JAY DAVIS: Leave the poor refs alone


It was kind of frustrating watching the first week of NFL action and having to listen, game after game, to the announcers accentuating every mistake made by the replacement officiating crews.

It has been through no fault of their own that the replacement officials are having to work the NFL’s regular season games. The regular officials are on strike or lockout or whatever you want to call it. They won’t work games until they get more money and a better pension, or at least until some kind of an agreement is reached.

From everything I saw, starting Wednesday with the Cowboys win over the Giants, the replacement officials did a pretty good job. Yes, they made mistakes. But every game I watched flowed well. The players decided who won every game I was able to watch. None of it was the version of “Keystone Kops” that many of the announcers seemed to want the games to be made out to be.

It was like the announcers were NFL apologists. They were kicking the nerds and pulling their underwear over their heads every chance they got. These poor officials do not have a chance to make a good impression to the viewing public with the voices of NFL games nitpicking and abusing their every little mistake.

What I would like to see is one announcer stand up and take a shot at the regular officials. Sure, I am miles from being privy to all the inside information, but I still have a view, so here it is.

The regular officials make a good living for their one-day-a-week jobs. They have a nice pension package. But as with everything else in the multi-billion dollar world of the NFL, they want more. I guess that’s fine, but most of these guys have more than enough in the real world. The average NFL official has a pretty good job outside of football. The men are bankers and lawyers. They have six and seven-figure earnings and pensions that would set anyone up for retirement. I guess it’s not too much to ask to have two high-paying jobs and two plush pension plans; just to make sure they’ll be able to afford room and board upon retirement.

I have no passion for the officials. They have a fine setup. They should take what they get or do like they are doing right now, stay home on Sunday afternoons and watch the NFL on TV.

Remember back when Ronald Reagan was president and the air traffic controllers went on strike? Reagan fired them all and hired new ones. People feared there would be plane crashes and multitudes of deaths. The new employees took to their jobs just fine and air travel was never the worse for the wear.

It’s the same thing with the NFL. The new officials are out there and the games are being played. The officials are trying to keep order while the players are determining the outcome.

Oh, but what if one of the officials makes a mistake that costs a team a game, you ask? That happened many a time with the regular officials too. It would be nothing new. Besides, when it does happen, only half of the fans will be upset. You see, the other half will be the fans of the team that won the game. It is the same ratio of sadness and glee that comes with every game whether it be a game where one call might have decided the outcome or one where one team won by four touchdowns.

The only thing that would really make week two of the NFL a more enjoyable setting would be if the announcers would simply ignore the fact that there are replacement officials and spend their time talking about the plays, the players and the coaches.

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