An Open Letter: Dear God, Please Bring Back the (Real) NFL Referees
Dear National Football League and Roger Goodell,
I never thought I’d write this. First, I’m writing a letter (does anyone do that anymore?), second, it’s about referees (this is getting weirder), and finally, I want said referees back? (I’m officially crazy). But we are getting to a point where the replacement referees are ruining the game, albeit preseason, but we could be on the verge of a mutiny.
By the way, have replacements ever worked in anything? Other than Keanu Reeves’ fifth best movie, The Replacements?*
*1. The Matrix, 2. Speed, 3. Point Break, 4. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 5. The Replacements. Honorable Mention: A Scanner Darkly. Discuss your top 5 Keanu Reeves movies in the comments!
To be fair, these replacement officials have no chance, they are the third to fourth tier officials, the NFL couldn’t get second tier officials — the referees in NCAA that are in BCS Conferences — because when the lockout is over they wouldn’t have jobs in NCAA. They are taking a crash course in a game that is too fast and has completely different rules to them and it’s the most popular, most scrutinized, most under the microscope sport ever. Think about it, these refs are getting so much shit from coaches, players, the media and it’s just the preseason, God forbid, if this goes into the regular season they are screwed.
Now, I don’t think there’s anyway that the most popular sport in America, a nine billion dollar a year sport, would ever have fourth-tier referees for when the season starts. Deadlines spur action, and around Labor Day we will see some movement and probably an agreement between the NFL and the locked out referees, but if that doesn’t happen we are going to see a full mutiny, a coup. These referees are making some egregious mistakes, like calling a touchback on a punt after it was down at like the five yard line, or pass interferences that aren’t being called when receivers are being mugged (see: every 49er play against the Houston Texans). If this did go to the regular season, and one of these replacement referees mistakes a call with say, 30 seconds left in a make-or-break game, Coaches, Players, and the Media will scrutinize the refs and the NFL non-stop. It could get really ugly, really fast.
We are lucky though, we are in the preseason, games that mean absolutely nothing, win or loss, you shouldn’t care. All you really should care about in the preseason is that your teams players don’t get hurt.
[Watching the 49er game in the background. Oh shit, Brandon Jacobs just hurt his knee, breathe, Lance, breathe. Okay, I’m alright, what?! They are bringing out a cart, this is my nightmare. (Takes a valium). Ah, that’s better. Wait, now LaMichael James is down? F*** ME!!! I’m out of valium? I hate preseason!!!!!!!!!!]
What I’m really trying to say is Preseason sucks, but it’s better than the alternative of no Football. In a year or two they’ll move from four preseason games to two and from a 16 game schedule to an 18 game schedule, which will help the fans, and effectively shorten the careers of every NFL player except punters.
In conclusion Mr. Goodell and the NFL, bring back the real referees that no one likes (seriously why would anyone want to be a referee? Nothing good can come out of it. No one ever agrees with every call and says “Well you know what, we lost, but that was some great refereeing today, well done!”). I’d gladly have someone ‘Hochuli It‘ every once in awhile, compared to Every. Single. Game.
I miss you, Ed Hochuli, and your form fitting zebra shirt to show off the Gun Show.