NFL Refs And The Gentleman From Wisconsin

Unions everywhere owe much to Paul Ryan.

Yesterday, in a mind-boggling stretch of logic, the GOP vice presidential nominee equated Obama with the NFL referees who blew the call in Monday night's game between Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.

It didn't take long for a swarm of TV and internet pundits to point out that Ryan had it bass-ackwards - the so-called replacement refs who are screwing up just about every game are in fact scabs - let's call a scab a scab. They're union busters like Ryan himself

So the Congressman from Wisconsin is a Packers fan? Well, you reap what you sow, and the National Football League is reaping a bitter harvest from its senseless and vindictive fight with the NFLPA (National Football League Referees Association).

What, after all, are the major points of contention? Well, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell contends that the league wants - quell irony! - to improve the quality of NLF officiating. They say they want to achieve this by adding reserve squads of three more officiating crews. The idea behind this is that referee crews would be pressured to make better decision; if they didn't they could be replaced by one of these reserve squads on the basis of performance.

A big part of the problem with that from the perspective of the refs is that in such a scenario they would have no input on what constitutes a bad performance. Another problem is that many of the refs believe that the owners would be using these reserve squads as a blade to hold over their necks in any further labor negotiations. But the real obstacle to ending the lockout is - surprise! - money. Like all corporations these days, the NFL is heavily into cost cutting, even though the NFL, unlike many other corporations, is having no money problems, and in fact cleared $9 billion in revenues last season.

The league wants to do away with the current retirement plan and substitute a 401(K) model which would save the NFL an estimated $3.3 million a year.

Yes, that's what all this is about.: a lousy $3.3 mil a year, or about what a franchise quarterback is paid per game.

Why so much misery over relative pocket change? Because the NFL owners absolutely can't stand to lose a second consecutive labor dispute. Last year, the players humbled them and this season the league bosses are determined they're not going to be beat again.

That's why there are scabs officiating NFL games and why you get results like we had Monday night.

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