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We will end up paying for lockout

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Welcome back NFL officials. Hail the conquering heroes.

Yeah, right.

By Sunday, we will be cussing them, too.

I know that we all have short memories, but really? When was the last time an NFL Sunday passed without any of us blistering the officials for being worthless and weak. Not those replacement guys, but the real, live zebras.

Have we all forgotten the countless arguments that have raged about whether NFL officials need more training, and more instant replay, and more eye examinations?

I’m not about to say that the talent scale doesn’t go south of Miami when

replacements are recruited. But I also feel a little manipulation was taking place the past few weeks.

Consider the end of the Green Bay-Seattle game, when one official stood in the end zone with his arms raised for a touchdown and the other official seemed to be signaling an interception. We acted like it was a solar-eclipse frequency blunder.

Sorry to break the news, but it happens all the time. It’s just the guys on TV aren’t screaming in your face about it.

Think about watching a boxing match on television. A commentator can alter your opinion of the bout by the tone of his voice. Eventually, your senses rely more on his voice than what your eyes are seeing. Since I covered many live bouts, I used to tell my friends, “You had to be there.”

It’s the same with football. Announcers can create controversy when wanted or needed. The replacement officials were the story, and why not run with it?

Were the replacement officials worse than the regular officials? Of course. Did the game slow down due to uncertainty? Certainly. Were the guys they hired to do the job complete morons? No.

I would wager that some of these replacement officials would be better than the guys they replaced. Some. Most would not.

We all wanted the regular guys back, but the fact was that they were in the middle of labor negotiations. I guess the Packers-Seahawks blunders solved those negotiations.

Should they have been solved? Maybe not.

The public was getting whipped into a furor, and perhaps the NFL didn’t need the black eye. It’s all settled now.

Good for us. Oh, except for the fact that running the NFL just got a little more expensive.

Will the owners pay for that rise in cost? Not on your life. Tickets will go up, and the cost of watching football on television will rise.

But we will get the calls right. Maybe.

Jay Heater is the Republic sports editor. He can be reached at or 379-5632.

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