1) Replacement Refs: Hard to keep blaming these guys. They are in way over their heads, and didn't have the time, nor get the training to make them able to do this job well. I honestly believe they are trying their hardest, but it's like taking an apprentice mason and asking him to design and build a chapel. It's going to fall sooner or later.
2) Original refs: I put part of the lockout on them. They were offered a raise, and asked to transfer from a pension to a 401k. Honestly, those are reasonable requests for guys making an average of 150K a year for, basically, a part time/seasonal job. I understand the offseason work they all put in, and good for them.
- Where I REALLY have a problem with the refs union is this: They made it clear than any official who worked in their place would NEVER get into their union. That's why the league had to go as low as the high school level to find guys to work. That was petty, and is being overlooked as a large reason why these guys are SO bad. Div 1, 1AA, or Div 2 refs would be doing a much better job as they are used to working games, and in environments, that are much more closely realted to NFL games.
3) Obviously, the league: Enough is enough, if they want to keep the pension, lower salaries...do SOMEthing to make it work for both sides. This is absurd to let these guys be the focal point of the league. Week 3 had some of the BEST football I've seen in a while, and all anyone is talking about are the 2 prime time debacles over the past 2 days. Not the upsets, not the crazy endings that weren't tainted...only the refs. They have become the focus of everyone in the football world, and will remain so until they get the other guys back. If the league had hopes of wiping the slate clean, and starting over with new guys...that thought is DEAD in light of recent events.
Millionaires arguing with billionaires. I hate them all, none are without blame.
And for the record, whenever these guys come back....they'd better be PERFECT! ANd I know they won't be, and I, for one, will shine a light every time I see these guys with a "combined 1,500 years officiating NFL football" make a mistake. I can understand these replacements messing up...these other guys don't have an excuse.
Get it done!