I don’t why Goodell gets all the heat about the sucky replacement refs. We all agree that they suck. By why is it automatically his fault? Call me crazy, but I’m on his side. There’s at least theoretically a limit to how much is reasonable for refs to demand, right? If refs wanted $1 billion a game, it wouldn’t be wrong for Goodell to refuse, and no one would blame him for locking the refs out and having terrible replacements. So the question is only whether the NFL or referees’ union’s demands are reasonable.

And this ultimately comes down to pensions. The NFL wants to replace them with 401(k)s, especially since even full-time league employees don’t get pensions. Refs say that’s you can’t rescind a promise, that people made life decisions based on that. Furthermore, it’s not like the league is going bankrupt; the NFL can certainly afford them.

I get the union’s point but I’m fundamentally against pensions. Guarantees just don’t work over the long term math-wise. The fund projections are always too optimistic, and life-expectancy keeps increasing, so you end up requiring far more to support pensions than is initially planned for. I get that refs counted on them being there, but that’s irrelevant if those expectations are based on unreasonable assumptions, as pensions almost always are.

In my opinion, pensions are fine iff unions take responsibility for them themselves. California public workers claim it takes a certain amount each year to support their pensions in perpetuity (which is false, as they’re based on crazy assumptions like 10% average annual return). I say fine, give the union that amount, and have them manage the pension funds instead of CalPERS, and if the funds end up coming short, don’t leave the state on the hook for it. That would force unions to be honest about the actual cost of pensions and take responsibility for them instead of claiming they will cost less than they actually do, knowing the state will make up the difference.

Anyway, the refs get $180,000 a year not even working full-time throughout the year. Call me crazy, but that seems eminently reasonable. So I’m more pissed at the refs for refusing to give up an unreasonable benefit that no other league worker gets than at Goodell.

Labor issues. Boring. Anyway, it really sucks being a football fan here, I feel like I’m constantly missing out on what’s going on. It’s near impossible to watch the games (especially college ones) and there are a host of ancillary football shows that I miss also (I used to watch the NFL Gameday wrap up on Sunday nights – the clips on NFL.com are incomplete and the streaming quality sucks). Sports is the last thing on TV where it makes a difference to watch it live, and I can’t do that here, and it sucks. Waking up to find out Stanford beat USC is just not the same as watching it happen.

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