Belichick’s frustrations are shared by millions of fans, as well as the players themselves. The players union sent a letter to the NFL last week, pleading with it to settle its differences with the professional refs and bring them back.
Like so much that happens in professional sports, neither side in this conflict should engender heartfelt sympathy from your typical lunchbucket fan. Referees are handsomely compensated for their work, with the most experienced reportedly earning upward of $300,000 per year. The average salary for a referee is about $149,000 per year (meanwhile, replacement referees are paid $3,000 per game, a little more than a third of what the average pro ref earns). The professional referees are fighting to retain something that most working Americans lost long ago: pensions.
On the other side of the dispute are the multimillionaires and billionaires who own the teams, reaping staggering profits from a monopolized sport. Seems like there’s plenty of money being made by both sides.
Which side is right? The fans and the players are right. The NFL and refs need to quickly settle their dispute for the sake of a sport that so many people love.