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The lockout—remember that, it's a lockout, not a strike—of National Football League referees produced a series of blown calls and outrages against the players, the fans, and the game, culminating with a blown call that wrongly handed the Seattle Seahawks a game-winning touchdown on the nationally televised Monday Night Football. That call is estimated to have shifted $150 million in bets, since the Green Bay Packers had been favored to win. SBNation's Joel Thorman isn't alone in thinking that, in a perverse way, this massive error is good news for football fans:
The replacement referees appeared to botch this call from start to finish, and if you're banging your head on the desk for the regular refs to comeback then this is the best possible outcome you could've wished for. Apologies to those at Acme Packing Company who are feeling about as low as you can feel as a football fan right now, but we needed a massive replacement ref screw-up on the biggest stage—that's you, Monday Night Football—to shine the spotlight on the NFL's lockout of the referees.
But while the touchdown call for the Seahawks changed the outcome of a game in the final moments, it didn't come in isolation. It was just the last in a series of officiating errors through that game and throughout Sunday's games. Monday morning, Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg wrote:
But I watched the Ravens-Patriots game Sunday night, and I mean this sincerely: I have no idea what the score would have been with the real refs. It could have been 38-31 Patriots or 24-20 Ravens or 27-all heading into overtime ... I mean, I have no idea.
Despite the league's pressure on teams, coaches, and players to pretend like everything's fine with the scab refs, frustration was already boiling over before Monday night. Two coaches have already been fined and fines are expected for at least two others for abusing officials. In addition to the NFL Players Association letter calling on the league to end the lockout, individual players are begging to have the real refs back.

NFL management is showing just how dedicated it is to stripping its longtime officials of their pensions by allowing game after game to be compromised by incompetent officials. In fact, the Lingerie Football League has now confirmed that it fired some of these officials for incompetence, only to have them land in the NFL. The NFL cares more about keeping the teeniest sliver of its revenues away from its officials than it does about keeping Lingerie Football League washouts off the field during Monday Night Football. That's the story here. It's simple greed, the sense that management and owners can get away with compromising the game on behalf of that greed, and the belief that stripping workers of their power is a worthwhile enough goal for that.

The scab officiating is dangerous and embarrassing. Tell NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league's billionaire owners to end the lockout and bring back the real referees.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 06:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Wide World of Sports and Daily Kos.

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