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With Congress showing no inclination to get involved, NFL can continue to hunker down

Roger Goodell AP

I’ve said a time or two in recent weeks that only Congress could pressure the NFL to end its lockout of game officials.  Now that the blunders of the replacement officials have risen to the level of national, non-sports news, Congress could be more inclined to hold a hearing and/or launch an investigation.

Especially since the President has taken notice.  In addition to his Tuesday tweet, Barack Obama said of the situation this afternoon (via John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal):  “Terrible. I’ve been saying for months, we’ve gotta get our refs back.”

Those of you clamoring for an end to the lockout likely would respond to the possibility of Congressional intervention by once again shouting, “Don’t they have better things to do?”  And, for once, they do have something better to do.  Every member of the House of Representatives and plenty members of the Senate are facing re-election in six weeks.

So don’t count on Congress getting involved — at least until after Election Day.

And without Congress inclined to rattled swords and/or threaten antitrust exemptions, don’t count on the NFL giving in.  Peter King of SI.com explains that the NFL will hold firm, weathering whatever short-term storms may come in the hopes of getting what the NFL wants from its officials, including a bench of potential in-season understudies who can replace those who may need to be yanked from service for performing the way the officials performed last night.

But this may not be a storm the NFL can weather.  Especially if the replacements continue to perform like they have in recent weeks.

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52 Responses to “With Congress showing no inclination to get involved, NFL can continue to hunker down”
  1. dilberry says: Sep 25, 2012 3:50 PM

    Congress has no reason to get involved. They can’t even handle what they’re dealing with as it is.

  2. rpiotr01 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:50 PM

    Why doesn’t the NFL have a bench of guys to replace the current refs who are doing a terrible job? The guys who did GB-SEA also did STL-WASH – both games were clearly beyond their control. There is no CBA with current replacements, so why can’t they replace this crew?

  3. thetruth702 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:52 PM

    I think it’s funnt that we are in a economical crisis and people festroying u.s. embasseys and all this stuff going on but obama has all this time to worry about refs and march madness. Worry about stuff that matters. Not sports

  4. thermy1 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:58 PM

    Time for a fans to react. We should boycott the first half of all games. The reduced revenue will cause the owners to take notice.

  5. thegreatgabbert says: Sep 25, 2012 3:58 PM

    I don’t think the league could have game planned a worst case scenario than what occured in Seattle last night. Basically they are trying to tell millions of fans that they can’t believe their own eyes. Good luck with that.

  6. cooklynn17 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:59 PM

    Off Topic, but does anybody else find it amusing that the Jets season is totally ruined?

    That’s what happens when you run your mouth and do not and cannot back it up.

  7. desertpirate1146 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:00 PM

    NFL is making the biggest mistake ever. Can’t they see that this has moved beyond just the blogs and sports sections? Front Page headline news everywhere.
    As an added bonus, no one here has mentioned the non-replacement “Supervisor” official at last nights’ game. None other than the excellent, and always accurate Phil Luckett….no wonder it got screwed up even worse..

  8. habsfanatic says: Sep 25, 2012 4:00 PM

    It’s clear the replacement refs are having trouble on many levels. All the blame seems to be going to the league right now, but why is it that we know so little of the real refs’ demands? Do they simply want a salary hike that cheapo owners find unreasonable or are there other demands that are slowing the process down? All this recent pressure on the league gives leverage to the NFLRA but what if what they’re asking for really is ridiculous?

  9. falcongorestl says: Sep 25, 2012 4:00 PM

    If Congress gets involved in this, it will be an embarrassment to Congress

  10. fuzzynuts55 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:01 PM

    Focus on the 9-14% unemployment and the economy.

  11. warhammer7474 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:01 PM

    Congress has no business getting involved with private enterprise anyway. Seriously…they have so many things on their table, I wouldn’t want them to have to spend one minute (months on the congressional timetable). NFL needs to handle their own business.

  12. JSpicoli says: Sep 25, 2012 4:02 PM

    Get real people.

    It’s football.

    Why don’t you spend some time educating yourself on the issues of the day that matter?

  13. marthisdil says: Sep 25, 2012 4:02 PM

    Congress can’t get involved unless they decide to make it where unions and employers can’t have agreements, etc.

