How much must it suck to be a replacement referee right now?

Every now and then you will get a sports story that transcends the game. What I mean by that is that the news becomes so large that even those who don’t watch sports will know about it.

Well one of those instances occurred last night at the conclusion of the Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. An exhilarating last-second heave by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson resulted in — what the referees interpreted as — a “simultaneous catch,” giving the Seahawks a miraculous victory, when replay clearly showed that the ball was actually intercepted. In short, the refs screwed the pooch and jobbed the Packers out of a victory.

This picture, of two replacement referees making different calls at the same time, will undoubtedly go down in infamy.

For those not too familiar with the situation, allow me to deliver some context. There is currently a labor dispute ongoing between the regular NFL officials and commissioner Roger Goodell. The officials want more money, and are on strike until they get it, and Goodell is refusing to give in.

So the league hired replacement referees, also known as scabs, to take their place. They began in the preseason, and since preseason games are not heavily scrutinized, the referees went mostly unnoticed. Goodell, meanwhile, clearly stood by the stance that nobody watches football for the officials, but for the players (and the cheerleaders.)

Well, after a couple of weeks of football, it became very noticeable how bad these replacement refs are. They were taking way too long to make calls, and when they did make calls they were wrong most of the time. It’s not their fault — they simply aren’t qualified to judge the game at this speed.

So of course, what happens? On the grandest of stages — Monday Night Football — when the entire country is watching, a last-second controversial play happens, and the referees screw it up and cost a team the game.

What ensued, while the referees sorted everything out, was a complete and utter mockery. I was sitting on my bed, laughing my ass off the entire time as the refs tried to get the players back on the field to kick the mandatory extra point. I laughed as coaches gave post-game interviews on the field before the game even officially ended. I laughed as Twitter exploded with criticism and outrage at what had just transpired before their very eyes.

All in all, it was a circus and an embarrassment for the league. If Goodell thought he had all of the leverage before, well, the shoe’s on the other foot now. Is that how that expression goes?

But let’s get back to these replacement officials. Most of these guys never officiated anything higher than Division-III college football games. Some are high school teachers, and some weren’t even competent enough to officiate in the Lingerie Football League.

Right now, everybody in America thinks they are a joke, an embarrassment and that they pretty much should all be sent away to some foreign island and never heard from again.

As somebody who enjoys being liked, I feel for these guys. I really do. When I get a vibe that just one person is unhappy with me, it stresses me out. I can’t function until I resolve things with that person. And again, that’s just one single person.

And I understand how some professions are inevitably going to result in people disliking you. Not only is that the case with sports officials, but it’s also the case with lawyers, IRS agents, and those court processors who serve out subpoenas to people due in court. Everybody hates those motherfuckers. However, the one silver lining is the fact that you are at least doing your job correctly. You can at least sleep well at night knowing that you got the job done.

With these replacement referees, that is far from the case. Not only does everybody hate them, but they are being universally labeled as stupid, incompetent and worthless failures. They’re essentially a running joke.

There is not one single redeeming factor for these guys. Everybody pretty much wants them to die. Their own families are probably embarrassed by them. It’s really an impossible situation, and as much as I laugh at them, I do genuinely feel for them.

Again, I know they’re doing the best they can, but whatever lives they had before this will never be the same again.

When this is all said and done, these replacements referees should all go on Oprah as a group for some serious reputation damage control. But even Oprah probably hates their guts right now, and that bitch loves everybody.

But maybe the referees can find some solace today. At least the Jewish ones. Because they can go home to their families and “enjoy the fast.”

Total change of gears here, but never, even in my moments of deepest contemplation, will I understand why people fast just because some holiday tells them to. By fasting, they deprive themselves of food, lose energy and slow their metabolism. Essentially, they are physically harming themselves because they are abiding by some ancient custom.

Well, I guess I don’t even need to criticize, because over the next 24 hours, the “fasters” will be miserable, and I will go about my life as I normally do and be blissfully happy. And then what happens after Yom Kippur? NOTHING!

If fasting was rewarded with money, or prostitutes, or even a free gift certificate to JC Penney, then yeah, I’d do it. But you get nothing. Not a single thing. And don’t you even dare say eternal salvation.

Don’t you dare.

At the end of the day, it’s our values and our behavior that will determine if we are good people or not, and not whether we fasted during a holiday. It takes a lifetime of love, friendship and joy to succeed in life. Everybody has a chance at that, regardless of who they are and what religion they observe.

Except for the replacement referees. They’re all going to hell.

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