I was not going to talk about the refs. I really wasn’t. I said my piece back in June and that was going to be it. After Monday night’s Seahawks/Packers game, I can no longer be silent. I’m done. I stopped watching a close NFL game in the third quarter. With my Seahawks still winning, I stopped watching. I have never done that. I stopped watching that game and I’m not coming back to watch another one. Not until the NFL antes ups and pays the real refs. I’m serious about this. It hurts to have to do it but I cannot watch another NFL game be officiated as badly as that one. The college game is going to have to be enough football for me for awhile. I’m out.
Taking my two eyes off the NFL is not going to make anything change. I know that. Steve Young nailed it by calling interest in the NFL “inelastic” and saying that as long as that is true, the league office has no reason to make any changes. As long as the games are being watched, Roger Goodell and the League aren’t going to pay. It doesn’t matter how many players complain. It doesn’t matter how many times a coach has to grab an official to get the game figured out. It doesn’t matter how much complaining we do unless we do something about it. So I’m begging you, join me in not watching the NFL until a resolution is reached. I’m asking you to boycott the sport I love more than any other in the world, because I can’t stand to watch these refs degrade the game anymore.
I don’t actually blame the replacement refs for how bad the game has gotten. Don’t get me wrong, they are doing a terrible job of officiating the games. It’s just not their fault. I said it back in June: we can’t expect arena football refs to be able to handle the NFL game. They aren’t trained for it. They aren’t prepared for it and it shows. They have no idea what’s going on in the game. They don’t know when to call something. They don’t know what to call. They’ll miss a blatant call and then call some ticky-tacky little penalty right after. They are clearly overmatched. These replacement refs can’t control NFL games and NFL players don’t respect them. Now before you try to tell me that the regular refs make bad calls too, I know they do. The real refs miss calls, they do, but you know what they don’t do? They don’t gather in the middle of the field and have a discussion before even throwing a flag. They aren’t going to try to ref a game where their favorite team is playing. The real refs don’t make you question the integrity of the game. You know what the real refs do? They make the players respect them and the rules. If the real refs were on the field in the Oakland/Pittsburgh game, there would be a pretty darn good chance that Darrius Heyward-Bey doesn’t spend Monday in the hospital. Ask yourself: do you really believe that the Steelers player who hit Heyward-Bey would have hit him that way if the real refs were out on that field? Not a chance.
NFL fans, it’s up to us. We need to boycott this game that we love. We need to show that we want good football, not just something resembling football. Unless we are willing to change, the NFL has no reason to do so. So please join me in my pledge to not watch another professional football game until the NFL fixes this.