NFL “Real” Refs Finally Return And Why You Should Be Mad, And The Mfan Nfl Picks For Week 5!

Marc Elliott

LARSMONT… As you know by now the National Football League has agreed on a new contract with the leagues regular officials. After a Monday Night Football game ending debacle between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks on the 24th, created by a quite apparent wrong call on a last second hail Mary play, fans, players, coaches, team exec’s, and 35 polka bands from the Cheese state, were joined by just about everyone else in the country outside of Seattle in 48 hours of solid derision against the league and the lockout of it’s regular referee’s. They came to a tentative new agreement less then 48 hours later on Wednesday eve.

Worse then the actual flub on the original play is that after a lengthy review, the replacement officials blew it on the review of the play as well and stuck with their original incorrect call made on the field of play. This left just about everyone excepting the Seahawk faithful in a state of disbelief. The duopoly of errors left just about all fans calling for some heads to roll at the league offices. As I am not really a fan of the NFL anymore, for a variety of reasons, this whole debacle was of no consequence to me.

And when I did follow the league, those who know me know that I was no fan of the Cheeseweasels. But this matter wasn’t about that at all. This whole debacle boiled down to an integrity of the game matter. From what I have read about the replacement officials, it sounds like it was the hope of the league that they would settle into their jobs, improve a bit each week and allow the league to drag on negotiations with the real officials for so long as they saw fit. But that wasn’t happening, they were actually getting worse by the week until the futility and ineptitude of their work came crashing down on the Cheese. That was the end of the line. And rightfully so.

I’ve seen quotes from some close to the game that there was a deal close at hand, maybe so, maybe not. The league’s top officials get about $150k per season for 20 games. The ones who grade out the best at seasons end get the playoff assignments and the perks that come with them. The fight wasn’t over salary though, it was about altering the way the officials retirement fund was operated and the leagues ability to eliminate officials who consistently graded out poorly for game performance.

For me it just leaves me with more question marks about a $9bil per year sports business willing to sacrifice the integrity of their product for a budget line item that is only slightly more per season then a season worth of salary for some of it’s highest paid players. In addition, for the amount of revenue the NFL takes in the amount spent on referees in a given season is just about relative to the amount a little league baseball concession would spend on popcorn for a season. That they would be willing to put a teams won/loss record and playoff chances on the line in such a careless manner should concern all fans.
At the end of the day the Cheese lost a game they won on the field of play. Monday night into Tuesday morning, I, The Masked Fan, former NFL fan, former maniacal fan and defender of the Purple, was standing with the Cheese and the Cheese faithful. They wuz’ robbed and there were several million witnesses to the crime. But then the power of the masses came together. The power of truth and getting things right converged on the NFL and made them fix the problem. The real officials returned for Thursday night’s game between Baltimore and Cleveland. Now, if we could just get that many folks excited about what is going on in their country….

CONDOLENCES are in order for Minnesota NorthStar hockey icon and the family of Lou Nanne on the loss of their son Dr. Mike Nanne. The young Nanne was 48 and was a team dentist for the Minnesota Wild. He was 48 years old.

CONDOLENCES are in order for the family and friends of former UMD Bulldog forward Bruce Fishback who has passed on at the age of 47 in Michigan. Bruce hailed from White Bear Lake and played for Mariner HS.

Both of these hockey brothers were quite accomplished people on and off the ice. If you were to read a listing of the things that Mike Nanne had done professionally and personally, it wouldn’t be a short read. The same is true for Fishback who, after his hockey days were done became a Senior Executive with the famed Minnesota corporation 3M. We lost both of these brilliant young men to the same disease, brain cancer. If you have the means, make a donation today to the American Brain Tumor Association. It is one of the most under funded types of cancer research there is…. PEACE

(HOME team in CAPS)
GOATMEN over Cards
CINCY over Fish
Cheese over PONIES
Balt over CHEFS
VIKES over Tenn
Falcon over WASH
NYG over Brownies
Eagle over STEEL
Seabirds over CARO
Bear over JAX
PATS over Broncs
NINER over Buff
Texans over J-E-T-S
SAINT over Charger

CURRENT WEEK; 14-4, OVERALL, (incomplete) 34-28

Marc Elliott is a free lance sports opinion writer who splits time between his hometown in Illinois and Minnesota. Elliott grew up in the Twin Cities with many of his childhood neighbors working or playing for the Vikings and Twins. He participated in baseball, football and hockey before settling on hockey as his own number one sport. Elliott wrote “The Masked Fan Speaks” column for the Lake County News Chronicle for ten years and was a prominent guest on the former “All Sports” WDSM 710AM in Duluth.