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SBD/September 27, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NFL's Decision To Risk League's Credibility During Ref Lockout Remains Puzzling
Published September 27, 2012
NO HARM, NO FOUL: NFL Network's Jeff Darlington said the NFL will not be “tarnished” by the replacement officials and he does not believe "anybody is going to not watch" because of the replacements' performance. Darlington: "Ultimately I don’t think they lost any fans and things will move forward for the NFL without any hiccups” (“NFL AM,” NFL Network, 9/27). SPORTS ON EARTH's Shaun Powell writes, "The shield has not been tarnished ... because that suggests it’ll never be restored." Powell: "Do you really believe that? The NFL may be the only entity in this country that can survive anything. ... The NFL is part of the family, and no matter how much it misbehaves, there’s always a seat waiting at the dinner table. In time, this too shall pass" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 9/27). In Miami, Greg Cote writes nothing can “kill sports because we addicted fans are more resilient than any other breed of consumer” (MIAMI HERALD, 9/27).
BEHIND THE SCENES: In L.A., Bill Dwyre writes the decision was “business, not emotion.” This was about “getting off the front page, and back onto the sports pages, where the faithful followers can be brought back into line quickly and beer sales stay good.” Dwyre: “The longer your missteps and greed are at noise levels above the cheering for touchdowns and pass completions, the more quickly the image you seek of high-class, fan-friendly entertainment gets pushed aside for the reality that you are, first and foremost, the greediest kind of corporate America.” Dwyre adds, “Give Goodell credit. He has one of the best, and hardest jobs in the world. He also responds” (L.A. TIMES, 9/27). ESPN.com’s Jeff MacGregor wrote the real officials are back “thanks to the gravitational pull of the money bet on U.S. football.” The end of the lockout “wasn't about integrity or love of the game or player safety or the fans or even the quality of the product on the field.” This was about a “game so poorly officiated by scabs that sportsbooks were refunding money -- because an NFL game looked crooked.” This deal got done “because without real officials, real money can't trust the NFL” (ESPN.com, 9/26).
BRING IT ON: SPORTING NEWS’ Clifton Brown wrote it is “time for the union officials to prove themselves.” That is the “climate regular officials are walking into, as they return to save our NFL season from further ruin.” Brown: “We are glad to have them back. That does not mean we will cut them slack. If anything, game officials will now be held to a higher standard” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 9/26). ABC’s Josh Elliott jokingly said, “It’s good to know that now there will never, ever be another bad call in any NFL game ever” (“GMA,” ABC, 9/27). In Phoenix, Bob Young writes, “Upon further review, we've decided that we're going to miss the NFL's replacement referees.” Every week fans “had a feeling that something could go terribly wrong, and that we were watching a fiasco.” Young: “It did, and we were. The replacements turned the NFL into the Lindsay Lohan of professional leagues. We had to watch or risk missing their next clueless adventure” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/27).