After a weekend of disastrous officiating by NFL replacement officials was capped by a blown call to end Monday night's Packers-Seahawks game (resulting in Green Bay fans calling for a boycott of the league), it is apparently time for the government to intervene.
New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Tuesday he plans to introduce legislation that would nix pro games played under replacement refs in the state, citing player safety risks.
Sweeney's move would affect the New York Jets and Giants, which play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
“This past weekend in the NFL has not only made a mockery of a great sport, but shined a very bright light on how important fully trained and professional officiating is to player safety,” said Sweeney in a press release.
“We wouldn’t allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees," he said. "Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?”
The laundry list of blown calls, phantom penalties and the inability of replacement referees to control a game in which injuries occur even when highly qualified officials govern the action is proof something needs to be done, Sweeney said.
He added that the decline in the quality of the game has materially harmed fans' investments in tickets and the personal seat licenses required to purchase them, which can cost thousands annually.
“Whether the sport is football, soccer or baseball, when referees don’t know how to properly enforce the rules, there is a real chance for unnecessary and serious injury,” said Sweeney.
“If the NFL insists on putting replacement officials on the field, putting players at risk, then the state shouldn’t be playing a part in that.”