A black eye for the NFL

The National Football League is without question the most popular major professional sports league in this country. It is a huge multi-billion dollar industry with tons of very rabid and loyal fans all across the country.  Television ratings go through the roof when a big game is on.  The popularity of the league comes by no accident at all. They seem to know how to do things right and might be the best run major sports league in the country. Except for now.

The decision of the NFL to lock out their regular referees this summer has proven to be a living nightmare, which only seems to get worse each day. Last Monday night was probably the breaking point of this whole ordeal with the refs. Anyone who is not blind could have seen that it was an interception for the Packers and thus a win for the Pack. How the referees missed that call is a complete embarrassment to the league and might go down as the biggest referee blunder of all time. There have been countless other strange or missed calls as well during the past 3 weeks and during the exhibition season.

But is anyone shocked to see this happening? These officials are low-level college products for crying out loud!! It is similar to having an entry-level worker at a company try to do the job of  senior executive. These guys are way over their heads. I cannot believe the NFL would hire such unqualified people. Why not try to lure some major conference college refs to do the job? At least these guys have the experience of officiating in a hostile environment and probably are not easily intimidated like these guys are.

I cannot really feel sorry for the regular referees. Those guys make excellent money for only working part-time and many have regular full-time jobs outside of being an NFL referee.  Most guys pull in around 150-180k per season and now they want a pension plan. Come on!! How many part-time workers in this country get a pension? It is just your typical union crap of demanding more than they deserve.  By the way, there is absolutely no guarantee the regular refs would have gotten that call right either. They have blown their share of calls as well.

Hopefully, the league will solve this mess soon before things really get out of hand. I can just see a riot breaking out in a stadium if another bad ending like Monday’s takes place.  The NFL is too good of a league to hire a bunch of unqualified refs. If those refs don’t want to settle, fire them all and bring in some referees who actually know what they are doing. It shouldn’t be that difficult!! There has to be many good referees out there who are not working in the NFL. Maybe a training camp or school for new officials would be another good idea that the league could explore.

I know refereeing is not the easiest thing and refs are often the scapegoats if a team loses. But fairness during a game is so important and seeing a team lose because of obvious bad call is just not right. Worse yet, is having the league back the call. The NFL is too good of a league to let this happen and I hope they settle this fiasco before things really get out of control. And believe me, they will. I would be a sad day for all of sports if that happened.

Romney’s comments on the 47 percent

The other day, a videotape was released of Governor Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser. In the video, Romney was talking about the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax and referred to them as people who believe they are entitled to government handouts. He also mentioned that many of them are probably Obama supporters so they probably are not worth the time to campaign for. Immediately, his comments were severely criticized by many and some in the media predicted this would be his great downfall.

First of all,  I do not fully support his comments at all.  They were very insensitive to a number of people and do not speak fully of every one of the 47 percent.  There are many people in this country who depend on government assistance ranging from senior citizens, people with disabilities, war veterans etc..  Every single person in this country could at one time or another need some kind of government assistance to get by on. Many people have lost jobs and I can guarantee you that almost all of them are not proud of it and are rather humiliated to be on some sort of government assistance such as food stamps. I know many who are trying hard to get their feet back on the ground.

However, there are another group of people who relish those government handouts and freebies and I think Romney was really referring to those freeloaders. You know, those people with the fancy cell phones, flat screen televisions, nice furniture but for some reason, they need to have those EBT cards to buy groceries. Nothing makes my blood boil more than having to support some freeloader who is living off of MY TAX MONEY!!! These are the people who give the 47 percent a bad reputation and for every person who really needs government assistance, there are probably a couple who do not need it.

I think Romney’s  comments can actually start a good discussion in this country about the role of government and how we can help these people. I am very disappointed in President Obama’s decision to lessen the work requirements for welfare.  The best way to help a person on welfare is to help them find a job, not give them more handouts!! During the last 4 years, an additional 15 million people have been put on food stamps and that is just not acceptable. I hope Romney drills Obama on this subject. In fact, many of Obama’s policies have resulted in more people seeking government aid.  We simply cannot afford to have so many people on government assistance and welfare reform along with job creation is a crucial campaign issue.

