When word of an agreement between the officials and the NFL hit the wire yesterday, I let out a deep sigh of relief. Not because I was angry at the replacement officials. Not because I was upset with commissioner Roger Goodell for playing hardball in negotiations with the regular officials. Not because I enjoy watching the regular refs at all — they’re just pawns in the game of football that I love so dearly.
I sighed because finally we can stop paying so much attention to a ridiculously overblown drama.
I’m not talking about the Packers-Seahawks debacle from Monday night. That was a bad call that cost the Packers a win. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed it because it “screwed over” the Packers. But the first question that anyone would invariably ask me is: what if it happened to your team? Well, I’d be angry, of course. But I wouldn’t go out and protest like a bunch of yahoo Packer fans did (get a job, people … pick up trash for a living if the job market is that bad).
Things happen, it’s just a game, get over it.
I prefer to engage in football talk of substance, not semantics. For example, let’s not discuss why the Packers lost the game on a blown call; let’s analyze why their offensive line allowed Aaron Rodgers to be sacked eight times in the first half. Or, let’s ask why the Pack couldn’t pick up a first down on their last drive and avoid having to punt the ball away to the Seahawks to even give the replacement refs a chance to blow the final call.
The replacement refs had their struggles, of course. Anyone watching football with a basic understanding of the game could witness that. But for the most part, of the 48 games played through three weeks, the better team won. And no bad calls ruined my enjoyment watching the sport I love.
Finally, we can look forward and get past this. We can pay attention to the play on the field, not the zebras making calls. We can fill the radio airwaves, the television screens, the print and computer monitors with discussion of that which actually matters between the painted lines. Leave the excuses for the weak and cowardly.
But I just wonder, as the regular officials prepare to take the field this week, whether the first blown call — and it will happen — will result in any kind of undue uproar.
It certainly won’t come from me. Mistakes are made. Calls are blown.
Get over it.