If fans tune out, NFL will settle with referees quickly

September 25, 2012
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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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  • ha not happening
    no way people will stop watching because of blown calls ...wishful thinking tho
  • Embarrasing
    I have NFL Sunday Ticket and watch a lot of games, but I'm going to cancel my subscription. This is a joke. These officials don't even know the rules of the game. The Interference call on Green Bay that should have gone against Seatle hasn't even been mentioned. This Monday Night's game was only a small sample of the blown calls, missed calls anmd phantom calls that I have seen. The regular officials miss some calls too but aren't as blantntly obviuos as the ones I've seen this year. It makes it very hard to watch a game. Everyone who subscribes to the Sunday ticket should cancel.
  • The NFL Already has my cash
    There is not a chance of a boycott being done. With respect to the live event, the Colts/NFL already has my cash. Season tix were paid by March 1. So, I'm still going to go. So will 60,000 others in this city alone. As for the NFL Network and ESPN, I probably will quit watching as much. I am tired of all the politicking for the refs. Although last night's game was a travesty (and, frankly, looked like the outcome was fixed, especially on a week-end when nearly every favorite lost and millions of dollars were lost by bettors), the NFL could fix the problem by reversing the call now and assuring that the winning team won. Using an appellate law analysis, a one can be left with nothing less than a firm and definite conviction that a mistake was made. Use the replays that already slow down the game and correct the mistake. The regular officials are not much better. they make plenty of mistakes. Let's move on.
  • Is the mob involved???
    Seems like these quasi-refs might be throwing games one way or another - they couldn't possibly be that stupid could they?
  • Yes, politicking must stop
    season ticket holder wrote: "I am tired of all the politicking for the refs (by TV broadcasters, etc.)." To that I say, I couldn't agree with you more.
  • Flush with negativity
    There already is so much negativity in the world (presidential election, world news) and I like to watch sports as a safe haven to escape for a while. If the NFL ownership is so full of their own Kool Aid that they think they can disrespect the fans and the teams by creating a circus of negativity, then fine, I'll take my attention elsewhere.
  • NFL/owners fault
    I actually feel sorry for the replacement refs. The NFL has put them in a no win situation. There is no way that someone with a little amount of college officiating experience can be ready for the speed of the NFL in just a month. There are rookie players that say that is the hardest transition from college to the NFL and for some it takes a couple of years for the game to slow down. But now we expect the game to slow for these officials in a matter of weeks. I don't think so. The blame falls with the NFL and owners not with the replacement officials.
  • Complexity
    A great challenge to officiating the NFL games is the exponential increase in the complexity of the rules governing the NFL games versus NCAA college rules. That complexity is the dooming cloud that hangs over the NFL game officials. Examples from the past weekend include "sliding quarterbacks" (placement of the ball), clock stoppages, horse-collar tackles, injuries "time-outs" in the last game minute, is the passed-ball "catch-able," anything goes on the Hail Mary plays, etc. What does this mean? It creates a huge distraction to the individual official. Thus the officials lose focus on watching and officiating the game. What official watches what set of players? Then there's the lack of cohesiveness among the replacement officials. Thrown together without the benefit of working with each other does little to enhance the level of confidence among the officials as to their respective abilities, and most importantly, the level of communications. There is an art and science to officiating games, and it is at its highest in front of millions of people that involves millions of dollars. And there is no one more critical of an official than that official him/herself. That's what drives them to be better. And they will get better as they use the tools available to them.
  • You have no clue.
    Just when I think you really do not know anything about sports, you wwrite something that certifies the assertion. People will always follow the NFL. Through fake referees and fake players. Always. To think otherwise is to think like a fool.
  • Stop watching?
    Fans will not stop watching. This actually provides additional reason to watch - to see what all the fuss is about. The regular officials were not perfect and were often criticized for being too old. The replacements appear generally younger but obviously less experienced.
  • no big whoop
    I'll still watch. It is actually great television! I can see where gamblers might be ticked, though.
  • Boycott?
    The problem with a boycott is the fact that over half of these stadiums are season ticket holders and the teams already have their money. If you paid out that much cash for season tickets are you really going to boycott the games because of the poor officiating, probably not. The Colts have about 60,000 season ticket holders out of around 70,000 seats. The Colts have their money. What would they care if you didn't show up on Sunday? They already have their money.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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