Rarely do we comment on sports related issues on these pages, but the ending of the Seattle Seahawks Green Bay Packers game on Monday night is worth comment. If National Football League leaders didnt know it already, they should know it now. The replacement referees, standing in for real NFL refs who have been locked out by the league, arent working. They are doing the best job their experience allows, but thats not good enough.
Monday night on a last second Hail Mary pass that appeared to have been intercepted by Green Bay, giving them the game was called a catch by the Seahawks and victory was theirs. One official at the scene called time because the catch in the end zone would have been a touchback, while another, standing just feet apart signaled touchdown. Instant replay did not give enough conclusive evidence to reverse the call. However, for the fans who stayed up late enough to watch the games finish, there was evidence aplenty.
That wasnt all. In other games over the weekend, the replacement refs had other issues from the placement of the ball to calling a field goal good or not. The replacement refs are inconsistent, at best, at how they call games and this has led to numerous shoving matches between players.
The biggest issue is over the refs defined benefit retirement plan. The league would like to change that to a defined contribution plan. Heres a compromise that might work. We are sure the highly-paid lawyers on both sides of this issue have already thought about it. For the present refs, let them stay on their defined benefit plan, but new refs would go to a 401k type plan. Thats how many governments and companies have handled the issue. This could work for the NFL as well.
-- The Editorial Board