But I do have a rudimentary understanding of the game: A bunch of guys in spandex outfits run around on a field trying to gain possession of a leather, oval-shaped ball and move it across a series of painted lines in exchange for points which are used to win games when you have more of them then the other group of guys in different colored spandex outfits.
Sort of like professional wrestling with helmets.
I don’t know anything about football, but people besides me do watch football, and a great many of them are currently on my Twitter yelling obscenities at each other because of it, which is not at all different from any other week. Today, however, there are more of them. And the swearing is much more capitalized and bolded than usual.
Most of the angst is directed at guys dressed like this one.
He’s what’s known as a football referee, or as I know him, the guy who sells me shoes at Foot Locker. But in the NFL, he is a trained professional referee who presumably went to a referee college and attained his referee degree, which he used in order to obtain his referee employment. And now, because the people who own the NFL like their money so very much and do not want to lose it, the regular referees are locked out from doing their jobs and have been replaced with replacement referees. So how’s that going?
Um, so not that well then?
Look, in case I hadn’t already set this point up well enough yet, I don’t know jack squat about football, but even I know that if the guy on the yellow team jumps up and catches the pass from the blueish-green team and comes down with it, the blueish-green team doesn’t score the points. Or win the game, for that matter. So why, universe? WHY?
Well, as it turns out, professional football referees are trained to know the rules of the game and to enforce them to the very best of their abilities, making them an elite group of highly-trained professionals who, while they may occasionally make mistakes, do perform their jobs to the utmost of their abilities. So, when the people who employ said individuals up and decide, “Hey, guess what? No more pensions!” and then lock them out of their jobs until they agree to getting screwed over, you can’t just grab random homeless people from off of the street, make them dress up in costumes you bought from Spencer’s Gifts and referee a football game.
This is the kind of thing that results from that, the whole screwing up the last play of a nationally televised football game in front of an audience of millions and awarding the game to the incorrect team. That is not a desirable outcome, to be certain.
But wait, you may be thinking, isn’t this just a stupid game that’s unimportant in the grand scheme of things? Yes, of course it is! And also, how dare you?
So, to put things into perspective, there was this thing last week in Chicago where teachers went on strike to protest unfair working conditions and the fact that collective bargaining agreements are being struck down left and right in states across the country. But none of us cares about that, because it’s not screwing up our football.
But the referee strike is making football hard to watch, which is why everybody is currently going nuts on the Internet demanding that the NFL get the actual referees back and send whoever these other people are walking around the field in referee outfits back to wherever they came from. According to what I’ve learned today, they were apparently refs in the Lingerie Football League, from which they were previously fired. No, that was not one of my jokes. I’m not nearly that funny.
I don’t mean to imply that the NFL was incorrect in their belief that, hey, obviously anybody can referee, why are we even bothering paying these guys that we have? Clearly they’ve proven me wrong on that point. Football is now obviously 100 percent more entertaining than it was previously, what with the added comedic effect of having each play interspersed with the replacement referees tripping over their shoelaces and drowning during rainstorms when they keep looking up to see where the water is coming from.
This is obviously to everyone’s benefit, especially all of the old referees, who I’m sure could use the laughs while they figure out how to feed their families when the one skill set they’re most qualified for doesn’t readily lend itself towards cooking Big Macs.
How does all of this affect you, the sports enthusiast and/or non-sports enthusiast? Well, not at all. Did football games previously have any sort of tangible effect on your life? Be honest.
But there is something to be learned from all this: If you want a quality job done right by people who are skilled at what they do, then you employ them to do their jobs correctly and compensate them fairly. If you are unable to do so, because of how much you love the feeling of assembling all of your money into the shape of a giant man and then hugging it for hours, prepare to be nationally humiliated when the people you replace them with turn out to be Keystone Cops-level screw-ups.
Or alternately, get a job blogging and just laugh at everybody. Sure works for me.
Bismarck resident Erik Hagen is the author of the SodBlog and was surprised to discover that the game of football very rarely employs the usage of the player’s feet. Explain that to him at SodBlog@me.com or visit his website at SodBlog.com.