While the replacement refs have been terrible, they aren’t much worse than the regular ones.
As bad as Monday night was, if we didn’t know they were replacement refs, we would all just resign ourselves to the fact that blown calls have become an increasingly regular occurrence in the NFL.
Remember the tuck rule, Hochuli’s error, the Seattle-Pittsburgh Super Bowl, or hundreds of other horrendous calls over the past few years?
The last call Monday night wasn’t the worst call I’ve ever seen – it probably wouldn’t even make a Worst 100 list. That it decided the outcome of a Monday night game, and happened on the last play of the game, created a media furor over the replacement officials.
Does anyone believe the same thing couldn’t have happened with regular referees?
Over the past few years, the NFL owners, who are privy to much better information on this subject than anyone else, have come to believe that officiating in the NFL was a major blight on their sport. These aging and under-trained part-time employees are truly the Achilles heel of the NFL. The owners saw only one way to fix the problem.
And so, we have the lockout.
For obvious reasons, the owners have kept quiet on their contempt for the level of officiating in the NFL. Not defending themselves has made the owners look greedy and megalomaniacal. And their season has become a joke.
But it may all be worth it.
They are sacrificing the integrity of this season for the integrity of future ones. It is driving us crazy. But the owners believe it is worth it.
And we should too.