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Sports Business

If fans tune out, NFL will settle with referees quickly

September 25, 2012
KEYWORDS Sports Business

After the game-ending controversy last night on Monday Night Football, many in the media think the NFL must act now to settle its labor dispute with its game referees.

ESPN has been leading the charge for weeks for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the 32 team owners to come to their senses and bring back the regular referees, which have been out all season.

It seems with each passing week the chorus becomes a bit louder. Nowhere is it louder than in Green Bay, where legions are likely moaning about the call that gave Seattle a touchdown as time expired and cost the Packers the game.

It’s irrelevant whether the call was right or wrong. It’s also irrelevant what the media thinks.

The only thing likely to hasten a settlement—other than the referees agreeing to the NFL’s contract terms—is if team owners become convinced that the replacement referees are damaging the game experience for fans.

I’ve watched all three Colts games closely, and while there have been some botched calls and the pace of the game has been slowed a bit, I’m not sure it rises to the level of hurting the game experience.

But like I said, it doesn’t matter what the media thinks.

So what about the fans? Is your game-day experience being hurt by the replacement officials? Is it enough to keep you from buying tickets or cause you to turn off your television?

Your response is important. Because without an outcry, this labor dispute could drag on for the foreseeable futureand—gasp—into the playoffs.

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