I'll be the first to admit, I'm not exactly glowing when it comes to talking about the Seahawks. Sure, they are my home team, but growing up with Jon Kitna will do that to you. Unfortunately for Roger Goodell, the NFL now has a debacle on their hands.
You know when ESPN and Sports Illustrated make a big deal about it, you've got a serious problem. The way I see it, the replacement refs (and by extension, the NFL) may have just altered the very course of the NFC West.
You see, the NFC West, as trendy pundits are keen to point out, is on the upswing. This is a division featuring:
- the undefeated Cardinals, who were apparently the doormat of the NFL. Fun fact, they're 11-2 since last year.
- the 2-1 Seahawks, who now have an asterisk next to their record. Fun fact two, they're 7-6 in that same stretch.
- the 2-1 49ers, currently one of the leagues best teams. Fun fact three, they're pretty good.
- the 1-2 Rams, a team that has competed in every game they've played in. Final fun fact, our coach has a mustache.
Does anyone see a problem with that? You've got a division of four teams all heading into the quarter way mark of the season with a chance to win the division crown. Sure, not every team has an equal chance (and as a Rams fan, I accept that). But what happens- and we have every indication to believe it will - when the division title comes down to the final games?
The NFL can't nullify the victory because the northwest section of the country would revolt (let's be honest, that'll never happened anyway). The NFL can't really do anything. Thus, the Seahawks will have that one win that shouldn't be, the one win that could very well send them to the playoffs over the cadre of teams in the division who deserve to go as well. The NFL's response? All is well.
Make no mistake here, the replacement officials do not deserve the blame. These are people with little training who were asked to take on an impossible responsibility. We all saw it coming: the botched calls, the missed penalties. These things happen, and will continue to happen long after the scab refs are gone.
But never, as long as I can remember, have the real officials cost a team game on a play that was reviewed. It's infuriating to think that each individual (billionaire) owner won't shell out 312,500 dollars over ten years so that fans can truly enjoy the sport (for those math fans, 10 million over 10 years, divided by 32). In the age of 100 million dollar contracts, let that number sink in. That's how little it would cost, and that is a true indication of how little they care.