I know we don’t cover sports all that often here at Thought Catalog. (The last time I watched a football game with our editors, one of them clapped loudly and exclaimed “Touch of downs! Touch of downs!” after a missed field goal.)
But with your Twitter feeds all blowing up this morning with NFL news from the game last night, I figured I’d give the members of our audience who have less of a sports background a brief rundown of what happened.
So, what sport is this now?
And who was playing the match?
We typically call it a game, not a match, but, you know, whatever. The game was between Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.
Green Bay, Wisconsin has a professional sports franchise?
I know. Weird, right?
So what happened?
Basically, at the end of the game Green Bay was winning. Seattle had one last play to try and win the game. They threw it up, and it looked like Green Bay intercepted the pass. But for some reason the refs called it a touchdown, and Seattle won.
Eesh. Um, how do I put this. The referees, the officials, in charge of the game, they screwed up, it looks like. And a lot of people think the wrong team won.
Oh. So what?
Well, the big problem is that there are replacement referees. The NFL refused to pay the regular referees what they wanted, and the refs have a union, so the league locked out the refs and now they have replacement referees in.
So the inability to successfully negotiate with a union fucked over the state of Wisconsin?
The irony is not lost on me.
Again, though, I ask: so what? They’ll get ‘em next time.
Well, there are a lot of issues at stake here. One is the fact that the league constantly argues that they should make safety a priority in the league and the safety of the players is their number one concern. By putting incompetent officials on the field — the representatives of the league who are expected to maintain order and safe playing conditions once the whistle blows — the league is pretty loudly arguing that money is actually more important than player safety, because they’d rather place referees they found on the street than have to pay real refs.
Not to mention, one win can be the difference between a playoff team and a non-playoff team, which can be the difference between a coach and/or players keeping or losing their jobs, getting contract bonuses, etc. There are only 16 games in an NFL season. To have one thrown away by incompetent officiating is a bigger deal than one might think.
On top of which, the league is dangerously teetering towards losing the mantle of being the nation’s most respected league. It took the NFL decades to surpass baseball and become the national pastime, and now, at the height of their popularity, they risk undermining the very sanctity of what they’ve created by making it seem no different than a WWE cage match. When you hire incompetent people in your business, the business projects incompetence.
You’re not paying attention to me, are you?
Sorry, I just noticed a very pretty bird flying by.
Ah, got it. Well, yeah. That’s what happened in the football game last night, and that’s why everyone is upset today.