Not being a Packers fan, I'm not nearly as broken up as everyone else around here about what happened in Seattle last night. As far as I'm concerned, the NHL lockout of the players is far worse than the lockout of the NFL officials--at least you get to watch your favorite team play. But since that's all anyone will be talking about today, I may as well throw in My Two Cents again.
Checking my Twitter timeline from overnight, the assumption is that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be holding emergency meetings this morning and that the "regular" refs and there representatives will be getting a call with a new contract giving them everything they want. Those Twitter-ers apparently don't know anything about The Commish--or how the NFL works. Here's what I think they will be thinking about at NFL Headquarters today:
"How do the television ratings look?" TV is the lifeblood of the NFL now. Without the billions gladly forked over by networks desperate to get the ratings and ad revenue generated by the league NFL owners would still be running car dealerships and the players would be working second jobs in the offseason. By all accounts, the ratings have not been affected by the replacement ref situation. And the controversy of several endings may actually boost ratings as people not normally interested in games may tune in to see what debacle might unfold in the next broadcast.
"Are we losing any sponsors?" There's a reason why there is an "official" beer, delivery service, pain reliever, ball cap, pickup truck, sports drink, lawn implement, shoe supplier, cell phone provider, fast food restaurant, pizza place, car battery camera and high definition television of the NFL. Companies love being tied to league and believe its fans are that brand loyal. I'm yet to hear anything about any sponsors saying they want to cut those ties.
"Are we being sued?" Did you notice how quickly the league moved to "enhance player safety" after a group of former players sued the league over the lifelong effects of head injuries? There was a big-money attorney that had to tell Commissioner Goodell that the league was leaving itself legally liable to similar suits in the future if at least some action was taken now. Who is going to sue over bad calls by replacement refs? And what damages could you actually claim? I lost to my co-worker in fantasy league because Golden Tate got that second touchdown?
"Are people cancelling their season tickets and demanding refunds?" A vast majority of seats for NFL games are sold on a season ticket basis--including full price for meaningless pre-season games--so teams have all that money in the bank and it is collecting interest. Even if every Packers fan dumped their season tickets as a sign of protest--there are an equal number of people who have been waiting for decades to get those tix--and they would gladly scoop them up, keeping the revenue flowing at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.
So you can call for your NFL boycotts, and boo the replacement refs and start all of the "Bring Back The Real Refs" Facebook pages you want, until Roger Goodell and the 32 team owners he serves start feeling it in the wallet, they aren't going to budge.
I'd invite you to join me on the NHL bandwagon--but that's in even sadder shape right now.