A lot has been made of the final play from Monday Night Football. To include Twitter almost exploding following the game. Unfortunately, I was unable to watch the play live I was flying from Baltimore to Columbus that night and I had to watch it vicariously through Twitter.
The outcry was incredible and has been covered time and time again. The main meat is that as a collective fan base we figured this was the end of the referee/NFL labor dispute. Surely the NFL would act quickly to get the real refs back on the field to preserve the integrity of the game.
Then a couple things happened that really got me thinking. The NFL came out with a statement saying, sure there was an offensive PI that wasn’t called, but other than that we are good with the ruling. While most of us believe that watching such atrocities play out on the field would surely mean a deal was coming, the owners saw it a differently
In the referee’s eyes, this was the leverage that they had been waiting for. They were sure something like this was going to happen; it was just a matter of “when” not “if.” Unfortunately, in my opinion, the owners were waiting for the exact same thing to happen.
These owners are in the position they are in due to great business making decisions. Sure some were born in to the money, but they learned from a very early age how to properly manage businesses and how to handle disputes with their employees. None of these guys are where they are because they gave in to pressure or took the easy road.
So when the ref’s approached the league, certain they would get their way, something interesting happened. The owners fired back with, we are unwilling to compromise on the new labor agreement. Essentially saying, we were going to try to meet in the middle, but now it’s either our way or unemployment.
You may ask, with the events that took place Monday Night, how the owners could maintain this position? It’s simple really. If the owners aren’t going to budge after this debacle, they are NEVER going to budge. It tells the ref’s that this is bigger than the labor dispute. It tells them that they are fine with the replacements all season. They know that despite what happens on the field, the fans aren’t going anywhere.
It sends one simple message to the ref’s, agree to our terms or be replaced.
So as the referee’s union marched into the NFL offices Tuesday with all the bravado in the world, they left realizing something. They were fighting a losing battle. Regardless of what happens on the field, the owners will not concede on their terms.
Now it’s up to the ref’s to either accept their losses or be prepared to hold out all season. The fact of the matter is, fans can threaten all they want, but we will all still watch. It’s more than just rooting for your team these days. With the popularity of fantasy football and sports betting we have all the more reason to stay tuned in.
However, if calls like this continue to dictate outcomes of games, you could see the sports betting world take a legitimate hit. People will have a hard time laying down serious money if there are circumstances that affect the outcomes of games other than that of the play of the field.
Am I way off? Is this precisely what the refs needed? Let me know on Twitter @kylecedwards713