The night of Monday, Sept. 24, was one of the most frustrating nights in my entire life. Not because of the hundreds of pages of reading required by my professors, a 20-page paper, or because Mondays are simply brutal, but because NFL’s Monday Night Football was unfavorably different due to the referee strike.
A lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, I was perfectly happy to sit in front of the TV and watch my favorite team dominate the Seattle Seahawks. But what should have been a calm night of an American pasttime quickly turned into a game of flags, anger, false calls and the occasional expletive.
Throughout the game, officials failed to call the correct penalties and even to correctly judge nuances such as ball placement.
This poor performance had an effect on both teams, but it was the Packers who lost the game by a crude imitation of professionalism by mediocre refs.
The referees incorrectly called the final play of the game, stating that an interception by the Packers in the end zone was, in fact, a completed pass and touchdown by the Seahawks. This outrageous call resulted in a 14-12 win for the Seahawks, who should have walked away with a 7-12 loss.
After finding some sort of logic in my rage at an unjustified loss, I could only think of who was to blame. I learned of the referee controversy that sparked the wildfire that was raging in my brain.
The experienced refs of prior seasons had gone on strike this season as a result of a payment dispute, forcing the NFL to find less experienced officials to judge the game.
In my mind, the fact that a billion dollar industry would allow an issue of payment to compromise the reputation of the game is ludicrous. Many California Lutheran University students have expressed similar outrage towards the leagues.
“The replacement refs just aren’t qualified or experienced enough to make calls and manage a game at this level. It has hurt the integrity of the game and made it frustrating to watch,” said junior Max Eller.
According to CBS online, some of the refs officiating at Monday night’s game were let go from the Lingerie Football League. This shows the unqualified nature of these referees. Hiring such unacceptable refs is more disturbing than the NFL forking out a small percentage of their profit to compensate reliable employees because it takes away from the quality of the game.
“The NFL and its owners are entirely at fault for the ‘real refs’ not being on the field for games. The problem boils down to a labor dispute between the owners and the refs, each side looking to make or save as much money as they can,” said junior Jake Ramatici. “For the owners, the amount of money they would save wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, even matter considering the amount of money each game brings in anyway.”
After a serious uproar from fans, the NFL rushed to make amends and to apologize. An agreement was reached on Thursday, Sept. 27, to allow the referees to return at a pay that meets their desire.
It would have been simpler for this agreement to have been settled before the season. Many fans agree, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stands by all of the decisions the league has made, seeing the temporary ref situation as unfortunate but necessary. Other fans take this position on the matter as well.
“The replacement refs made some bad calls this weekend but the strike is over so it’s all for the best. Nothing is going to make me stop watching football,” said senior Caitlin Dimmit.
NFL fans are indeed glad that the strike is over, but I am sure that fans of all affected teams will be reeling from this mistake made by the NFL for a long time.
I know that I, for one, will curse the temporary refs for as long as the game statistics state “Green Bay Loss.”
Published On Oct. 3, 2012