Thursday, September 27, 2012

Even Though The NFL Officials Return Tonight, Some Snark Is Too Good To Ignore

Last night, the NFL owners caved and the NFL officials' union got what it wanted. So the greatest threat to our civilization has been averted. In the meantime, the opprobrium had been heaped upon the National Football League for hiring scab zebras to conduct business as usual. The final play of the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks was the tipping point. Eags, a Seattle guy, wrote about the "Inaccurate Reception" and snarked the NFL owners and their league employees. If this is a (fair & balanced) 32 mendacious NFL owners, so be it.

PS: The TagCrowd has gone dark for some maintenance and upgrades. So, the poor blogger was forced to import a replacement word cloud maker: Wordle. What goes around, comes around.

[x NY Fishwrap]
By Timothy Egan

(Click to embiggen Wordle cloud)

(Click to embiggen the 'toon)

Oh, the horror: on the greatest national stage we have, in the last second of a close game, a bunch of replacement referees from the Lingerie Football League and other far outposts of the sport took a game away from the rightful winners.

All because an incredibly prosperous cartel wants its longtime workers to take a cut in pension benefits — this at a time when the cartel is earning more money than at any time in its history, and has the greatest audience in American television.

But the “inaccurate reception,” as they’re calling the interception-that-became-a-touchdown Monday night, could spur many of the couch-dwelling citizens of Football Nation to give Mitt Romney’s Bain-style corporate economics a hard look. It’s worked so well for the rest of the United States, this wealth gap, this creative destruction on behalf of the noble job creators. Now look what it’s doing to the true national pastime.

Just look at who wants to get the union referees back on the job today: Scott Walker, the union-busting governor of Wisconsin, and Paul Ryan, Romney’s union-dissing running mate. “Just give me a break!” Ryan tweeted. “It’s time to get the real refs.”

So what’s at stake in an economics parable that goes to heart of our true passion?About $3 million and change. That’s it. The refs, who earn between $78,000 and $139,000 annually for part-time work, are holding out to preserve their pensions, among other sticking points. The National Football League, which took in more than $9 billion in revenue last year and owned 23 of the 25 most watched telecasts last year, wants to cut the pension contribution by about 60 percent, moving the refs from a defined benefit into something closer to a 401(k).

What’s $3 million to the N.F.L.? It’s the price of a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl. So, to be clear, the most popular entertainment commodity in the land is willing to seriously tarnish its name, its reputation and the validity of its games for the price of a single half-minute ad.

Of course, it’s usually hard to find sympathy for the zebras. But by bringing in such an incompetent crew, and standing hard for greed over credibility, the football owners have roused a nation to the side of the faceless vice principals and other officious types who wear the stripes. Monday night’s game took over the Twitterverse, and even prompted another plea from President Obama to bring the refs back.

And while I should be joyous that my feisty, young, oft-overlooked Seattle Seahawks have now beaten the evil Dallas Cowboys and the perennially likable and publically owned Green Bay Packers, I can’t exult.

No, not with that lousy call that gave my boys the game in the last second, fresh in the mind. Two headlines, from the two states, said it all.

“Grand Larceny: Packers Get Robbed of Win in Seattle.” That from the OshKosh Northwestern.

“Hawks Steal One.” The Seattle Times.

On Tuesday, the N.F.L. said the final score would stand — no further reviews.

But nobody wants to win on the backs of incompetents, particularly here in Seattle, a proud union town. Ω

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

Copyright © 2012 The New York Times Company

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Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves by Neil Sapper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.

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