NFL Troubles: The Pains and Struggles in Maintaining Some Order

Callie MannContributor IISeptember 25, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 20:  Replacement officials Robert Frazer #36, John Vachon #123, and Lemuel Hawkins #47 confer after throwing a penalty flag during a game between the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 20, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Giants won 36-7.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

September 24th will probably go down as a record breaking day that social media blew up. 14 million viewers for Monday Night Football saw the game end in a controversial call, thus setting the virtual world in an array of plethora.

The NFL has had plenty of issues with the 2012 replacement referees and last night's game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers may go down as the most catastrophic ending in the history of professional football.

Weeks upon weeks of this season have been building up with bad calls, misspoken penalties and debates around the league about "who's right and who's wrong." This season clearly shows that the NFL has gotten it wrong.

In the last few seasons, the NFL has proven to be a wealthy empire. Recording nine billion in revenue annually, the advertisers, venues and fans feed every desire to continue the greed mongering that is the NFL.

With the $100 million signing of Albert Haynesworth, it was clear that the NFL was taking on a whole new direction. Next came the billion-dollar stadium, with the $40 million television screen that hangs from the rafters. Did we really not see last night's game coming?

The NFL is a business. It is an entity that thrives on revenue and entertainment. It's commodities are the players and fans. With that said, the NFL has far overreached their desires of commercialism when the outcome of football games depend on replacement referees.

These referees do not know the NFL rules, penalties and pressure. These referees were obtained from Pop Warner leagues and thrown into a world which they only dreamed about.

As negotiations continue with the regular referees, to reach a contractual collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the pains and struggles of the players and fans continue. The NFL loses nothing.

The NFL will not lose advertisers, nor will they lose contract bids for televising games. In fact, they are locked into contracts with Fox, NBC, CBS and ESPN through 2014.

The advertising draw of Monday Night Football games, as well as Thursday Night Football, is based on high  ratings, which allow advertisers to get their products to the public.

Last night following the game, many have spoken about boycotting the NFL, including NFL players. There is one problem for the players; they cannot boycott.

The agreement they reached in Article 3 Section 1 of the 2011 CBA was "[N]either the NFLPA nor any of its members will engage in any strike, work stoppage, or other concerted action interfering with the operations of the NFL or any Club for the duration of this Agreement." 

The players are clearly left without a stance.

Unless, of course, you turn to social media. Last night, hundreds of tweets from Packer players, other NFL players and even former NFL players derided the officiating. Troy Aikman even weighed in, stating, "This game is a joke."

Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orlean's Saints, tweeted, "Ironic that our league punishes those based on conduct detrimental. Whose CONDUCT is DETRIMENTAL now?"

He was making a reference to the Saint's Bountygate that has taken the NFL and nation by storm. Depositions will take place this week on behalf of Jonathan Vilma, in New Orleans. The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, will be present in the attorney's office with the Saints' linebacker.

Bountygate. Weekly assessed fines for bad hits. Coaches now getting fined for bad behavior on the sidelines (Denver's Head coach John Fox was penalized $30,000 this week for mistreating the replacement refs). And now, a game-ending debacle that will keep talking heads, fans, players and the social media clammering for justification of such an outcome.

Unless, you have a connection to the Seattle Seahawks, sprinkled with a couple Bears fans that gleefully unload the permagrin on their faces when the Packers lose, one may not see that the missed penalties and overturned interception call was perhaps incorrect. For the Bears, it's a divisional rival thing. For Pete Carroll's Seahawks, it's a win. Time to move on.

In fact, what is the outcome that one loss can make to a season? Home field advantage in the playoffs. Even making the playoffs. Yes, down the road to this 2012 season, last night's game may be a contributing factor to the playoffs and home field advantage. Another equation the NFL may not want to face.

What does the NFL care?

Aren't they the business that takes no prisoners? As long as the consumers are buying into the franchise that is the NFL, the NFL will not lose. They can't. Right?

It's frustrating that the consumers and players lose out because the powers-that-be control the sport, the entertainment, the contracts, the advertisers, the commercialism and the product. They control all that is professional football in America.

Witnessing society release their anger on an outcome of a football game would leave one to think that a storm is brewing. A storm that is larger than a wrongly called coin toss at a Super Bowl. A whirlwind more greater than the Tuck Rule or the end to the Raiders 2001 season.

Yes, the debacle from last night's game will affect the NFL, but not as greatly as it has affected the Green Bay Packers and their fan base.

The effects will come from within. As stated years ago, when you get so enthralled in commercialism and combine that with a sport, the sport then loses its integrity and it's meaning. The meaning to football is not about money. The meaning is not about personal lives that are destructed due to a players lack of judgment.

The game of football is about a gladiator's mindset to get the ball. To tackle the opponent. Push them back in yardage while the offense is trying to score. Football is not a complicated sport. There have been rules laid down, drafts made each year, contracts drawn up and games scheduled. What could be so hard about the sport?

You have owners that are billionaires and strive for more dollars because it's an investment. The owners are invested in their team than competitiveness of the game. The owners thrive on the power when their respective team hoists up the Lombardi Trophy in their ultimate moment of validation.

Nonetheless, that game has turned into such a laceration of delusion that fans and players have no tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Certainly fans' freedom of speech can be exercised, but the 1st Admendment may not overpower the billionaires that seek the ultimate validation.

It's a battle too great for the small consumer, who goes through such lengths to book flight tickets, hotels and game tickets. The consumer who saves up three paychecks and plans to attend a game. No, the consumer has no say.

They just keep buying, continue watching and, in the end, are left broken hearted. This is what football is today. Does this sound like the Mike Ditka's, Deacon Jones' or Jim Brown's football to you?

Not hardly.

Football today is not about integrity. Very few players are in it for the game. Even so, players, alike, have admitted this is a business. Rightfully so, that is a fact that remains to be debated through out this season and more seasons to come. The business of football has overtaken the sport of football.

The NFL, without a doubt, has been exposed for what football has honestly become. A greed mongering business.

It would cost all 32 NFL teams roughly $100,000 to meet the 120 referees’ demands. Goodell’s salary alone costs teams roughly $340,000 each. 


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