Cadbury eggs or replacement refs?

The call on the field is now under further

Chris Hamble


I remember a time, way back in the distant past of 2011. It was when the one thing we were all talking about was some dude’s political views, a television network’s overreaction to them and yanking his iconic song off the air.

Back then I didn’t see what the big deal was. People make inflammatory comments about politicians of both parties and some were a heck of a lot worse than what Mr. Hank Williams Jr. said and they were coming out of the mouths of other politicians. But we didn’t seem to care. I digress, however. I am still “ready for some football,” and as far as this season is concerned, I haven’t seen any games yet.

A lot has been said about the NFL’s replacement officials this season. Now that we are, for most teams, a quarter of the way through the season, even I, the baron of “chillitude,” am getting a bit frustrated.

With a lockout, you expect a couple of hiccups. With a lockout and replacements officials, you expect a few more. If it were that simple, I think we would all simply put up with it. Bringing folks in untrained from amateur leagues (even a few that were apparently fired from that “lingerie football league,” but to be fair, that one could probably be a bit distracting) will lead to what I like to call a few “wonky” games, and some blown calls. To be expected for sure, but it’s gotten to the point that even I — a baseball fan who likes to watch football — who doesn’t know a whole heck of a lot of the regulations, am picking up on calls that the replacement officials have gotten wrong, or simply missed. That isn’t good.

Now it’s not in my nature to berate people (unless you tell them what they can and can’t sell, propose roundabouts, or pass gas in an elevator), because I know that I couldn’t really do a much better job myself. The pressure has got to be absolutely massive for these folks, and it’s only made worse by the blown call made Monday night in the Green Bay-Seattle game.

Talk about getting stuck between a rock and a hard place. These guys, even those that haven’t blown a call yet, are now labeled as “worthless” and, as some TV pundits and commentators have said, are “ruining the game.” I actually kind of feel bad for them. I mean, vitriol this bad isn’t flung against anyone else other than politicians, and even then it’s only the 50 percent of people that disagree with them, not nearly everyone in the country, football fan or not.

But this is what we’ve got this year. Yes, this year. I don’t think that even the “Monday Night debacle” will end the NFL’s labor dispute with its officials. At the time, I thought the game-ending call giving the Seahawks the winning touchdown catch would bring a swift end to it the lockout. Now, I think it will do nothing but strengthen the will the officials, and they may get a bit cocky, and after seeing what is becoming of the game, completely refuse to negotiate and just ask for their terms. Not only will this cause the lockout to go longer, but it will begin to irritate me, and many others, as this is a political season, and I have no doubt that the pundits and politicians will latch on to it.

Democrats will say, “This is why we need unions, to protect the workers,” and Republicans will say, “This is why unions ruin everything and must be reined in.” I say, “Get back to work you lazy bums, and negotiate your contract while you do your jobs and just be thankful you have them in this crappy economy.”

But what do I know.

You know what I know? Cadbury cream eggs are back. Once an Easter-only indulgence is now remarketed for Halloween. It’s a childhood dream come true. And really, can anyone truly be upset when there are cream eggs about? I think not.

Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.