One official, left, signals a Seattle Seahawks touchdown, while the other official signals a touchback for the Green Bay Packers, Monday night in Seattle. (AP)

One official, left, signals a Seattle Seahawks touchdown, while the other official signals a touchback for the Green Bay Packers, Monday night in Seattle. (AP)

When desp’retly a quarterback heaves up a mighty pass,
And two guys in the end zone fall into the end zone grass,
And one ref signals “Touchdown!” and another signals “No!”
And everybody hollers, “Hey, we’d really like to know
If Green Bay won the game or if it went the other way!”
Well, what’s the man replacing an official gonna say?

The players worry that replacements also might not see
The helmets clanging off of helmets, brutal as can be,
That should result in whistles, fines, suspensions, stuff like that,
And when no flags are tossed, well, they will likely smell a rat.

Replacement isn’t always something everyone should rue.
By choosing bikes instead of cars, here’s what the riders do:
They give their hearts some healthy work as happy miles they log;
They cut down on pollution; in L.A. it’s known as smog.

But these replacement refs are bad for any player’s health,
And as the NFL is generating major wealth,
We wonder, as we watch the farce the season has become,
How all the owners of the teams together could be dumb
Enough to lock the real refs out and send in all the clowns
Who’ve lost control of players, coaches, timeouts, flags, and downs.

They know, I guess, those owners, that the fans will not tune out
The games no matter who’s in charge, but still, without a doubt,
They’d prob’ly like those fans to watch the games for all the reasons
That brought them to the NFL in those abundant seasons
When refs, although imperfect, could be counted on to make
A call that was correct instead of making a mistake,
Or failing to toss up a flag when someone looking left
Got clocked by someone on his right, and ended up bereft
Of any sense beyond that found in any bag of rocks.

Oh, owners, whether youngish Turks or old, decrepit crocks,
Cry out to the commissioner so he’ll recall the men
Whose places those replacements took, so fans can love again
The football they accept as tense, exciting, semi-tough.
Three weeks of this embarrassment has been, perhaps, enough.

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