In high school one of the best pieces of news a class would receive was a substitute teacher was on their way. On those days every student pushed the line to see how far it could be pushed. What could you get away with? Could you sneak into or out of class, talk to your neighbor, pass notes, make fun of the teacher, and/or tell the teacher wrong information? You name it - it was tried. In some situations the classroom environment would deteriorate to the point the principal had to take over, relieving the substitute and re-establishing normal acceptable behavior.
This past Monday night the legitimate end came to the NFL's substitute teachers. The NFL has to realize the point has come when the full time officials must return to the game and take charge. If not, it would be as if the substitute teacher returns for another day. At this point nobody respects the substitute and the classroom would melt into total chaos. Similarly in the NFL - fans, players, and coaches no longer have any respect for the replacement referees.
While everyone is talking about the Monday night game, the Sunday night game wasn't much better. If you didn't watch it, you could clearly hear the crowd chanting in the fourth quarter BS over and over through the broadcast; so loudly the announcers had to address it. They mentioned it was the loudest and clearest "manure" chant they ever heard and acknowledging the lack of a seven second delay in the broadcast.
If an agreement is not reached before tomorrow night's game between the Browns and the Ravens and throughout week 4 of NFL games, any flags or missed calls during the game and the possibility of the game plunging into the total chaos, at least by fans, will be quite real.
The majority of NFL fans will continue to watch the NFL, if only to watch their team play, making the likelihood of any real boycott slim. However, what is likely to happen might be an even bigger determent to the game. The fans in attendance, which no longer hold respect for the regular rules, will begin to be even more vocal about any perceived bad officiating. Just as with a substitute teacher, once all respect is lost the next day all rules are thrown out the window. Chants of BS are only the beginning; items being thrown on the field could become a regular occurrence and with each pass game and week the escalation of rowdy behavior increases.
There are many reasons the replacement officials must go however the final card has been played and without the regular officials taking control, the real likelihood of a rowdy crowd losing control becomes a real possibility. It's time for the both the League and the Officials to make their agreement, return to the field and, like regular teacher returning, it's time to re-establish control of the game.