Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I like the replacement referees

I’ve always said that the Pro Bowl should be played like a video game.  It’s not like it’s ever a good game anyways, why not make it fun?  They should have a giant Madden tournament or something and have the two finalists play the Pro Bowl.  And by “play,” I mean they should get to call every play for the game.  You’d be getting onside kicks, teams going for it on fourth and twenty, fake field goals, hail mary passes on second down, and ten-man blitzes throughout the whole game.  Wouldn’t that be a lot of fun to watch?

But this will never happen.  The NFL would never turn their sport into a real-life version of a video game.  And it is for this reason that I am enjoying the referee strike and the resulting atrocious calls made by the replacement referees.  It’s almost like each team has a certain amount of cheats they can use throughout the game and, frankly, it adds a new level of tension and excitement to the game.  We’ve been watching football forever, and it’s getting a little redundant.  But have you ever seen a player getting called for pass interference without even touching their opponent?  Well, now you have.

Imagine it’s third down and five, but you don’t trust your running backs to make up the necessary yards.  Why not just hit the B-button and have the official call unsportsmanlike conduct on the other coach when he tries to call a timeout?

I was talking about this with a coworker this weekend but added the caveat, “As long as it doesn’t fuck with a Packers game.”  And, as I’m sure you know by now, the Packers got hosed by a bad call on Monday.  “Bad” may not be a strong enough word.  Awful.  Piss-poor.  Atrocious.  Two-times over.  But as the NFL stated, “The result of the game is final.”  And much like after a bad breakup with a girlfriend/boyfriend, you just have to accept the idea of its finality and move on, no matter how much it doesn’t make sense.  Aside from the horseshittiness of the whole deal, I stand by my statement of enjoying the replacement refs.  Sure, they cost Green Bay a game, but I get to see other great things like a referee tripping a player with his hat.

Watching the replacement referees fumble with their microphones before making a call that no one can hear is funny.  It’s like watching a movie, except in real-life (does that mean we’re living in a movie?  Oh shit, bro…).  Rick Vaughn was a joke at the start of Major League,  Keanu Reeves couldn’t throw for shit at the start of The Replacements, shit, even the Icebox was a little sketchy at the start of Little Giants.  But by the end they had endeared themselves to us with their faults and mistakes, and when they had all of their shit figured out, we loved them more than we could have previously imagined.  Or something like that.  And maybe that’s what will happen with these replacement refs.  Maybe after watching them struggle for a few months, we’ll start cheering them on and applauding them whenever they make a correct call.  Wouldn’t that be more fun than screaming at them through your TV just because they don’t know how to determine dual-possession? 

There’s been a lot of hoopla over the replacement referees and their effect on the NFL, many saying they are tarnishing the sport.  I don’t think that is true.  If anybody has sullied the sport, it’s the idiots that get arrested for shooting up a nightclub or driving drunk or sexually assaulting women or take a ten-minute dance break for making a tackle even though they are losing by twenty points.  The only thing that worries me about this whole deal is that the players, who are already in great danger every time they step on the field, seem to be in greater danger with the replacement refs watching their backs.  Want an example?  Here’s one and here’s one.  If those are legal plays, then you might as well bring a sword on the field.  It’s sad, but this added level of danger might even bring more fans to the sport.  People watch Nascar hoping to see a car go flying into the stands and exploding on impact.  Not all, but some.  And now people might tune into a football game on the off-chance that they could see someone get their head ripped off by some steroid-driven freak.

And that’s what the whole replacement referee deal comes down to:  The NFL doesn’t have a real reason to bring the original refs back as long as people continue watching the games.  And people are simply not going to ignore their team because of the refs.  That’s not going to happen.  I’d watch Aaron Rodgers and Donald Driver playing flag football in wheelchairs.  Watching them play full-speed NFL football with some jokers calling offsides on the hotdog vendors is perfectly fine with me.

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