    And if they decide to bust unions, they bust them all.

    Won’t happen.

    The old refs need to give in and do away with their current/old retirement and just deal. Or the NFLPA needs to pony up the money to pay for their retirement.

    I have no sympathy for the old refs. I honestly hope the league keeps the replacements, continues to train them so they get better, and comes to terms with them and tells the old refs to kiss off.

  14. ldfontenot says: Sep 25, 2012 4:02 PM

    The only way to stop this charade is to stop watching games:that’s it. It’s the only power we fans have. None of us are going to NOT watch our own teams play, but bite the withdrawal bullet and don’t watch the Thursday game or other team games this weekend, and I gaurantee you they will resolve the issue quickly. Like the guy said, Be Mad as HEll and Don’t take it any more. Don’t watch!

  15. newneumanns says: Sep 25, 2012 4:04 PM

    This isn’t a government issue, but I’m glad Roger Goodell and his billionaire bosses will continue to hold out. I’m with the refs on this, but nothing will make me feel better than the NFL losing some popularity and those greedy knobs losing a little money, if that’s possible.

  16. deadeye says: Sep 25, 2012 4:04 PM

    Oh no, please keep the inept Congress out of this issue. They have no business here.

  17. RavenzGunnerz says: Sep 25, 2012 4:04 PM

    These REFs are turrible

    – Joey Crawford

  18. btwicey says: Sep 25, 2012 4:05 PM

    Wow who would have thought it would come to this….

  19. RavenzGunnerz says: Sep 25, 2012 4:06 PM

    Week 2:
    Joe Flacco: “We need regular refs back”
    Rest of NFL: “Stop whining Flacco. You lost”

    Week 3:
    Rest of NFL: “We need regular refs back!!!”

  20. rogbill says: Sep 25, 2012 4:06 PM

    Of course they can weather the storm. Here’s a thought – maybe the regular refs should be happy to be making 6 figures for a part-time job.

    All officials make mistakes – they will continue to get better.

    All those screaming boycott will be right there next Sunday as always.

  21. ayoungandres says: Sep 25, 2012 4:10 PM

    How much could these replacement officials possibly be making? Someone should create an organization that will pay the officials whatever they would have made so long as they quit now. In the aggregate, it wouldn’t cost that much and I bet fans would donate $5 in droves. The lockout would be over in a week.

  22. serude27 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:11 PM

    Why does everyone blame the NFL for the lock out of the strike. No one is blamming the locked out officials. The least paid official last season was paid $78,000 over the 16 game season which is $4875 a game. Each game last roughly three and a half hours so that comes out to be about $1400 an hour. Who would like to make $1400 an hour, I sure as hell would.

  23. greatgallopingghost says: Sep 25, 2012 4:11 PM

    If you think the stand-in referees are bad, let Congress get involved and see how bad it can really get.

    And no, they have no business getting involved. They should neve have been involed in MLB steroid scandal either. Sports is not government.

  24. cappa662 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:12 PM

    I think the refs can hunker down because all of those guys are lawyers, doctors and administrators. This is just “extra” cash for them because I doubt they have 10 baby mamas, 5 mortgages and a bunch of leechers.

  25. whitecastleisafoodgroup says: Sep 25, 2012 4:12 PM

    Or fans get involved and picket their respective teams offices.

  26. baffinbay says: Sep 25, 2012 4:17 PM

    The NFL shouldn’t overpay these greedy refs just because they can afford to. Anyway, just as much blame is with the replay booth referee last night.

    Congress should stay out of it and the NFL should hold firm. The replacements will get better.

  27. bigbluefan1 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:17 PM

    Stop with bashing Rodger its the 32 owners who run the NFL Rodger is the mouth peice for them.

    Call your team complain to them only the owners can fix this mess.

    If the owners wanted it over it would be over in a second so stop picking on the league office and put the blame where it belong greedy refs and greedy owners

    As most fans have season tickets when you go to the game do not buy anything inside the stadium no beer no hotdogs no gear.

    I can not guess how much money is made each week with $9.00 beer and $5.00 bottles of water.
    Not to mention the $120.00 jerseys

    Eat and drink before the game in the parking lot where no money goes into the pockets of the owners.
    Do buy any of the nike products wear your old rebock gear.

