Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Demise of Football? No.

I'd like to say that the hater in me absolutely loves all of this outrage over the replacement refs. There are very few things in the world that have given me more joy than watching John Gruden vascillate between wanting to cry and wanting to punch someone in the postgame. Pure comedy gold. And the outpouring from friends on Facebook was mindboggling. Surely there couldn't have been that many of you who lost your fantasy games to Golden Tate and Russell Martin (Wilson? Totally Wilson.). Or was it that Green Bay defense? Ah, that explains it.

Personally, I can't wait until the regular refs get back so I can slap anyone who ever complains about one of their calls again. Because it's not like the regular refs ever give away a game or two...a week. Have the replacement guys been bad? Sure, they're pretty bad. Yeah, I know they hand out timeouts like gold fish at an elementary school carnival and they are somehow even slower than the refs they replaced, but let's not lose sight of the fact that these guys stepped in with little notice. And let's not lose sight of the fact that sports journalists love to go after the easy story, as I've mentioned many times in the past. It's why they love dynasties and they're always the last to know when a bad team gets good or a good team gets bad. They deal in no risk-high reward journalism. Because face it, we all watch, even when they're wrong. Well, this is the easiest story in town. The world of sports went from a "let's cut these guys some slack" attitude in the preseason to an all out lynch mob today. These refs are under the microscope to a degree the regular refs never were. Every ticky tack foul is analyzed, even though the league has always been replete with ticky tack fouls. If you've turned on ESPN, the NFL Network or even the Weather Channel in the last 12 hours you have no doubt seen some very serious looking people pouring over last night's touchdown call like the Zapruder Film. And some people act as though they're on par with each other. Well, they're not. Whacky shit happens in the NFL. Especially in the first few weeks. So settle down.

The call on the field was no doubt due to the simultaneous possession rule in the rulebook. It's right next to the tuck rule and the controlling the ball through the ground rule. All of these rules are basically designed to create plays that result in calls that will piss at least half of you off. The eyeball test tells me that Jennings, the Green Bay DB, had control of the ball. But Tate was in there, and the rule doesn't say that Tate has to have clear possession of the ball (because then there would be no reason to even have the rule), only that he have a stake in the possession of the ball. I've seen very similar calls made over the years. It doesn't happen very often, but I guarantee you the regular officals have made a similar "mistake" in the past. Maybe not at the end of a nationally televised game for the win, but it's happened.

As for all the Chicken Little's predicting the end for the NFL and the ruination of the brand? Puh-lease! This is the NFL. You will all be watching next week, and the week after that, and every other week until the day you die. Seriously, at this point I absolutley H-A-T-E football with a passion, but I still watch it every week. I still got a bit chub over the NFL Network coming to Time Warner. Hell, here I am writing about the shit. It ain't going anywhere. It would literally take years of consistently bad officiating to do any significant damage to the NFL brand. Problem is, if this whole fiasco lasted for years, these guys would get better and we'd end up wondering why the NFL would ever pay judges and bankers $40,000 a year for a few weeks of part time work, with benefits and pensions. The rest of us should be so lucky. Especially since we are all so clearly experts ourselves.

All that being said, I'm buying stock in the UFL, in case everyone else is right. The UFL is still a thing, right?


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