Replacement Refs Drop Ball on TD
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 10:09
“Touchdown” was the signal from a replacement official at the end of Monday night’s historic debacle between the Packers and Seahawks. Instead of pausing to confer with his partner to determine who caught the Hail Mary pass — who six million viewers could tell you was not a Seahawk — the officials decided to uphold the touchdown ruling after a review that clearly showed a Packer come down with the ball.
The atrocious call capped three clumsy weeks of officiating by the National Football League’s replacement officials, who are former Division II college referees (Division I officials were not allowed to work for the NFL for contractual reasons).
Fans, players, and coaches alike have been frustrated about the fact that poor officiating, rather than team performance, has dictated the outcome of several contests over the last three weeks.
The integrity of the NFL is in jeopardy, and one man should take the blame. That man is Roger Goodell.
The NFL’s sixth year commissioner, responsible for 32 owners, millions of fans and 1,700 players, is the bridge between the NFL as a profit-maximizing, multi-billion dollar business and the NFL as America’s most popular and trusted professional sports league. His job is to prevent the owners’ greed from bleeding into the on-field product. In essence, he is responsible for keeping fans and players happy.
Goodell defaced the integrity of the NFL to save a petty $3.2 million, the price of giving referees their traditional pension plans. In a league that generates $9 billion per year in revenue, this accounts for about .04 percent of total revenues. His behavior suggests the NFL cares more about miniscule marginal profits than it does about fan and player satisfaction.
Goodell’s actions suggest he believes that NFL fans will be there no matter how poor the product. The current state of affairs raises an important question: how much blind loyalty to the NFL is too much? At what point do the fans, players and coaches boycott the NFL for its greed and negligence?
Unfortunately, the NFL’s market cannot be satisfied through college and semi-professional football, making it a monopoly. NFL executives are banking that poor officiating will not affect viewership.
Our commissioner should have paid the refs before the season and he should have done so after the disasters in weeks one and two. Goodell’s image is ruined, but there is still hope for the league. Luckily for him, most fans do not realize the greed that caused this mess.
Let’s hope by the time the new San Francisco 49ers’ stadium is built in Santa Clara, it will house a sport that still has some dignity left.
Max Minowitz is a senior political science major and an associate reporter for The Santa Clara.