A society with fewer people relying on the government is a better more productive society. Save the hard-earned tax payer money for those who really need it.  Romney was somewhat right in that respect but I wish he would be a little more sensitive next time and explain to those 47 percent how his policies could help them more than President Obama’s.

Thoughts on the anti-American protests and the U.S response

The big topic in the news during the past week has been the anti-American demonstrations and tragic killing of Americans on the 11 year anniversary of 9/11. It is believed that these protests are the result of a low quality, cheap film which made fun of the prophet Mohammad. I find it rather appalling that so many Muslims are so up in arms over a silly little film clip. I realize that poking fun at another religion group is not always proper and can be very insulting but is it right to retaliate with violence and chants of death to the people responsible? The God I worship teaches of loving your enemies and turning the other cheek when people put down you or your religion. God will take care of those people not you!! I know most Muslims are very peaceful and good people but there is a growing number of these radical Islamics who pose a great danger to the world and must be dealt with.

I find the White House response to this situation and as a whole, it’s foreign policy towards the Middle East to be very pathetic. First of all, how can you possibly thumb your nose at Israel? To me, that is a huge mistake. Israel is and always has been a big ally of the United States. Supporting and giving tax money to organizations wanting to blow Israel off the map is totally wrong. It is crucial to have a good relationship with Israel but our president doesn’t seem to think that is important. He apparently seems to think that fund raising for his re-election campaign is more important than meeting with the leader of Israel.

Also, how can a president of the United States be so naive to think he mend fences with those radical groups? These extremists  have one goal and one goal only. They want everyone to adhere to their radical views not only over there but here in the United States. Imagine this country if we had to follow the ways of Islam and Islam only? If we continue to play softball with these groups, that is exactly what will happen. All of our freedoms will go down the drain if that happens.

I find it hard to believe that all this unrest was strictly the result of the film but it sure did light a match of anti-American hate which has been brewing for a long time. Killing innocent Americans overseas is something that has to be dealt with harshly!! We need to these extremist thugs that there will be severe punishment for your actions. Playing nice guy to these organizations will not work, period!! Besides our slow recovering economy, our foreign policy in the middle east is a very crucial campaign issue. We need to flex our muscles at these punks before it is too late. It seems like the incumbent is totally clueless in this area.

Those fantasy football fanatics

The end of summer is often associated with back to school shopping, final trips to the beach or lake and cooler temps, but for many sports fans across the nation, it is draft time for their fantasy football league. All that summer preparation boils down to one session of making sure you draft the right mix of players and team defenses so you can rule your league.

I love the NFL but have never played fantasy football. Several of my friends and co-workers play and it is amazing how obsessed people become over fantasy football.  My work place is a prime example of the passion people have with the leagues.  I swear some of my co-workers stay up long into the night while breaking down film of all the players available for the draft!! It is their big chance for glory if they end up winning the league!! The topic of conversation on Friday is dominated by talk of who is going to play whom and what players they will be playing.  Before leaving on Friday for the weekend, I often hear my co-workers wishing their fellow fantasy competitors good luck.

As you can imagine, Monday is a very interesting day at the office.  I often chuckle when I hear how some guy got screwed out of points because his kicker missed a simple 30 yard field goal.  Or hearing some guy boldly proclaim how he totally destroyed his opponent! I often wonder what it would be like to hang with these guys on a Sunday afternoon. Worse yet, what about their poor wives or girlfriends?  I have enough stress on Sunday just following my favorite NFL team!! I cannot imagine trying to keep track of my players. Isn’t Sunday suppose to be a day of rest and relaxation?

The winner of the fantasy league, that several of my co-workers take part in,  gets a nice cash prize and trophy. Having that nice football shaped trophy sitting at their desk is something they all dream about.  They also want to avoid getting last place in the league which is rewarded with a toilet bowl lid and the shame of having that prize being hoisted onto a cubicle wall.

Some day, I will join the millions of fanatics who play fantasy football. I highly doubt I will read every fantasy football magazine and watch the NFL network 20 hours a day.  Having success is largely just being lucky. I want to wish everyone who is playing fantasy football this year the best of luck and have fun. Hopefully, nobody else will have to endure the humiliation of having a toilet lid hanging 0n their office cubicle!!