawlessness’ teeming throughout as all the players ignore all authority. I want to refrain from using the ‘m’ word which is mutiny, because if it gets to the point where players don’t even want to play under this system we’re going to have a huge problem. The NFL is at a crossroads now, for so long they’ve been able to thumb their noses at the fans because they knew we just couldn’t turn away. But now everyone from everywhere is coming out to attack the NFL’s stance on this matter, even their own employees are outraged. The impenetrable walls the NFL had built may not be as invincible as once thought. And for once, maybe this one time we will see the NFL do something we haven’t seen it do…show humility and come down from their throne for the sake of its fans.

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

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