Houdini isn't happy with the new refs, but it's Mr. Goodell and his NFL office's fault, feel the greed as you read.
FLAGGING THE NFL LEAGUE OFFICE
Professional Football is the greatest game in these United States of America. The NFL has only seen the popularity of its product grow with the growing number of fans playing Fantasy Football (35 Million people played Fantasy Football last season), and therefore have also seen a spike in profits for the league. With this growing popularity and profits, it is hard to understand why the NFL would jeopardize all of this popularity by locking out the NFL officials. I am a huge fan of the NFL and of course of Fantasy Football and I am getting more and more disgusted with the league every week that they continue to lock the REAL officials out. This article will act as my first BitchSlap of the season as I lay into the NFL League Office and discuss how their stubbornness is ruining the game of football and in conjunction Fantasy Football.
The first thing that has really struck me this season, which has hampered the viewing experience, is the length of time it is taking to finish the games this year. The NFL has done their best over the past 5 years to make sure the games were concluding close to 3 hours in length, even with the addition of reviews by challenge or from the booth. This season has been an absolute disaster on that front with the average time of all games at 3 hours and 22 minutes through 2 weeks of the season. The quickest game this season was played in 2 hours and 52 minutes, and there have only been 4 games that were completed in less than 3 hours. In week 2 there was only 1 game that finished under 3 hours and it was completed in 2 hours and 57 minutes. So the games are running longer and you may ask if it is really that big of a deal since the NFL League Office has said the replacements are doing a good job. Really….I don’t think so.
These officials have slowed the game down, because they are not sure of any of the calls they are making as well as the fact that there have been many instances this season where the officials on the field have thrown flags, but one official has the call against the offense and the other has the call against the defense. There has been no consistency in the calls that have been made and has created too many meetings of the officials trying to figure out what the correct call should be and in turn has slowed the game down. This is especially frustrating when it comes to momentum, as the teams on offense are not able to get into the normal rhythm of the game and offenses have suffered because of it this season (just ask Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford).
The fact is that the NFL has told us many times in the past that their officials are “the best in sports”, and that this was extremely important to them as they trained these officials to call games in a manner that protects player safety. Has that just gone out the window here with the replacements? I think the answer is yes. As I am watching the NFL on Sunday on my Direct TV Sunday Ticket, which I pay $300 for the privilege to watch all the games and which the NFL makes a lot of money on each season, I have noticed the officials letting a lot of games get out of control. There have been a lot of helmet to helmet hits that have not been called by the officials. The other aspect of player safety is in regards to controlling the games and not letting events on the field get out of hand, which has happened all too often in the first two weeks. There were many games this week where the officials are letting the players continue on well after the whistle play after play without a penalty flag being thrown. This was very evident in the second half of the game between the Packers and the Bears, as there were 3 plays in a row with extracurricular activities after the whistle without a flag. If this continues there is going to be some player who gets hurt because the officials have lost control of the game, and that is a travesty and the NFL League Office will be the ones to blame for it.
So the game itself is suffering because of the replacement officials and as a fan I have to ask why can’t the NFL and the officials get this deal done? The NFL as a business makes over $9,000,000,000 in revenue every year. You got that??? OVER 9 BILLION DOLLARS IN REVENUE PER YEAR!!! So what is the amount that is in question that has caused this lockout? It comes to $4,000,000 per year that the NFL won’t pay to, as they called their officials, “the best in sports”. This is really such a small amount of money when you consider that the NFL spreads all their costs over the entire league. Therefore the amount of money per team to get the REAL officials back on the field comes to $125,000 per team. That is absolute peanuts in the money making machine that is the NFL. The NFL is being so hypocritical to their fans and the product they are putting on the field by allowing these replacements to soil the game we all love so much. The NFL has told us time and again how serious they are about player safety and that their product is the best in the world for fans who attend games and those who watch at home. The fans and the players are the ones who are at risk, as the players are at a higher risk for injury and the fans are at risk for the quality of the game they love. The NFL must have another reason for sticking it to the officials, and they do…Union busting.
The NFL has said the reason there has not been a deal made is because of a dispute over salaries and benefits. The situation is that the NFL wants to change the pension package for the officials. In the words of the official’s executive director, Tim Millis,
“Every current NFL official was hired by the NFL with the promise of a defined-benefit pension package…The NFL now wants to break that promise by eliminating that benefit, instead turning to an inferior defined contribution plan…the League’s offer would reduce their funding obligation by some 60%...The League states that it desires to eliminate the defined contribution plan because other American businesses are moving away from such plans to a defined-contribution type plan. However, 18 of the League’s member clubs continue to retain their defined-benefit plans for their employees…we proposed to “grandfather” the defined-benefit pension plan…the defined-benefit plan would continue only for current officials, and new hires would come into the League under a defined-contribution pension plan…Federal mediators in the current NFL-NFLRA dispute have indicated that the “grandfather” compromise resolves 90% of all such pension disputes.”
To see the letter to the media from Tim Millis follow this link:
To me the reason the NFL is playing hard ball with the officials is because they want to set themselves up for their next negotiation with players about their Collective Bargaining Agreement. It would seem to me, from the outside looking in, that the NFL is trying to set a new standard going forward to ensure that the League always has the upper hand in any negotiations with the Labor Unions. The League makes so much money, and the amount of fans the League has is continuing to grow that it is astounding to me that the NFL would jeopardize their product and the relationship it has with its fans. I am flagging the NFL for Unsportsmanlike Conduct and you get my first BITCHSLAP of the year!!!