The Replacement Refs Suck, but So Far the NFL Is Winning the Lockout

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 25 2012 8:44 AM

The Replacement Refs Suck, but So Far the NFL Is Winning the Lockout

152733086
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks is congratulated by defensive back Chris Maragos #42 as they leave the field after defeating the Green Bay Packers 14-12 at CenturyLink Field on September 24, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.

Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

I wasn't watching last night's NFL game but essentially everyone agrees that the replacement referees who the league's brought in to replace the locked-out union officials screwed up bigtime and wound up decisively handing an undeserved victory to the Seattle Seahawks.

The season thus far is shaping up to be a pretty perfect little model of union/management conflict, as the union can clearly say that it doesn't just stand for better-paid workers (the specific issue is the NFL trying to obtain givebacks related to pensions) but also for higher-quality workers. Conversely, the management viewpoint is that the union was producing inefficiently high quality. There's no sense investing top dollar in top flight officiating unless the customers actually value it. The volume of complaining about the officiating I saw in my Twitter feed last night was both a testament to how poorly the replacement refs did and to how many people were nonetheless watching Monday Night Football. If revenues are going to be just as high working with scabs as working with the trained officials, then there's no reason for the league to back down.

Advertisement

So far TV ratings seem to be holding up fine compared to last year but will that trend continue? Or will people start putting their remote controls where their mouths are and turn off the games?

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 9:22 AM The Most Populist Campaign of 2014
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 16 2014 10:17 AM How Jack Ma Founded Alibaba
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 9:13 AM Clive James, Terminally Ill, Has Written an Exquisitely Resigned Farewell Poem
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.