So, both the scab players and scab refs have affected the integrity of the game to some extent, and that's not arguable. But, why is what NFL fans are dealing with now, so much different, and much worse for the same fans?
During the 1987 strike, TV revenues went way down, and by the end of the season, they went down overall by 20%. The NFL wasn't budging. The fans were paying for a terrible product, and they let the league, and mainly the players, know it. Even the solidarity of the players was broken down enough to get everyone back on the field and get the hell on turf show gone. That strike affected the league's bottom line, so much so, that it will never happen again. But with the replacement refs, ratings are at record highs. People are still flocking to the stadiums, and watching the games on TV just as much, if not more, than the 2011 season which came hot off a lockout. What's worse, is that Mr. Goodell can continue to sit in his office and laud the ratings success and the notoriety of his league, because everyone is talking about the mistakes of Freddy the Scab Zebra. So much for, "Integrity of the Game".
That makes the thought of the real guys not returning until the fake ones cost a team a game easier to stomach, momentarily at least. We all know that coaches and players in the NFL complain about the real guys all the time, but it never gets press. Complaining about the scab refs though, is a hot button item, and can make it easier for guys like me to get to their keyboards and type away. And Roger Goodell will continue to stare out at the New York City skyline thanking you for your efforts.
We all play into his hands with pieces on the scab refs. Whatever the difference is between the 2 sides in bargaining is irrelevant to Goodell, and anyone else right now. We play the cards he dealt us, and we're doing exactly what he wants us to do.
And unlike with the scab players of 25 years ago, there's no way we can tell Goodell to stop the charade, because we'll keep watching, and writing, while he counts his money, and our fingers grow sore from hitting the same keystrokes.
When the players went on strike in 1987, everyone lost. Someone has won here.
Whether the real refs come back in Week 3, 13, or for the playoffs, Goodell has won, and everyone else has to watch him enjoy it while we long for the biceps of Ed Hochuli to return.