Will The Real NFL Ref Please Stand Up?

After a week of what many football fans would agree as one of the most tumultuous in the league’s history, the NFL finally came to an agreement with the Referees Association, thus terminating the controversial officiating of the replacement officials. However, even with the league beginning to rebound in terms of its credibility, there’s still a lot of ground left to make up for the controversy it sparked throughout the first three weeks of the season.

The beginning of the end for this lockout took place on the last play of the Week Three Monday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle QB Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary into the end zone and the pass appeared to have been intercepted by Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings, but Seattle WR Golden Tate also got a hand on the ball, too. One of the replacement officials in the end zone called the play a touchback on the interception, while the other motioned it as a touchdown.

However, once the replays were shown, it was clearly evident that Tate committed offensive pass interference before attempting the catch, and that Jennings maintained more possession over the ball than Tate on the simultaneous catch. After a lengthy review of the play, it surprisingly stood as a touchdown.

In the two days that followed after the game, the office of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell received a reported staggering 70,000 voicemails from angry fans, calling for an end to the lockout.

Then, on Wednesday night, fans, players and coaches alike had their long-awaited wishes come true when the NFL reached a new labor agreement with the Referees Association.

Though the lockout has officially ended, I still don’t think that it will provide the league with many positive amenities for the long-term future of the sport. Sure, the real officials are finally back on the field, but the amount of time it took to get them back in that position was utterly ridiculous. Furthermore, it continues to rack up the facts on why Roger Goodell doesn’t deserve to continue his tenure as commissioner for the league.

Goodell became the NFL’s new commissioner in September 2006, and ran the sport with a respectable ease until the 2011 lockout with the sport’s Players Association. The lockout ran its course until an agreement was reached just in time for the beginning of the regular season.

In contrast to the ending of the referee lockout, they both concluded mostly due to pressure from the fans and potentially massive revenue losses, too.

All of these events really amount to how Goodell’s greed and lack of cooperation is stunting potential growth of the league.Admittedly, Goodell has had a huge hand in vastly increasing the network media coverage of the sport, but his responsibilities during the offseason are quite questionable.

Even with the regular referees reassuming their duties on the field, his reputation and credibility as commissioner is continuing to take a drastic fall. Only until a new commissioner is chosen to run the NFL will the league have the potential to regain its lost respect.

I’ve been a loyal NFL fan for almost 15 years, but my respect for the league has drastically decreased over the last few years. Though the excitement of the game will always be present and the real officials will call the games in a (mostly) correct fashion, the front offices of the sport need to institute radical changes before both fans and money take massive hits that could affect the league in the long-term basis.

Tyler Christian is a second-year film and media studies major. He can be reached at tmchrist@uci.edu.