The National Football League is one of the most watched sports in the entire world, let alone the United States. Because of this, if there is even an issue with the sport, it is put under a fine microscope. This year is of no exception, and it actually has more issues and problems going on than in recent years. This is because of the current NFL referee lockout. The referees fail to make very much money for the kind of work they do, not to mention the scrutiny they undergo, which is what makes it so difficult to be a profession referee. Most of the refs actually have day jobs, performing the necessary work as a ref on their own time. Over the offseason, the current contract agreement expired between the NFL and the referees. The current referees looked for fair compensation and some benefits, including some retirement money, but the league and the owners didn’t see it as a valuable expense, even though the league is bringing in more money now than it ever has before. The league decided it could get past the problem with just bringing in replacement refs, because after all, just about anyone can officiate a professional game, right? Well, this is proving to be a rather larger issue than anyone had previous expected.
There has been an issue just about every week of the season, starting with one replacement ref having a particular team whom they were officiating officially “Liked” on their Facebook page (which shows bias and is a very big no-no for the league) to the current problem which occurred on the previous Monday Night Football game. At the end of regulation, the Seattle Seahawks, taking on the Green Bay Packers, threw a pass into the end zone, which appeared to be intercepted by the Green Bay defensive back. However, after the player came down onto the ground the Seattle player had his hands wrapped around the ball. After discuss and a review, the referees went out to state it was a catch by both players, which means the offensive player has the catch, and the touchdown counted. Although replays clearly showed Jenkins, the Green Bay Packers’ defensive player, had caught the ball first, the victory still went to Seattle.
Since this issue and several others throughout the early season, social media has not been kind to the replacement refs. Just about every sports fan, from professional analysists to the causal fan has taken to Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube to discuss their overall frustration with the way the league is ending up. The NFL has done nothing to help this situation, as it simply is turning its head to the issue. Social media is sure to fire up as this Sunday comes up quickly, as fans and players alike don’t want to see their teams cheated simply out of a bad call. Of course, many of these individuals have never officiated a professional game before, and these problems are likely to continue until the ref lockout is over.