My guess is the NFL's lockout of regular game officials will end soon. That is, if the league itself can quickly come to its senses.
What happened Monday night in Atlanta was supposed to be compelling football. Peyton Manning was in town to take on Matt Ryan. Instead it was a three-and-a-half-hour officiating embarrassment for the NFL.
A touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Demaryius Thomas was called incomplete. Upon video review, it was evident that Thomas had both feet in bounds. And the official who made the call was in perfect position. He just missed it.
Atlanta's Michael Turner was awarded a one-yard touchdown run. On review, it was clear that Turner lost the football before he crossed the goal line.
Later, Ryan ran from the Denver 14 to the 10. Defensive holding was called on the play on Broncos' cornerback Champ Bailey. Officials should have tacked on five additional yards.
In Philadelphia, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy said that one official in Sunday's game against the Ravens joked with him about having him on his fantasy football team.
The NFL's claims that it does everything to protect the shield suddenly ring very hollow. There is no way that replacement refs should be officiating games in the most successful pro sports league in the world.
In the meantime, there's something that parallels the incompetence of the league to get an agreement with its regular officials: The reporting on the case of replacement official Brian Stropolo.
Stropolo was pulled from Sunday's New Orleans at Carolina game after a picture of him in a Saints jersey showed up on his Facebook page.
Social media won out. Facts did not.
You would be surprised at two things: Just how few Saints games Stropolo has attended in his life and how highly regarded he is as an official in the metro area.
Stropolo has worked so diligently at his craft, that he may have been close to realizing his goal of officiating college games.
But that is all on hold as the media portrays him "as a lifelong Saints fan."
Even it were true, does it bring into question his competence and honesty?
Regular NFL referee Jerome Boger starred as a college player at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Has anyone questioned his ability to referee an Atlanta Falcons game? Boger's son Trey played at Tulane.
Does Jerome Boger have a preference toward the New Orleans Saints? Of course not. Boger's sterling reputation has never been challenged.
But in today's social media, if it shows up on Facebook or Twitter, it must be true.
Brian Stropolo is just one of the casualties of this NFL officiating train wreck.
Putting these officials on the field with NFL players was a bad idea from the beginning.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been outspoken about player safety. In the Saints bounty case, he has handed out severe punishment to prove it.
I only wish he were more diligent when it comes to the quality of the game itself.
The labor battle with game officials is over a mere pittance yet in the NFL's haste to stick it to the zebras, they have caused much harm to the game that it holds so sacred.
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