My friends, we gather today to mourn the passing of a close friend.
It was a friend that many almost considered a big brother. It was a close friend of millions of people in multiple countries around the world. While it was a product of the United States, it transcended nationality. It truly was a universal language.
Of course, it had its flaws. Nothing and no one on this earth is perfect. We accepted those flaws and figured that those in charge of its caretaking would always keep its best interests at heart when trying to fix those flaws as well as any other urgent need that would arise.
Sadly, around four weeks ago, many of us saw trouble ahead for our dear National Football League. The regular officials were locked out by the league under the leadership of Commissioner Roger Goodell. We were told a deal would be coming and that the replacement officials would not be used more than a couple of weeks.
So the games went on and we as fans continued to watch. As the young season progressed, warning signs began to emerge. Players were taking blows to the head and defenders were not being flagged for it, despite the NFL allegedly cracking down on such hits. Holding and blatant pass interference ignored, giving quarterbacks a kicking ball, forgetting which teams are playing (“Holding, number 93 red”), awarding extra yardage and timeouts….the list goes on.