The NFL and refs

There's no question that reffing is always bad. It always gets worse every year. Fans get that, we bitch and moan and go on about things.

This year in the NFL, the league has locked out the refs, and brought in small college replacements. There's no question these folks are trying really hard to do the job, and do it right. Tonight's Seattle vs Green Bay game ended with a bizarre call, and there were some really egregious calls and non-calls. I saw someone on twitter say "It's just a game, get over it."

Well, I thought about it, and really, that kind of makes me mad, in a nerd-ragey sort of way. Here's why:

I've been a Broncos fan since I was about 10 years old (that's the earliest I can remember actually being able to sit down and pay attention and understand the game for real.) I've come to expect a certain level of professionalism as well as competence from the players, coaches, and referees. We're not getting it. The players and coaches are plenty competent. The refs are trying, they really are, but it's like asking a group of snorkelers or folks who dive when they can (and are experienced at it, but aren't doing it all the time), tossing them in a simulator and some big tanks for a few weeks, and then asking them to do a deep sea wreck recovery. Or asking a small town cop to lead a Secret Service detail. There's no question that these people have knowledge, but they really lack the depth of experience necessary to do the job adequately.

Saying this is "Just a game" is an insult to the players who bust their asses to get to the elite level. It's like saying "Well, you're just writing code" to a guy like Linus Torvalds.

It's an insult to the fans who pay buckets of money to go see games; yeah, we all want our team to win, but really, we also want a fair game. Imagine, if you will, Barbra Streisand goes on tour. Tickets to see her cost (At a quick glance at StubHub) here in my hometown starting at $154 and going as high as $5000. Tickets to see the San Francisco 49ers start at $64 and go up to about $1000, so it's not completely incomparable. Now, let's say you find out that it's not going to be her professional crew backing her up - it'll be local college musicians who've had a couple weeks of practice. Or it'll be the high school theater's lighting crew. There's nothing wrong with these people's capabilities, and they're possibly very good. But they're not experienced at the level they should be.

But that shouldn't matter. It's just a concert, right?

Get your shit together, NFL. If there's one thing the fans are agreeing on right now, it's that this is ridiculous, and someone's going to get hurt. Heck, the Broncos fans are hating this more than they're hating on the Raiders, and that? That's serious.