An open letter to the National Football League:
Wow, that was the most regrettable three weeks of NFL football that I can ever remember. Who would have thought replacement refs would nearly be the downfall of the entire brand and league?
Oh, that's right, I did, check last month's column (I couldn't resist the mention). But this isn't a time for I-told-you-so's. It's a time to say don't let the door hit you on the way out to the brutal officials that were refereeing the last few weeks, not that it's really their fault, they shouldn't have even been there.
Sure, those "hacks" signed up for a job they knew they couldn't do, but you let them. In fact, you encouraged it. It was your arrogance that made you think no one would notice the difference. It was clear from the first preseason game I watched, but you knew the brand and "shield" is so powerful fans wouldn't tune out.
Thankfully it never came to that. I'm glad I didn't have to boycott watching the NFL, which I was prepared to do after Monday night's embarrassment that cost the Packers a win. I was so ready to turn off your games. I couldn't take my intelligence being that blatantly insulted anymore.
To have sub-standard refs say Golden Tate "caught" that pass Monday night was bad. To uphold the call after review is worse. Then to say the refs got the call right the next day and the "game is final" is extremely offensive.
Obviously, the new deal for the regular referees got done immediately after, as well it should have. But why did it have to take a very popular franchise getting robbed of a win on national television to do it?
There were actually people who bought your propaganda the first couple of weeks about how the replacements "were doing a good job." This simply prolonged the inevitable, and made your entire league look foolish.
While I'm satisfied with the refs returning to work immediately after the debacle Monday night, you continued to insult my intelligence, Roger Goodell, by saying you're "sorry" to the fans and general public for having to go through that. No you're not. You're the same guy who said the Packers didn't intercept that Hail Mary pass. And there wasn't a difference in the refs at the start of the season.
Of course the regular refs are going to blow calls, but at least there's a better chance they actually know the rules, which can't be said about the last guys. All we wanted was the product on the field, and the integrity of the game, to be top-of-the-line, as we've been accustomed to.
Games were dragging along much too long. Players and coaches spent more time intimidating the repalcement refs than talking to their team. And it seemed to be working. The Ed Hochuli's of the world aren't going to put up with the berating by coaches. They've been around the league too long and think too highly of themselves.
I'm glad my television doesn't have to go dark now on Thursday nights, Sundays, and Monday nights. But believe me, I was willing to do it, despite having Sunday Ticket and Redzone Channel.
I can't deal with a blatant disregard for my ability to think, which is what the NFL is guilty of with this referee lockout. But it's in the past now, time to move forward.
I suppose I can wait a few weeks before I start complaining about the old refs. I owe them that much.