By Dave Cuthbertson
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is famed for being anti-union and is one of the most powerful people in America. Yet, he is with the referee association. New Jersey governor Chris Christie is also anti-union, but a State Senator of his state is moving to have the replacement officials removed.
The officials in the NFL have loudly been criticized for the state of football first two weeks. The cathartic part of the argument for fans and media alike was that the refs did not matter since they didn’t affect the outcome of a game. Then the Seahawks played the Packers on Monday night, and in those few crazy moments, it all changed.
Inches away from each other, two refs gave entirely different signals. Golden Tate and MD Jennings both came down with the ball. One ref said touchdown, one ref said time expired. Then they went under the hood – meaning the ruling was touchdown and once you go under the hood it was a touchdown and possession cannot be changed under the hood.
The refs screwed up and the Packers lost a game they should have won.
One of the most unreported parts of this story is how the Packers players left the field, many players did post-game interviews and the game wasn’t over yet. Amid all the ruckus, the extra point had to be kicked. One of the reports the NFL keeps pointing to is how the number of flags is not that different than it was last year, HOWEVER it’s the actual administration of the rules. Furthermore, once that touchdown call was made the players were STILL fighting.
For the record:
Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 5 states:
Simultaneous Catch. If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball.
So what does it mean? Nothing will be done unless…
Another key part of this story is how the owners presumably will not budge because the ratings will not drop and the Packers are owned by the people, not someone from the Mara family or anyone with much clout so who will fight the good fight? The gamblers. It should be pointed out that in that chaotic finish, upwards of $150 Million dollars was affected by the end of that game. When gamblers stop betting on football, then they stop watching it. If gamblers can see this game as an example to take their money elsewhere, then the heat will be under the owners. Remember, this all happened because the owners are locking out the refs. Somehow, as each week passes, it feels as if the ref are gaining more leverage – which is more typical in strikes.
So, gamblers saw $150 million change hands in that one instant, however according to Sports Illustrated, the cost for the real refs is $12,891 per game. In 256 regular season games, that amounts to $3,300,096.
Money talks and hopefully the refs and owners do before the money walks and so do the fans.
- By Dave Cuthbertson. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveSportsGuru