Monday, September 24, 2012

NFL Refs ShmeNFL Refs

By Adam Maher

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We've all been on the good and bad side of close calls. In sports, school, love, life. And we've all heard the timeless cliche, "life is not fair," but at what point does the NFLRA lockout break past the idea of a 7-year-old not getting to play video games as much as his 9-year-old brother? Does it ever?

After all, another famous cliche, "it's just a game," strikes a harder jab than Bill Belichick striking an NFLRA replacement ref's arm after losing to the Ravens on a what-looked-to-be-wide-right-from-every-person-who-was-watching's-point-of-view-except-for-the-zebra-under-the-uprights game-losing field goal Sunday night, pleading for a review. And Bill was right! The FG should have been reviewed! If e'ery touchdown is reviewed, why not a GAME WINNING FIELD GOAL?

Perhaps if Belichick had read the fine print of his copy of the 2011 NFL - NFLPA CBA that mentions the NFL owners' ability to lockout the NFLRA he wouldn't reduce himself to such childish acts of insolence and impatience - oh, wait, the 2011 CBA fails to mention the NFLRA once in all its 301-plus pages.

I missed the Emmys for this?! Scab!! SCCAAABBB!!!

Perhaps the root of this problem is the fact that until this year, the refs were supposed to remain nonexistent. Isn't that the case for all sports, schools, anything? They aren't supposed to be demanding more money! They're supposed to be ensuring fairness and sportsmanship in a game that breeds all the opposites. Imagine all the country's proctors for the high school SAT got locked out because they demanded more coffee breaks this year and an entire nation of high school juniors received poorly-marked SAT scores. We'd have C students at Yale and A students at Rutgers! But hey! Rutgers is 4-0 and Yale hasn't been mentioned in a SportsCenter highlight since UNC's Yael Averbusch chipped the keeper from half field, scoring the fastest goal in NCAA soccer history! Oh wait, Yale lost that game.

Most of the refs who work for the NFLRA are partners in law firms. Refereeing NFL games is their definition of a part time job! Dare I say the refs who are fighting for more money already make six-figure salaries on top of the $100,000 per year 10-year veteran refs make! Not that making money is a bad thing but...

The fact is that in today's age, referees aren't needed at all. Seriously, how many times have you been watching a game, seen a ref miss a call, and your favorite team loses its chance to win? Because of one man's absence of mind! Imagine how many fans just like you, watching every angle of the replay felt the exact same way all those times? That's millions of people! And we're putting the fate of all these fans, players and families in the hands of some lawyer?

Some lawyer who could have used LeSean McCoy on his fantasy football team?! This is a joke right? I'm dreaming this all up. I'm not really watching the NFL! It's still spring and daisies are blooming! No? This is really happening? It's late September? Isn't there some sort of election going on next month?

If the definition of a lockout in the NFL means that the owners decide when to let the locked out faction get back to work, I say to the NFL owners why not ditch the replacement refs and the NFLRA altogether, and start using full-blown instant replay on every play? There is enough money to go around to have one dude sitting up in the box watching each individual player from multiple angles who is getting paid by contract to be not bias. If something illegal occurs, blow the whistle and stop play, and administer the penalty with some head moderator up on the jumbotrons we've come to love oh, so much. Would that be so hard? Would that be so radical? A dude sees a penalty and hits a button. A light goes off in the stadium. Communications are made. Play continues. Not only would the system run more efficiently, it would speed up play. Heck, the SAT is judged by computer systems, moderated by humans...other pro leagues, colleges, high schools and middle schools could work the system into their leagues as well. Everyone and their mother has a smart phone now. I think we can afford it, nation. I've been mentioning this idea for quite some time and I've yet to hear a logical explanation as to how it wouldn't work...

But, after all, like I said, like we all say, it's just a game. You think Torrey Smith cared that replacement refs administered his game-changing performance last night? No. He was thinking about his dead brother who got himself into a fatal motorcycle accident the day before.

Bill Belichick, cram it up our cram hole. You lost. Torrey Smith, you are awesome. Way to kill it in fantasy for me this week. Also, side note, to the Tori Smith I know in person, let anyone feel you up in a cab lately? How's that working out?

I won't be surprised to see the NFL and the NFLRA make amends soon. And then again, I won't be surprised to see nothing happen at all. And in the end, really, do I care? To see the "real" refs back on the field in Week 4, or Week 5 making better calls, will that have me jumping for joy on Sunday afternoons from now until February?

Dude One: "Dude, YES! Did you see that no-call!? Dude?!?!"

Dude Two: "Dude!!! That. Was. AMAZING."


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