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After Monday night’s game ending touchdown debacle, a weekend of chippy play and inconsistent officiating, the NFL’s replacement referees are under a serious microscope.


Why? For one, the NFL’s success and its ability to overcome challenges to its reputation, are rooted in the quality of its product. Last week and throughout Sunday’s games, the media made noise about the effect the replacement refs had on player safety, and the chippy style of play exhibited during the games. Monday’s debacle was the culmination.


The product is suffering.


Fans are noticing, players are prattling on about it, and the media are reporting on the story. From here on out the replacement refs are going to be under even more intense scrutiny.


The NFL’s reputation is beginning to take a hit. The issue needs to be resolved, and fast. This is the era of social media after all. Soon enough people’s tolerance for ongoing negotiations between the league and the (real) officials union will wane and lead to a more generalized frustration, which is bad for the NFL. The real officials must be delighted. Their bargaining leverage is much greater than it was 24 hours ago. Time for the NFL to end the ill-advised lockout of its real refs.

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