At the start of this NFL season, commissioner Roger Goodell, rather than negotiate terms with the regular referees, elected to issue replacement refs for each of the season’s games. After three weeks of shoddy rulings and missed calls, fans’ calls to reach a deal were falling on deaf ears.
Using Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight™ platform, we monitored a staggering 1,090,049 opinions about the crisis.
Unsurprisingly, much of the upset lies with the referees themselves, with 40% of the conversation (colorfully) calling them extremely incompetent, and another 23% demanding the normal officials return to the gridiron.
After this past Monday Night Football bout between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks led to one of the most controversial calls in recent memory, Goodell finally seemed to perk up his ears to that 23%.
Three weeks of stalemate negotiations later, the NFL rapidly reached an agreement with officials last night, and the regular refs will be back to officiate tonight’s Ravens-Browns matchup in Baltimore.
Since game viewership has stayed level over the first three weeks, there has been little incentive for Goodell to accelerate, or even make amendments to, his negotiation process with officials.
And before the Monday Night debacle in Seattle, the ForSight™ platform shows that the conversation was indeed relatively small, though overwhelmingly hostile. Only 397,327 total opinions were shared on Twitter over the first weeks of the season. 71% of that conversation derided the replacements, and 12% demanded the return of the regular officials.
After that fateful Monday, however, ForSight™ registered a volume of opinions that, in only four days, nearly doubled the total amount of conversation from the previous three weeks. This sudden uproar of fans speaking out against the replacement referees coincided with the NFL’s accelerated negotiations, and perhaps even helped expedite last night’s decision.