Bears Have Been Lucky In Replacement Ref Saga

It was like the ending of a predictable movie, one involving a referee lockout and replacement refs being put in a situation where one sees one thing, another sees something else, and the world watched on national television. It seems crazy and nearly impossible in a real life, but that is the exact situation that occurred on Monday night.

While the world watched Monday Night Football, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gave one last attempt to win the game they were currently trailing 12-7. Seattle’s defense had played phenomenal to this point, and the Green Bay Packers had left Seattle with a chance to score the winning touchdown. As the ball was in the air, wide receiver Golden Tate shoved down one defender, but in the ref’s defense, it isn’t often the actual referees call that on the last play. Then defender M.D. Jennings comes down with the ball as Tate also gets his arms around it.

One official waves the play dead, calling an interception. The other ref rules a touchdown. The points went on the board and the Seahawks had a victory. After the replay was reviewed and there was a ten minute delay, the call was upheld, and upheld by the National Football League 13 hours later.

In all, there were 24 penalties for 245 yards. There were plenty of other calls that were missed, including the pass interference call at the end that would have added to the total.

The Chicago Bears have been lucky this season. Outside of a couple calls that were essentially irrelevant to the outcome of the final scores, there haven’t been any calls that have cost the Bears a win. That is far from the standard of what has gone on in the NFL this season. Look back to this past Sunday’s game when the Bears hosted the St. Louis Rams. In all, there were just 10 penalties for 85 yards, hardly something that changed the game.  I’d go as far as to say the Bears have had some pretty good crews under the current standard.

What is missing, regardless of how lucky the Bears have gotten, are the real referees. Three weeks into the season, and we as fans are no longer watching the games. No one is talking today about the dominant Seattle defense, or any other aspect of what happened last night. We have been forced to become our own referees at home, and even though it will have no outcome on the game, we are not watching the game anymore.

America is passionate about the NFL. There is a reason networks are paying nearly a billion dollars each to be able to broadcast a game, some of them just one or two a week for a quarter of the year. In the long run, this isn’t going to hurt the NFL financially, there is just too much desire to sit in front of a television for 10 hours on a Sunday to watch grown men make a living. Many of those people go to the window to try and pad their wallet. I did so on Sunday, laying the three and a half points on the Packers. It is estimated that maybe $200-250 million were shifted on a bad call.

Would the real refs have missed any of the calls that have been screwed up over the first three weeks? Sure. But putting the best in the world at what they do out there should be the desire of a multibillion dollar business, rather than the alternative of what we have gotten. Remember, we are just rooting with passion and the occasional dollar. The men on the field with helmets on are making a living, and every play could have an impact on their life. The NFL doesn’t care about that, and they can no longer insult the intelligence of the world.

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