Remember when the NFL had a pretty uneventful Week 1, officiating-wise, appearing to give the league big leverage in the ongoing referee lockout? Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? In the wake of the “pulling the referee from the Saints game because he’s a Saints fan” saga and the refs’ generally-disastrous Monday Night Football showing last night, the tides have turned: everyone sounds ready to have the regular refs back.
Well, not quite everyone. Like Roger Goodell, for instance. Goodell, despite the increasing outcry about replacements, still seems content to bide his time until the referees union backs down. And following last night’s game, Steve Young was none too happy about that:
He was so not happy, in fact, that he kept arguing with Trent Dilfer even though, as best we (and Dilfer) can tell, Dilfer didn’t disagree with anything he was saying. We’ll forgive the chippiness, though, because in addition to being a little combative, Young was entirely right. Look at these ratings. The NFL’s popularity is bulletproof, and that’s what matters to the NFL. As long as people keep watching, what incentive does the league have to drum up a few million more dollars for the refs from its bottomless money-canyon?
Credit both Young and Dilfer here: for all the criticism ESPN takes about serving as a mouthpiece for the leagues with which it does multimillion-dollar business, both were unflinching in the above clip. Strong stuff about both hypocrisy and simply not caring about player safety when it doesn’t affect the league’s bottom line – and given that as of now, there’s no indication the lockout is any closer to ending, hard to disagree with any of it.