This is being written by a replacement columnist, while your standard, professional humorist is holding out for another package of Slim Jims in the annual birthday basket provided by the company, as stipulated on Page 43 of the Employee Handbook.
Ahem. So — did you hear about the cannibal who was playing poker? He threw up a hand.
No, wait, I have a better one: What’s the hardest job in the world? Wheeling, West Virginia. Hoo boy, that knocked ’em dead in Mrs. Wells’ third-grade math class.
Did you hear about the duck that was flying upside down? He quacked up. No wait, I can do better, I swear; just need more practice is all, please give me ano ...
There, you see what happens when amateurs are given the reins to critical enterprises.
I will say this, however. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has done the one thing I never thought would happen in my lifetime: He’s made Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig look competent.
And make no mistake, I am 100 percent in favor of the replacement referees. As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I’m thinking that blown calls are the only chance my team has of winning a game here and there.
Also, in an era when professional sports are growing ever more homogenized and predictable, I like the idea of a “wild card” being thrown into the games just to make things more interesting.
So, if a referee, for example, thinks that you need 13 yards for a first down, well, that just adds to the spice of the game. “You mean the ball has to go THROUGH the posts for a field goal. Are you sure?”
I mean, come on, how else do you expect a game between the Packers and Seahawks to be entertaining? Certainly not by actually playing the game by the actual rules.
We don’t want professional refs, we want Mr. Magoo. We want a house of football mirrors where an interception is a touchdown, timeouts are called by the “Atlanta Braves,” referees collect autographs from their favorite players before the game and — this is the most important point — after each and every play, they all get into one big fight.
For me, the brawls have added another layer of interest, like cloves give an added spice note to applesauce. And when there’s a difficult call to be made, I like the way the replacement refs just kind of look at each other, waiting for the other guy to go first. Suspense is good. Suspense is box office, baby. Don’t lose it.
And since they have the floor with no other option available, I’d like to see the replacement refs really flex their clueless-muscles. You know, make up the rules as they go along. Flag someone for intentional use of the facemask.
Force the running back to answer three trivia questions before permitting him to cross the goal line.
Only allow players with the letter R in their names to recover fumbles.
Come on refs, don’t despair at all the negativity. This could be the greatest night of your lives, but you’re gonna let it be the worst.
When are you ever going to have this chance again? After this week, you know the real refs are going to be coming back soon. So go ahead, trip up the guy who’s running for the end zone, like that Buffalo Wild Wings commercial. Announce before the game that you just put down 10 grand on the Browns to cover the spread. Flag Bill Belichick for wearing that stupid sweatshirt. Throw the breaker on the lights standard in the middle of a critical third and goal.
We all agree that the NFL has become too stuffy, and you’re the only guys who can change it. Forward!
Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at email@example.com.