Your loud voices r heard about getting Refs back. We're desperately trying 2 get it done! We want a deal that improves officiating overall.— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) September 26, 2012
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted a loud hint that the NFL may be approaching an end to its lockout of professional game officials in response to widespread condemnation from fans, players and coaches. Most coaches have been circumspect in their comments, but the league fined Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for bad words directed at officials. The league will fine Patriots head coach for illegal touching of an official after Sunday's game. Both teams suffered losses.
Irsay's tweet may be a false hope. It was the NFL after all who locked their employees out. The league has legitimate employee issues to consider (duck and cover), but they are the bullies here.
Protecting the shield, however, does not just fall solely on the owners, or their commissioner. With amateur officials on the field, more professionalism is called for from coaches and players. Coaches and sharp players are adept at "working" game crews. At the moment, they are exploiting the inexperience of the replacement reps to heighten combat with opponents. Stop it.
It's time to get back to what they've always done. Work the officials. So, don't laugh when a replacement official tells you he needs your fantasy points. Help the guy out. He may not be there much longer.
Fan ire is misdirected at Commissioner Goodell. Yes, he represents the owners, but labor matters are directed by the NFL Management Council. John Mara, co-owner of the New York Giants, is chairman of that gorup.
Mara is your man.