By Pat Stacey
Are you ready for some football? Whether you are a pro football, college or high school football fan, the answer is probably – yes! However, there is a segment of the population that is not ready for some football and that group is the pro football officiating union. That's right, we are not facing a player ownership contract disagreement this year but we are seeing replacement referees at all professional football games and it appears the lockout will continue for weeks into the season. There are two major points in the contract negotiations that are creating the impasse – the N-F-L wants the officials to do their jobs full time as opposed to part time and the league wants more crews officiating. The league will most likely win this one but in the next few weeks look for more bad calls starting with the coin toss – which has been mis-called by a replacement official in at least one pre-season game. So here is what we can expect, more on-field tantrums from whinny millionaire players, more bad calls requiring more instant replay timeouts, and probably more coaches protests. Come to think of it, this may be quite entertaining and the replacement officials will be making the same bad calls on both sides of the field. If the league truly wants to help these replacements out they should expand the use of instant replay, add another couple of officials on the field and warn the players and coaches that tantrums will not be tolerated. I am ready for some football and we should give these replacements a chance – it will add a new dimension of uncertainty to the battle on the grid iron.