By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net
How big of a deal is the NFL replacement official’s controversy? On Tuesday morning, after what I will admit was a horrendous call that changed the outcome of the Packers/Seahawks game, the lead story wasn’t about how the President was going to address the U.N. later in the day or anything related to the election. All of the major networks began their broadcasts with the story of the botched call and how the NFL product is being tarnished by not working out a labor agreement with their “A Team” officials.
The back story is this. The original NFL officials are considered part-time employees. Many of them have regular old jobs like selling insurance or firefighting Monday through Friday and then get to be a major part of the most successful sports organization in the World on Sunday afternoons. These gentlemen are currently battling out a labor deal with the NFL and the sticking point is pensions.
After the NFL knew that an agreement wouldn’t be made in time for the 2012 season, they called on replacement refs to step in. The replacement officials also have other occupations that keep them busy during the week and all of them do have some refereeing experience. Some have worn the stripes for Big Ten and other college games, some have worked in Arena football and even in the former Lingerie Women’s football league…I wish I were kidding.
Since the season started 3 weeks ago, there have been a number of mistakes made by these backup officials. Some have called penalties based on college rules, others have let obvious penalties go and even one called an interception a touchdown catch that could have a huge impact on the rest of the season.
How familiar is this situation? An agreement can’t be worked out that would give certainty to a group of professionals that do their job better than anyone else could. Reminds me of what is happening to farmers and the impact of not having a farm bill.
The farm bill from 2008 is set to expire at the end of this month. No matter how many producers called their legislators or even made the trip to Washington for a Farm Bill Now rally, nothing got done and now Congress is out of town until after the elections.
What would it take to grab lawmakers’ attention? Should farmers have a lockout? Imagine the impact of every farmer taking just one day off would have. Do you suppose the government would try to call in replacement farmers? Just average Joe’s that would step right in and take over the everyday tasks that come along with farming.
It wouldn’t be long until the silos were filled with manure, corn would be baled and bulls would be milked. Guess what the lead story would be the next morning on all of the major networks.
If Washington doesn’t get its act together and pass a comprehensive farm bill, this Country may lose more farmers that it can afford to, and you can’t replace a farmer.