By Steve Silverman
» More Columns

Bring back Ed Hochuli, and do it now.

The Packers were not so much jobbed by the referees in last night’s 14-12 loss to the Seahawks as they were victimized by the NFL’s short-sightedness and cheapskate tendencies.

The NFL is trying to save money at the expense of its part-time roster of officials who have been locked out by the league since the start of the preseason.

There have been a slew of ridiculous calls since the start of the exhibition games, but it’s only getting worse as the season moves along.

When Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw the ball into the end zone on the final play of the game, it appeared that Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings came down with the ball and had an interception. Seattle’s Golden Tate had shoved Sam Shields out of the way and then managed to get his hands on the ball, but he did not have possession of it.

Putting your hands on the football once an opponent has possession of it does not mean there is simultaneous possession, which would benefit the offensive player.

That’s a distinction that the NFL’s regular officials would know on sight. That’s a distinction that’s impossible for the replacements to make.

Replacement official Lance Easley could not do the impossible, and he raised his hands over his head and signaled a touchdown

However, the call was reviewed by the booth, and the NFL had a chance to right a wrong that would have given Green Bay a victory it had earned and taken a gift away from the Seahawks. Replay official Howard Slavin, a full-time NFL employee, let the play stand.

There were about a dozen controversial calls in the game by the scab crew, and there have been a significant number of calls in most games that lead fans, coaches and players to shake their heads on an every-game basis.

The NFL continues to do nothing as its product suffers badly.

Remember, these replacement officials are not coming from the upper levels of college football and taking one step up the ladder to the NFL. Some are Division III officials and some are coming from the Lingerie Football League.

Few have an understanding of the NFL rules, and those that do can’t keep up with the speed of the game.

The play involving Jennings and Tate that allowed the Seahawks to come away with the victory will live on as long as the NFL officials continue to get locked out. However, there will be many other awful game-deciding calls until the NFL realizes that the replacement officials are hurting the league badly.

It’s called integrity.

The NFL loves to protect its image, and Roger Goodell and his underlings like to refer to it as defending the shield.

That familiar NFL logo is being attacked on all fronts right now.

But those who are doing the attacking and ridiculing the NFL’s officiating are just shedding light on the issue. It’s the NFL itself that is causing the damage. The league’s management can’t continue to defend the replacement officials. They have to know that they are putting their sport at risk.

The next move is up to Goodell. He was hired to steward the league through difficult waters and he is doing just the opposite. The NFL ship is hitting the rocks hard and taking on water.

They need to bring back the regular officials right now.

Swallow hard and pay those men their money.

If these replacement refs continue calling games, would you go so far as to boycott the NFL for the rest of the season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…


Leave a Reply