Greedy billionaires tarnished three weeks of the NFL season by refusing to reach an agreement with the referees. Do the first three weeks deserve an asterisk? Probably not, but the Green Bay/Seattle game certainly does. If the Seahawks make the playoffs by a tiebreaker over, say, the Lions, will Jim Schwartz reference Seattle Screw? That would be fun.
I’d say these were the other four worst officiated games in September:
* Philadelphia/Baltimore – Fights, bad calls, and more fights. Terrible call late on Jacoby Jones, no control of the game whatsoever.
* Baltimore/New England – Bill Belichick was so angered by these clowns – 24 penalties!! – he grabbed one and was fined $50k.
* Minnesota/San Francisco – I lost track of how many extra timeouts the 49ers got to review questionable calls.
* Atlanta/Denver – Fortunately, their ineptitude didn’t have any impact on the game. This MNF game was unwatchable.
The new deal between owners and the referees gives the zebras everything they wanted – a pension plan that will remain in place for five years before switching over to a 401k, and salaries will jump from $149k to 205k by the year 2019.
While standing up for the referees against the billionaires yesterday on twitter, I got a lot of grief about how “part-time employees shouldn’t receive pensions.” Clearly, the referees were worth it. Despite hefty TV ratings, the integrity of the game was being damaged, and embarrassments had to stop. It is undeniable that NFL referees have a significant value to the game, or the billionaires wouldn’t have caved so quickly. From the NYT:
On Tuesday night, owners were said to have dug in and were unwilling to make any more concessions. But on Wednesday, they were believed to have agreed to a short period of several years in which current officials would retain their pensions before they are converted to a 401K.
I can’t wait until the first NFL official blows a call this weekend (tonight?) and jabronis all over the place scream, SEE, WE COULD HAVE KEPT THE REPLACEMENT OFFICIALS!