For the first time ever, NFL referees actually are as bad as fans think they are.
If you’re a sports fan, you hate the refs. That’s pretty much a given. No matter which team you root for in whatever sport, you have thought on numerous occasions that referees were either the dumbest human beings on the face of the earth, or they had a deliberate bias against your team. When they lose a close playoff game, if any blame at all can be placed on the refs, that’s where you place it. And if your team somehow manages to win the title, you think they did it in spite of all the horrid officials who were trying to screw them over.
The point of this is, most of the time, the refs aren’t actually that bad. They might make a few errors, and in a given game, they might make one or two bad calls that harm your team, but usually they aren’t as horrible at their job as you think they are (note: this does NOT apply to the NBA).
They replacement referees who have been working the NFL preseason, however? Yeah, they fucking suck. After narrowly avoiding a player lockout last year, the NFL is stuck with a referee lockout that figures to go deep into the regular season. Oh, don’t worry, we’re still going to have football; it’s just that it’ll be officiated by third-rate scabs who clearly have no clue what the fuck they’re doing.
So, far this preseason, they’ve already made a ton of goofy mistakes, such as not knowing where the ball was supposed to be, and calling a touchback on a punt that landed on the three-yard line, and just generally not knowing how the rules of the game work.
Since it’s just the preseason, none of this really matters. Even the most diehard football fans can only stomach about two weeks of that boring garbage before we turn it off and wait for the real thing to begin. The problem is, there’s no plans to end the lockout any time soon, so these charlatans will likely be calling games in October and November, maybe even in the playoffs. Imagine the outcome of the Super Bowl being changed because the refs can’t remember where the ball is supposed to be.
The fact that the NFL is showing no desire to end this nonsense, and refuses to simply let the normal refs do their job until a deal is reached shows they don’t really care about the quality of their product. Their willingness to let obviously incompetent referees officiate meaningful games lets us know that they care more about saving a few bucks than about producing a game with integrity. Admittedly, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Just about all corporations choose profit over quality at some point. It’s just a shame to see it done so obviously, where the fans can clearly see what’s going on.
Just for the record, I’d be against the scabs even if they were competent. But seeing the NFL show no motivation to get a deal done while they are screwing up left and right is infuriating as a fan. Hopefully, once they fuck up in a game that actually matters, the NFL will work on a new contract with the real refs, and we can all back to normal. Once that happens, I’ll go back to screaming at my TV, and accusing the referees of screwing my team over at least five times a game. For now, however, I’m on their side.