09.25.12 3:23 PM ET
Okay, It's Really Time to Settle the NFL Strike
Okay, that was really atrocious last night. I'm usually off in the Land of Nod by the end of a Monday night, but I happened to see that one.
I blame the referee--the head of the crew. The one ref, the black guy, was clearly signaling dead ball, play over (crossing his arms above his head), which in these situations is prelude to him being about to turn and point in Green Bay's direction. So he was about to call it an interception, it seemed. He had it right. Whereas the other ref, the white one, signaled touchdown, and since touchdown is such a more exciting signal than play over, and since 70,000 fans screamed their approval, that's how it went.
How they didn't manage to reverse it, though, is really the mind-boggler. How could they review that and not decide that was an interception? The Packers were clearly cost a win (although how it is that the allegedly mighty Green Bay Packers offense could muster only 12 points is another fair question, and one could argue it should never have come to that moment anyway).
So, the strike. As you may know, it's largely about the officials' pensions, which they've had since the 1970s. Officials make up to about $170,000 a year. The league wants to freeze their pensions.That seems ridiculous. That league has more money than God. The owners' position is pretty obviously not about the refs, because this sum is a pittance, but a warning shot for upcoming players' negotiations. These are Mitt Romney's friends we're talking about (literally in at least a couple of cases).
I wonder if Obama should get involved now. The owners hate him anyway. What's to lose? A gentle statement urging both sides to be reasonable, but signaling a tilt toward the strikers, seems to me like just the right call. It would be nice if we lived in a country where the mass of people could get riled up about the salaries of child-services workers. But we don't. This, though, is football. Seems to me like a grand opportunity to be seen as trying to make a lot of fans happy and slipping a subtle pro-union message in at the same time, one that American will consider digestible if it results in better football.
Then let Mitty, with his usual golden touch, note that the owners have their points, too!