  28. huskersrock1 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:22 PM

    Even the thought of Congress getting involved in this dispute is insane.

    The country is heading towards a fiscal cliff with a 16 trillion dollar debt. I, although, voting republican, blame both sides and two bad presidents.

    Congress needs to spend time working on things that are truly important like…oh…maybe Iran’s nuclear production project, or China’s spying and unfair trade practices.

    I love watching the NFL but it is just in the end entertainment.

  29. crazysandude says: Sep 25, 2012 4:27 PM

    The old ref’s sucked too. Give the new guys some time.

    Note to the Green Bay Packers:

    You shouldn’t have left the outcome of the game in the hands of the officials. Since you didn’t out right win you deserve to loose.

    With warm regards,

    Al Davis

  30. gln9213 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:28 PM

    Where do you come up with this stuff? Who cares if Obama weighs in on this issue?

  31. realitypolice says: Sep 25, 2012 4:30 PM

    I realize that since football is your livelihood, so you can be expected to lose a little perspective.

    Let me help you regain it. Last night’s game drew an overnight rating of 11.5. That means approximately 11.5 million people watched it.

    The population of the US is over 311 million. That means that for every person who watched last night, 30 did not.

    As popular as football is, only around 3% of the US population cares about it enough to watch MNF.

    That is why congress should absolutely not get involved.

  32. zn0rseman says: Sep 25, 2012 4:30 PM

    Congress has better things to do that to spend their limited and expensive time dealin with a… wait for it… Game.

    This is professional football. Should congress step in for the NBA too? How about the WWE? Regardless of how much we all love our football and pur teams, in the end it is meaningless entertainment.

    These are pro sports, businesses designed to make money.

    Congress is the government.

    When the two start crossing paths, this nation is truly lost.

  33. sdsockers says: Sep 25, 2012 4:33 PM

    Why the hell should Congress get involved? This is a private business, and their product is entertainment. My safety isn’t in question due to a strike, the security of our country isn’t lessened by the lock-out, and the last time I looked I still had access to all the fresh water and electrical power I needed. This is not an issue for our Representatives and Senators to deal with. Hell, they’re busy not dealing with the business they have in front of them!
    You don’t like inferior football? Watch something else. Go outside and play with your children (remember them?)
    You’re angry because you shelled out cash for season tickets? Sue the NFL and your team’s owner for breach of contract and fraud, for putting out an inferior product when you paid full price.

  34. justwinbaby29 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:34 PM

    Now the 31 other NFL teams fans can know what it feels like being a Raiders fan!

  35. amanistumor says: Sep 25, 2012 4:36 PM

    Boycott is needed!!!!!

    But unfortunately myself and most fans can’t bring themselves to do this… I’m going to still go to home games and watch the others on TV. Who in their right mind is gonna sit on tickets, psl’s, etc.

    But the one thing I and other stadium attending fans CAN DO IS BOYCOTT PURCHASING ANYTHING INSIDE THE STADIUMS. Let’s go a game or two not taking a train to the stadiums and not pay $40 to park, drinking expensive stadium beers & sodas, eating hotdogs, pretzels, whatever. Carry that into buying anyNFL merchandise and maybe these owners and their ladyboy Godell will get some kind of message.

  36. huskersrock1 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:41 PM

    It is amazing to me there is more outcry over the results of a game than there is of each man woman and child in this country owing over 50,000 to the national debt. Each person reading this owes 3200 dollars to the Chinese, 3200 to the Japanese etc. And don’t forget; your wife and each child does too. Still thinking about the game last night?

  37. azpackerbacker says: Sep 25, 2012 4:42 PM

    Replacement refs = bad. Replacement congressmen = good.

  38. steeelfann says: Sep 25, 2012 5:05 PM

    Congress has no constitutional authority to be involved in private business matters.

    ZERO.

    Sure, the present government is constantly violating the constitution, but it still needs to pointed out.

    Stay out of citizens matters. Limited authority.

  39. Stupid Lions Fan says: Sep 25, 2012 5:08 PM

    You’re right Florio, congress should get involved. Obama should speak about it at the next state of the union. Let’s send troops to the stadium to get it sorted out. Let’s impose a tax to pay competent officials. Florio… you are an idiot.

