Posted on September 27, 2012
***UPDATE*** 12:00am – After 3 long months, the NFL owners and referees have finally come to an agreement. The lockout will end just in time for Thursday Night Football, and we couldn’t be happier. Only time will tell if the damage from the lockout will be irreparable to the NFL brand, or if football fans are just thankful it’s over and will leave their ill will in the past.
Even if you’re not a sports fan, it’s hard to avoid the buzz surrounding the NFL Referee Lockout. In case you haven’t been tuning in to the train wreck that is the NFL 2012 season, we’re going to give you a quick recap: After failing to come to an agreement on contractual issues, the NFL owners locked out the referees. Thinking it wouldn’t last long, the NFL hired replacement refs to officiate the games until they came to an agreement with the real referees. What they did not realize was just how difficult it would be to hire replacement officials so close to game time. Now, America is stuck watching NFL games officiated by 3rd rate refs who left their jobs at high schools and the Lingerie Football League to officiate the 2012 NFL season.
Since then, just about every football game played this season has been filled with fist fights and botched calls that are affecting the outcomes of games. Not only is the lockout ruining the integrity of the game, but the fans that keep this multi-billion dollar industry strong are up in arms. While everyone is asking when the officials are coming back, the real question should be how detrimental will this lockout be to the NFL brand?
Between last year’s lockout of the players, the recent research revealing the long-term effects of brain injuries caused on the field, and now the 2012 referee lockout, the NFL is seriously close to causing permanent brand damage. Monday night’s blown call during the Packers vs. Seahawks game was the final straw for even the biggest fans. People across the nation are staging protests of the 2012 season, refusing to watch any more football until the referees are back.
In addition to the boycotts, NFL players, coaches, fans, and even the President of the United States are taking to Twitter, calling for the end of the lockout. After Monday night’s game, President Obama tweeted “NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon.” The country has had enough, and hopefully the NFL owners will choose saving their brand over battling the refs.
The image below, taken from Monday night’s game, is the embodiment of the chaos and confusion that is the NFL.