If you’re wondering if NFL tickets are in danger because of the whole replacement referee situation then you’re not alone. If there’s anything that can derail the mega-growth going on in NFL football right now it would be the uncertainty of having a crucial game upended by porr calls from the guys on the field. Now let’s be straight here. In my opinion the NFL needs to give a little and get the “real” NFL officials back on the field. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the regular crews are the cream of the crop. They’re good. Not perfect but good. Very good.
But the worst nightmare Roger Goodell could conceive probably occurred this weekend in multiple forms. First, there’s the sight of the Patriots coach running off of the field and grabbing the arm of the official who just called a field goal good. You know what? In the angle I saw I would have called it good also and I haven’t seen one that indisputably showed it to be bad. So what I think you have here is a good NFL coach working what he knows to be a set of officials that might be cowed into changing their call. Jim Harbaugh got away with it twice when his 49ers needed a challenge.
Then fast forward to the Seahawks-Packers game where a last minute call in the end zone has created massive controversy. Did the Packers intercept for a touchback or did the Seahawks catch the ball for a touchdown. It would have been controversial anyway but what you got was a perfect camera shot of one official signalling touchdown and the other touchback. Exactly what the NFL didn’t need. Exactly. let be realistic. If the regular NFL officials had been there this call would still have been controversial. What we’re seeing is a massive rejection by NFL fans of what they perceive as less than top caliber officiating. But I’m convinced that if there had been top caliber officiating we would still be listening to bitching about officiating. So what’s changed?Eric Drouant