NOW have you had enough?
Have you had enough?
It's true... I haven't been on here in a while... but I fully intend to return and voice my concerns on sports in general from college football to college basketball to baseball and everything in between.
Tonight, my vitriol is reserved for the group that has truly proven it deserves the most scorn.
Yes, replacement officials, I am talking about you.
I am not a loyal fan of either the Green Bay Packers or the Seattle Seahawks, but this game... combined with the New England Patriots debacle against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, will convince even the biggest diehards that meaningful, real change is needed to a game that is slowly becoming unwatchable on the field.
The problem with the National Football League is that the league is so popular with fans, it doesn't feel it has to answer to the critics. All commissioner Roger Goodell has to do is point to the TV ratings, the interest in fantasy football and the rabid fans that follow all 32 teams and say our league is perfect.
Except it isn't. And the events of Sunday and Monday have proved it.
I don't have scorn for the replacement referees. I know they are trying. Yet Goodell has thrown them into an unwinnable situation, a situation so nightmarish that many referees will be happy to return to the college game or their other regular jobs. (I particularly feel bad for Shannon Eastin, who made history as the first female NFL official. Too bad she'll never work another game in this league ever again.)
If you're among those saying "what's the big deal?" you're missing the point. Or in this case, points:
*Blown calls. Green Bay had the INTERCEPTION in the end zone Monday night, Seattle didn't have the touchdown. Tennessee shouldn't have had 15 extra yards tacked onto a personal foul in Sunday's game.
*No calls. Wonder if Matt Schaub recovered the piece of his earlobe that was hacked off from that vicious hit Sunday in the Texans-Broncos game? That hit should have merited a player ejection, a five-figure fine... instead, no flag. In that same Tennessee game, a blatant facemask penalty called by an official but overruled by another who picked up the flag and waved it, saying there was no foul.
*The official who is a New Orleans Saints fan. Sorry, if you're an official in pro football or any sport, you should have NO team loyalties or hide them pretty damn well. Don't advertise who your favorite team is on Facebook.
The NFL is coming perilously close here to undoing its status as America's Game. I made a joke on Facebook that these replacement refs should be kept because if they were, maybe baseball would be the national pastime once again before the 2013 season.
Although my true loyalties lie to baseball, I was making a joke.
This isn't a joke. This is real.
Roger, your league is on the verge of becoming the laughingstock of pro sports. Didn't someone tap you on the shoulder and say "uhhhh, Commissioner, are you SURE this is a good idea?"
Between the league's contemptuous treatment of veteran players, who scrape and fight for back pensions they rightfully should have earned, and the league's shameful assessment of concussions and how they really affect football players, people should be taking a second look at the NFL and how it handles its business.
And then this comes along.
The gap between what the officials want and what the NFL is offering is $3.3 million per season, according to Sports Illustrated football guru Peter King.
And don't think twice.
If the league insists on keeping this sham going once again in Week 4, here's what the players should do.
Come out for pre-game warmups. Then, right at the time the game is supposed to begin, walk off the field in unison.
Stay off the field for 15 minutes. Then return.
If the players can demonstrate their loyalty in one display before every game, maybe Roger Goodell will listen.
Sunday and Monday proved one thing. It's not even one month into the season and the fans are fed up.
The NFL thinks it's perfect.
A whole bunch of fans are about to tell Goodell otherwise.