The NFL's fraud has finally been fully exposed. Behind the shield, greed trumps integrity and incompetence reigns supreme.
For months, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has spearheaded a public relations campaign designed to convince the public that the replacement officials were qualified to be working NFL games. Even after it started to become obvious that the officials weren't up to the task, Goodell still held firm.
"These officials have been trained," Goodell said on August 23 of the replacement refs who have been calling preseason games. "We've been working with them. We think they'll do a very credible job."
Following the season opening game on September 6, Goodell said: "I think our officials did a more than adequate job last night and I think that we've proven that we can train them and get them up to NFL standards."
The first weekend was then rife with mistakes. See Deadspin's list of the worst 21 here.
Still on September 12, Goodell said: "Officiating isn't a perfect science -- it's very difficult to officiate, these guys did an outstanding job, we were very pleased with the performance, and they're going to get better."
As any NFL fan can tell you (especially Green Bay Packers fans), the officiating in Monday night's Packers-Seahawks game was clearly not up to NFL standards.
Just how big is the fraud the NFL has been trying to sell the American public? So big that even its loyal business partner ESPN (and other media establishments) can no longer sit idly by without feeling compelled to point out the obvious.
"[The replacement officials] just cost the Packers the game," ESPN announcer Mike Tirico said following the game Monday night. He added: "This is wrong. I don't feel good about this."
All Tuesday morning, ESPN personalities weighed in on the issue and not a single one defended the NFL in any fashion, which is utterly amazing.
All along, the conventional wisdom has been that this lockout would go on until a game was decided because of a poor call or until a player was seriously injured because of poor officiating.
Now that we've had a game unfairly decided because of incompetent officials, the question becomes: how long before a player is seriously injured?