I didn’t want to have to do this. Everyone and their mothers has written something about the NFL and the replacement referee debacle so I didn’t really have much to add to it. Until last night.
Twitter rightfully exploded after last night’s controversial call. Comedian Patton Oswalt (and several others) revealed the next Adam Sandler/Kevin James flick (The Replacement Refs, rated PG-13). Others used the opportunity to make joke after joke about games being fixed and Ed Hochuli pumping iron.
Now, I’m not going to lie here: I had money on Green Bay. So I was pissed off. Probably not anywhere near as pissed off as Packers fans (or Packers offensive lineman JD Lang according to his Twitter) but pretty pissed off . Then it just became a little bit surreal. They really ruled that a touchdown? How the hell do millions of fat, drunk slobs at home know that was an interception and the goddamn referees don’t?
We all knew this was a shitshow. The refs have been awful thus far, getting penalties wrong and taking forever to arrive at that wrong decision. But now we’re to the point where they’re actually costing teams games? I don’t care if the Packers should’ve knocked it down, the fact of the matter is MD Jennings HAD THE GODDAMN BALL and, somehow, Golden Tate having one hand on it constitutes possession. There were a million and a half penalties over the course of the night and they screwed up in egregious fashion not much earlier when they ruled a pass interference on Green Bay that was CLEARLY offensive pass interference. But the call at the end just took the cake.
The league and all these talking heads talk with a slight sense of wonder about how the players treat the replacement refs in a manipulating manner and the real question is “why wouldn’t they?” These refs are TERRIBLE and easily influenced; you suck at your job as a professional if you don’t try to exploit these clowns.
Look, I don’t blame the refs. The biology teacher and the insurance salesman aren’t fit to be NFL refs; they’re in way over their heads. I don’t even blame Roger Goodell because he’s just the owners’ puppet, dancing when they wish him to. I blame the greedy, can’t-be-rich-enough owners who refuse to make their product better by paying for the real goddamn refs who will only screw up slightly but not openly cost a team a game. What now, owners? What now that your product is slow and aggravating?
And the sad part? The NFL owners don’t give a flying shit because you, me, and everyone else is going to continue to watch and they would sooner choke on their own shit than give more money to the real refs. Why would they if we keep watching the games and lining their pockets?
All I know is that this is EXACTLY what the NFL hoped wouldn’t happen. Regular fuck-ups are fine but costing a team a game might not be something Goodell can just sweep under the rug.
Somewhere, Ed Hochuli is watching. He takes in a set of curls and never stops smiling. “Soon,” he whispers to his biceps. “Soon.”