  40. mizzouram says: Sep 25, 2012 5:11 PM

    The only thing that can possibly effect this is a nationwide fan boycott.

  41. zeke2517 says: Sep 25, 2012 5:14 PM

    “Sure, the present government is constantly violating the constitution, but it still needs to pointed out.”

    The fact that you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean they’re “violating” anything.

    But in all seriousness, I’m not sure what the government could do in this situation. Pass legislation outlawing lock outs? Yeah. I’m sure the Republican-held House of Representatives is just champing at the bit to empower labor in such a manner.

  42. taintedsaints2009 says: Sep 25, 2012 5:18 PM

    how can you even bring in the idea of congress getting involved in this? why do liberals such as yourself continue to see the federal government as the only solution to any problem?

    if anything, it would get 100x worse and 100000x more expensive if the federal government intervened.

  43. richc111 says: Sep 25, 2012 5:18 PM

    Wow Congress not doing anything. That a new one!

  44. adk77 says: Sep 25, 2012 5:20 PM

    As a neutral fan, did anyone notice Pete Carroll’s reaction when given that TD?

    No one should think that sportsmanship is alive in the NFL.

  45. audient says: Sep 25, 2012 5:28 PM

    Keep the replacement refs, but only if coaches are allowed to throw folding chairs at them for bad calls. No more than one per half.

    Seriously, the players and fans deserve the best officiating available. The regular refs weren’t always perfect. Heck, I was at the Browns-Jaguars bottle game. But the regular refs get it right most of the time, and we have confidence in their officiating overall.

  46. mediasloppy says: Sep 25, 2012 5:43 PM

    Wow! The President made a simple statement and people are complaining?

    I keep getting more thumbs down for telling the truth. You anti-union folks are basically saying Corporations can fire highly paid QUALIFIED employees with cheaper alternatives. Weep what you sow.

    There is always middle ground to reasonable people and it has been abundantly clear the Union workers take a lesser deal than want…

  47. calbsure says: Sep 25, 2012 5:43 PM

    Getting Congress involved? Evidently you haven’t heard about the economic quagmire they’ve created by being involved.

  48. wiseguy12 says: Sep 25, 2012 7:17 PM

    The Green Bay fiasco was an inevitable event. It was only a matter of time before this would happen. The commisioner of the NFL bears 100% of the responsibility for the state of the league as it is today. He chose to fight rather than try to compromise and the owners were willing partners. I think yesterday’s game will expedite a settlement. If not, fans are not as powerless as they may believe. An efffective tool to motivate the owners back to the table may be an advertiser boycott. If enough fans were to pledge to suffer through the games but refuse to purchase any goods or services advertised on television or radio, the advertiser may be able to threaten to pull ads. The contracts would need to contain a provision that requires the NFL to deliver on its product, but it could be worth a shot.

  49. xcerebus1 says: Sep 25, 2012 7:17 PM

    It’s a shame there isn’t some other union involved in football, if only, say like, the players had a union and could tell the NFL they won’t cross the picket line. Of course why would we want the NFLPA to act like a regular union would?

  50. nathanbetz91 says: Sep 25, 2012 9:05 PM

    Obama,I think you have more important things to worry abut than an NFL officiating crew. Just stick to what your good at, which at the moment I can’t think of what that is

  51. packhawk04 says: Sep 25, 2012 9:06 PM

    I defended the replacement refs early on, and im not defending them anymore. What i will say, however, is the nfl SHOULD hunker down and not do a deal with the refs until some of their demands are dropped. Ive said for weeks, i bet the nfl would pay them whatever if the refs agreed to performance evaluations. The refs said verbaitm they arent signing a deal that includes evals or reprimands of any kind for performance issues. Even though the replacements just cost my team a win, the nfl shouldnt get a deal done until the refs change their tune on that.

  52. propertyofthebroncos says: Sep 26, 2012 8:19 AM

    thetruth702: seriously? Obama isn’t allowed to like sports? He sends a tweet as he’s about to travel and answers someones question but yes he’s spending SO much time worrying about this. I’m sure you’re a Bush fan that had no issues with him taking more vacation time than all other presidents combined after he started a war. Get a clue and let him enjoy sports like every other human being.

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