I am really up to here with all the crap regarding replacement refs.
Seriously. I don't think anything will ever modify us as a small minded stupid culture any more than this chunk of one month craziness over--are you ready?--a game.
OK, let me set some basics here.
First, I love playing games, be it Scrabble with a board, Words With Friends on my IPhone, Fantasy Games, trivia. You name it, I probably get a kick out of it. I have even logged into the National Bible Quiz on TV for a minute just to see what that was, and amazingly, I was better at the Old Testament than any of the contestants, which shows what ten years of Sunday School and Bar Mitzvah Hebrew classes will do.
Further, I love watching football. In some ways I love it more than watching baseball, for to me it is really chess in motion. And, that is pretty complex and cerebral stuff.
But, the replacement ref stuff is just crazy with terrible moves and decisions being made by everyone involved. (Which makes it almost as stupid and poorly managed--though no less interesting--than politics.)
To start, how the owners and Roger Goodell ever boxed themselves in over $3 million out of $9 billion in annual revenues (that is .33% of the total, according to my calculator, which is one-third of 1%) is simply beyond me.
That is such a pittance in such a profit making machine that the amount barely merits write off (not that I would not be happy were someone to drop the money into my lap).
But, then locking the refs out, rather than simply continuing the negotiations again simply spells stupidity and some sordid combination of being greedy and chintzy that falls squarely on the shoulders of the exceedingly wealthy owners cartel.
But, as with replacement players, how anyone in charge of the NFL brand and product could possibly think the replacement refs was a good idea is again beyond me.
Which is not to say I blame those very same replacement workers, whom I believe overall tried to do a good job and take their work seriously.
It is just they lacked the actual real time experience to do the job properly, which is not really their fault, and it surely is not their responsibility.
I mean, I am a big Food Channel junkie, and a couple of the shows I like are Restaurant Impossible and Restaurant Stakeout. On both of these programs, the core problems of operating a restaurant on a daily basis is lack of training, either by the management of the place, or the staff, or worse of all, both. In fact, usually bad management precipitates bad training, cascading a business into an abyss irrespective of the type of business.
Well, if it is hard to get untrained wait-folks to know how to work properly, how realistic is it to think that the replacement refs would be able to professionally manage 22 moving bodies conjuring up 120 or so plays over the space of an hour and even close to get it right?
So, bad calls or not, I think it is unfair to blame the refs, and I say this noting that last Sunday, when watching the Ravens and Broncos go at it, there were at least three molestations of wide receivers that I spotted and went unnoticed.
But, like knowing in baseball that when there is a play at first you watch the feet and listen for the pop of the ball into the glove, if that process is sort of foreign to the arbiter, well, some questionable calls will result.
And they surely did, fueling outrage from fans and players and coaches, with the players even incredulously claiming that their health was potentially being compromised by the bad calls.
Really? I mean these guys chose to participate in a serious contact sport wherein they are paid millions of dollars, and suddenly, because of a bad call or miss their life is now in jeopardy where it was not before?
That is kind of like NASCAR participants complaining because they cannot get a new technology helmet.
As for fans, well, they will always be fans. The root of the word fanatic, in fact, is "fan" and if you choose to remember, fanatic is "an irrational belief in something" so really, the fans are asking for trouble by definition.
Remember though that every bad call for one team is indeed a good call for another, and if you doubt that, remember Pete Carroll's face after Golden Tate's game winning catch last Monday (BTW, it was a game winning catch for that is how it was ruled on the field, and well, that is all that counts, right? Further, if anyone actually thought the NFL would reverse the call and set the precedent of undermining one of its judges as such, they were really dreaming).
But mostly I just want to scream at everyone involved, "Just shut up and deal with it." This is how your universe works in the here and now. Play the game and deal and move on.
And that goes for fans and coaches and players and owners alike.
Although I do have to admit how much I loved Scott Walker and Paul Ryan--two of the most anti-union politicians on the planet--begging the league to compromise with the ref's union. Funny how when their team loses unions are important, but when our teachers or firefighters or policemen are involved, then screw them.
Couple that with the agreement being made, and the "real" refs returning to play on Thursday night to a standing ovation--and talk about duplicitous--along with Goodell's apology for the fiasco just adds to the overall silliness of the whole matter.
Mind you, it is not that I don't want to get things right, let alone have low standards. Quite the contrary. But, I also know that being perfect might be a fine goal, but hitting that target is generally beyond all our capabilities. So, if we don't want to see some Jetsons-esque version of futuristic football with robots clanking one another, then that is what we have to deal with.
Furthermore, people do make mistakes, however, errors are one opportunity to learn and not repeat an offense.
So, hopefully the Roger Goodell--and maybe Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, the NFL coaches, and angry fans--will learn accordingly.
Truth is I believe the laws of karma will make it such that the good and bad breaks for every team--and that means those now 1-2 Packers--even out over the long run. So, as with life--because do remember, we are talking about a game here--again, deal with it, let go, and move forward.