The low-hanging fruit that is the NFL replacement official class is now its own meme, and as is usually the case, it obscures the actual story.
With each new failure, each new bungle, each new overturned, underturned or just plain missed call, they have become greater and greater figures of national fun.
Face it. At this, they stink.
But they should stink. Let me say that again. THEY. SHOULD. STINK. They have undergone minimal training for a skill that takes years to master, and even the best have a noticeable failure rate, because the game is too fast and the players too big and skilled in the arts of rule-bending.
It is plainly unreasonable to expect the replacements not to stink, which is why the argument needs to be turned on its head, namely so:
If the NFL and its 32 owners, including Jed York and Mark Davis, want to brag ceaselessly about having the best of everything for your ridiculously overpriced entertainment dollar, why are they so willing to replace the best of the best, players and officials alike, at the drop of a dollar bill? If its so hard to reach the NFL why is it so easy to be exchanged for day-workers, fan boys, railyard hobos and accordionists?
Why do the owners, including Jed York and Mark Davis, insist on replacing the irreplaceable and calling the new ones just as good?
Because they essentially hold you in contempt. To them, you are a wallet with feet, and nothing more.
They take your money, they give you garbage when they need to and try to pass it off as quality, and they get annoyed when you question their motives or training skills.
Any why are we going to keep mentioning Jed York and Mark Davis? Because they signed off on this, too. Roger Goodell can huff and puff all he likes that is, after all, the real reason he gets paid but 32 men gathered to use this strategy, defend it as business, and let the one thing they sell deteriorate.
While, of course, watching the ratings hold steady, or in some cases rise.
In which case, maybe theyre on to something. Maybe you ARE just wallets with feet sheepskin wallets, to match the level of slack-jawed tolerance it takes to accept such substandard work from the organization that claims it brings the best in entertainment each and every week.
And maybe all you really want here is a reason to bitch about something else in your week, and bitching about replacement officials doesnt get you called into HR for one of their little talks.
If that is so, and the ratings and turnstiles continue to bear this out, then maybe the NFL should be replacing the replacements with people who are even worse than the ones already employed. Maybe they should do what they did with the line judge from the Saints game give a fan a spot in every crew. Maybe use B-list celebrities like the ones the networks pass off as real stars . . . And now lets wait for the call from referee Kat Dennings, appearing this week on Broadway in a one-woman adaptation of Twelve Angry Men.
Maybe a classy slogan with ads plastered throughout the broadcast day on the NFL Network: Hey, You Dont Care, So Why Should We? Or, We Put As Much Time And Interest Into Our Product As You Want Us To, So Screw It. Go Buy A Car. Or, to dovetail into their youth program, Stink 60.
And maybe let the coaches and players and broadcasters let fly with all the criticisms they want, only couched as admiration: That was the single worst call I have ever seen on any playing field ever, and for having no clue at all about even the most rudimentary rules of the game, well done to you Milt DeVries, unemployed dock worker from Dundalk, Maryland, and todays umpire.
As for the men thrown into the cauldron for now, they are doing the best they can, which is awful. But it is not unlike taking a carpenter and asking him to figure out M-theory. With the right amount of non-training, he can fail just as monumentally.
And thank you for this, Jed and Mark, and your 30 playmates. You have shown us the darkness and called it light. You voted for this. You own it. And remember the old car slogan, Quality Is Job Six, Because Our Customers Deserve Only The Worst.