The final straw came at the end of the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. The two temps wearing stripes ruled against each other. One ruled that it was a touchdown, and the other that it was an interception. The automatic review by officials upstairs ruled it a touchdown.
The fly in the ointment and the elephant in the room is that since the NFL has ruled that all reviews be done openly, the pictures being reviewed are shown on the Jumbotron for all stadium ticket holders to see. They were also shown to millions of viewers across the nation.
The replays clearly showed, at the very least, a contested catch that should have been ruled invalid. That part is as clear as can be.
I am no fan of either team. My biases, when they show up, are always with the Niners. Both teams are the Niners' nemeses.
But fair is fair, and this is a mark that will cause a win to be listed with an asterisk for decades. And the damage goes deeper than the NFL would like to admit.
The clips on YouTube have been watched by over 1.2 million viewers to date.
And then, to put the exclamation point on the national insult, the NFL backed up the scabs and refused to reverse the call and award the game to the actual winners. This decision caused Jason Linkins to call for an unusual boycott of the NFL. The general tenor of the media reaction is that the NFL has botched this issue badly.
This is not the first controversial and damaging call these inexperienced temps have made.
On Sunday, they walked off a 27-yard penalty against the Detroit Lions on a 15-yard unnecessary roughness offense. Shoving matches during the Ravens-Patriots game went uncalled. Broncos coach John Fox was called for complaining (verbal abuse) that the refs ruled he could not challenge a call of 12 men on the field.
The many sloppy calls were noted by usually cautious commentators Cris Collinsworth on Sunday and Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden on Monday night. All complained openly that the rulings were “affecting the game.” (Fox News)
The argument that has left the temps on the field during the regular season and has caused so much controversy is over a philosophical issue dealing with the union’s retirement plan. The NFL admits it wants to kill the officials' current defined benefit retirement plan and force the union to use a 401k retirement plan, which would save the NFL a few bucks a year.
Whatever one’s stance on unions and management, this whole issue seems to be a regrettable waste of the NFL’s prestige and reputation.
It is past time for the NFL to bend a bit and get the regular officials back on the field.