Rich Eisen tweeted, “I believe we have reached the proverbial tipping point.” I agree.
For 3 regular season weeks, plus 4 preseason weeks, the NFL faithful has endured replacement referees. Why? Money of course. Because of a disagreement on who should get paid, how much people should get paid, how many people to pay, etc. – the referees and the NFL are at a standstill. As such we have had collegiate referees in the NFL. It was suppose to be a balance among all the levels, but we primarily have seen everyone not in Division I with maybe a few exceptions (I have yet to see one myself personally).
The preseason went with a little mumble mumble and not much was said about the replacement referees. Everyone was as optimistic about the replacements as politicians and economists have been about the economy since 2008. I too was hopeful. My glass was half full.
Week 1 of regular season came, and there were a few bad calls but I gave the benefit of the doubt to the referees. I blamed the players for being sloppy and not up to par. Week 2 came, now with more controversy. But still, I said, “Meh, it could be worse. I will still watch because this is football!”
Then in comes ESPN with legend Steve Young who schooled everyone watching on economics. He basically said that the demand for football is inelastic. In lamens terms, nothing that the NFL does will affect the demand for American Football. I heard that and I nodded and agreed. After all, it is football! I love football. It is my #1 sport. I would stop almost anything to watch it.
But then, Sunday 23rd and Monday 24th came. A team essentially gets extra timeouts by some mass confusion and bullying between a coach, the referees, and who knows who else. Let us not forget the extra timeout handed out the week before. A player is basically hospitalized and not a single penalty was thrown (how bizarre). And there are numerous examples all over the last two weeks of pass interference penalties called on all sides of the ball either on the wrong person or wrong team. But it isn’t merely just that, it is holding and personal fouls and more.
Bill Belichick was completely out of character on Sunday evening on Sunday Night Football. This is the monk after all. The stoic man who you barely can get to smile on the sidelines. That is completely out of character. There was some definite hostilities Sunday Night that accounted for 24 called penalties (some of those shouldn’t count maybe, and others maybe should have).
But even after all of this, I still had faith in football. I did not mind. I was upset last night at the NFL, but not enough to stop watching. But after Monday Night Football, my demand for football was done. A Hail Mary was thrown as the last place in which Packers M.D. Jennings jumps up in the crowd to intercept the ball thrown by Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Seahawks WR Golden Tate ripped it out of his hands and was ruled to have the winning touchdown.
The announcers believed it was an interception. Many NFL officials tweeted they believed it was an interception. Almost to everyone it was an interception except to that crew. Coach Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers leave to the locker room before the symbolic extra point was kicked. They send 11 men back to pretend like they care when the game was robbed from them. The kick is up, it is good, and what was left of the NFL integrity was destroyed, in my eyes.
Who knows whether this game will mean anything. The Packers may finish 6-10 and won’t have any playoff implication. The Seahawks may go 14-2 and it won’t matter whether they won this or not as they will still get homefield advantage in the playoff.
So what matters? The integrity. The principle of the matter. And this weekend, the NFL, and Commissioner Roger Goodell showed what Steve Young said on ESPN last week. “They don’t care.” The simplest words that ring so true just a few days later. They NFL and owners do not care.
The demand of football should drop after this. If reasonable people got together, they could boycott watching football or going to games. But they won’t. People will still go. People will still watch. None of this will matter. More terrible calls will be made. Players lives will be at jeopardy. Safety and integrity will be steamrolled. But that ball will be snapped every Thursday, Sunday, and Monday. People will still buy tickets. Food will still be consumed. Football parties will still be hosted. Nothing will change. You know why? Not very many people care.
Written by Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp. Tune in every Tuesday at 6 PM on KSSU.com for sports talk.